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ESPN exec: Apps are bigger measurement challenge than Web

NEW YORK ? An ESPN executive at the 2013 IAB Cross-Screen Content & Consumers: AfterFronts conference said that mobile presents numerous measurement issues for marketers, one of which is figuring out how to measure applications.

During the ?Cross-Screen Measurement: Real World Solutions? session, executives from NBCUniversal, ESPN, DG and GroupM spoke about some of the challenges and opportunities that cross-screen video measurement presents. The session was moderated by Ryan Manchee, director of innovation strategy at DG, New York.

?I think part of the challenge [with mobile] is just when you think we have a solution to connect TV and online, we are now seeing a dramatic shift over to mobile usage and Internet usage is clearly shifting away from online or PCs onto mobile devices,? said Artie Bulgrin, senior vice president of research and analytics at ESPN, Bristol, CT.

?Three years ago, we didn?t have tablets, and now tablets are becoming a significant in-home, shared device ? it?s a portable television, for example,? he said.

?We are constantly chasing technology and constantly chasing the consumer, and there are so many priorities.?

Multiplatform challenges
According to Mr. Bulgrin, ESPN?s tablet users spend 19 hours a month with the brand on their devices.

Therefore, it is critical to understand the significant time spent in which consumers use their devices. For example, marketers can look at information collected via in-home Wi-Fi networks to get a better understanding of what mobile users are searching for from their devices at home.

In addition to tracking the behavior across a single device, getting an accurate read of a consumer across multiple screens is equally as important.

In order to link tablet and TV measurement, marketers have to be granular and have a high level of scale. This means that single source is out of the question, according to Mr. Bulgrin.

As the video industry continues to evolve, fragmentation will continue to be an issue for marketers, which is why measurement companies must step up to understand consumer behavior.

Marketers need syndicated measurement systems.

At the same time though, marketers are not in agreement with what are the highest priorities for them to measure nowadays.

This all boils down to resources, per Mr. Bulgrin. Coming up with money to fund measurement solutions is difficult.

Multi-platform consumer
Without a standard identification metric, mobile makes it difficult for publishers and advertisers to track down their own content.

For example, NBC might know that a video is started by a consumer, but they do not know if the consumer was engaged the entire time or what else they might be doing while watching the clip.

Marketers also have to accept that in order to track consumers across multiple devices, they have to pay.

?As a byproduct of content being available on all these different devices ? tablets and mobile ? we need more robust content identification,? said Sheryl Feldinger, senior vice president of cross-platform marketing and alternative metrics at NBCUniversal, New York.

?We need to be able to track that content, no matter what platform it shows up on,? she said.

Final Take