ESPN changes audience metrics to match shift toward online advertising

ESPN’s restructuring phase continues as their focus continually shifts towards the presence of digital audiences and online advertising in mind. ESPN, owned by Disney, will now track TV and digital viewership from Nielsen Total Audience as one metric, as reported by Business Insider. As the first media company to sign such a deal, it will take ESPN three weeks to receive the data from Nielsen.

Online advertising has yet to find solid ground as large corporations have yet to discover if their platforms can be both effective and simultaneously deliver a high ROI for online advertisements. Because of this, marketers and advertisers have yet to abandon TV advertising en masse. Yet online advertising spending continues to grow. National TV ad sales have dropped 1.4 percent on average in 2017 while U.S. digital advertising alone is expected to rise by 14 percent, according to media research firm Magna.

By tracking digital and TV viewership as one unit, ESPN can treat the two as one unit, effectively changing the way advertising is sold on digital platforms. ESPN previously offered different services for advertisers depending on the platform. Combining the two metrics will increase the accuracy of analytics reporting for ESPN, but according to Michael Zimbalist, Chief Marketing Officer of Simulmedia, “with each passing day, TV advertising becomes more and more like digital. The reason is data.”

“Zimbalist shares a study released by Gayle Fuguitt, CEO and president of the Advertising Research Foundation, which found that out of 3,200 ad campaigns, TV advertising was ‘the most effective vehicle for driving ROI, and adding digital to a TV campaign yields a 60% kicker effect.'” – Forbes, 2016

Advertisers continually search for avenues in which their target audiences participate and spend their time in. As consumers spend more time consuming media online advertisers have followed suit by allocating more and more of their budgets into digital platforms. Companies that develop precise targeting capabilities for advertisers, also known as “ad techs”, now spend more money developing for digital mobile display than any other platform. Such spending is expected to top $20 billion by this year and reach roughly $38.5 billion by 2020, according to Business Insider.

US Programmatic Revenue


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