ESPN exec: Combine single-source, integrated data for better relevancy
October 24, 2013
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NEW YORK – An ESPN executive at the Media Tech Summit 2013 conference said that the media company is working on blending multiple different data collection strategies to get a holistic view of its multiscreen audience.
During the “Cross Platform Measurement and Multi-Screen Best Practices” session, executives from ESPN and Microsoft discussed how the companies are creating and analyzing content for a cross-screen world. The ESPN exec spoke about the company’s Project Blueprint which is collecting data on five different platforms: TV, radio, PC, smartphone and tablet.
“There are two ways to do this: Single source and data integration,” said Glenn Enoch, vice president of integrated media research at ESPN, New York. “We believe you have to do both.
“Our current situation in cross-platform research is we have a lot of limits,” he said. “Or you have limited granularity, day-parts.
“You get what did you do yesterday, but you don’t get what did you do in this minute. Or you have limited sample sizes. Or you have limited project life. You’re doing the World Cup. You’re not doing something every day.”
Cross screen viewers
Mr. Enoch explained that Project Blueprint is using passive measurement to analyze cross-screen viewers. The company is looking at behavior as opposed to asking for direct information.
The project looks at a very granular level, analyzing by the minute and around the clock.
Project Bluepoint is currently in phase one, and ESPN is currently crunching the data. The company expects to move deeper into the research in future phases.
ESPN looks at information from its online registered users as well as sample groups and panels.
One of the things that Mr. Enoch found interesting in Project Bluepoint’s results so far is that a lot of consumers listen to radio. While he recognizes the importance of measuring digital as the newest, high-end channel, he believes that marketers cannot forget about the traditional channels of radio and standard televisions.
Mr. Enoch did note that there is a clear benefit in digital of being able to target the audience more closely.
“I know there’s a lot of thought that we’re going to move into the area where we can target the exact television set,” he said. “You can put me down as extremely doubtful. It’s hard to do.
“There are a lot of complications with targeted ads. The person you think is your target, may not be the target by the time it’s delivered.”
With digital and mobile advertising, however, ESPN can create a unique experience for every visitor.
Microsoft is addressing the multiscreen world by providing services to content creators that allow them to focus on one set of content that can then be reproduced for dozens of platforms and devices.
“We’re here to talk about device proliferation,” said Scott Bounds, industry manager of communications and media at Microsoft, Redmond, WA. “There are a lot of devices out there. The real key is on the servicer side.
“We are providing services across all of these devices,” he said. “Think about what we do with first person services, things like Skype, Office on iPhones, Xbox music.
“We start thinking about pure media and how to provide the content.”
Martin Wahl, principal program manager of Azure Media Services at Microsoft, explained Microsoft’s Azure Media services, which lets content producers such as NBC and The CW focus on creating one formulation of their content and letting Microsoft reproduce it for different devices and platforms.
“Everyone recognizes that you have to be in this,” Mr. Wahl said. “You will get lost if you don’t offer content on all the devices. But the cost is going through the roof.
“They have to make 44 versions of everything because of all the different platforms and formats and protocols,” he said. “That’s 44 times the incoding, storage, streaming, creating banners, and that was not what is was when we were talking about putting it on a Web site. It’s not a good business to be in.
“What you want to try to do is how do I take my one version of the content and have some other entity figure out how to distribute it depending on who’s asking. And if I can do that on the fly, that’s even better. If I can only do it once and have some other entity figure out how to do it over and over again, then I can do the measuring. When you have 44 versions, and you have to measure each one it’s very costly and ineffective.”
Scott Bounds is industry manager of communications and media at Microsoft, Redmond, WA.
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