ESPN Kicks Off Multiplatform Research Initiative With World Cup


Just as NBC looked for all points in with measurement for the Olympics, ESPN hopes to gain a better sense for consumers' media behavior across various platforms with that the other global sporting event, the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The sports programmer -- which has the English-language rights in the U.S. to the 63-match tourney that kicks off June 11 with the host nation South Africa against Mexico in Group A action --  is investing in a multi-partner research initiative billed as ESPN XP.
Teaming with ESPN: Nielsen, Knowledge Networks, the Media Behavior Institute, the Keller Fay Group and the Wharton School's Interactive Media Initiative.
Redolent of NBC Universal's TAMi (Total Audience Measurement index) project that bowed with the 2008 Summer Games from Beijing and continued with its coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver, ESPN XP wants to chronicle consumer behavior across all media, including TV, Internet, mobile, radio and print.
Officials at the Bristol, Conn.-headquartered sports giant say ESPN XP is unique because it represents the first time a media company has attempted to measure all media platforms around a single event, including both media usage and advertiser effects. Executives maintain that ESPN XP is different from previous work on cross-media audiences because it is an ongoing initiative -- gauging the World Cup is only the first in a series of quarterly projects. The worldwide leader will apply what it learns from the World Cup and apply it to football in the fall and other sports during 2011. The goal: create a scalable research plan to measure cross-media audiences 12 months out of the year by 2012.
"We have learned a lot about cross-media behavior since we began work in this field in 2002," said Artie Bulgrin, senior vice president, research and analytics in announcing the research initiative. "ESPN XP represents a major step forward in our commitment to further advance our knowledge about multi-media use, and the total and incremental impact it has on our clients' media campaigns."