Vancouver Olympics will provide huge research laboratory for NBCU


NBC Universal plans to measure audience exposure across all of its media platforms to provide “unprecedented insight into consumer cross-platform behavior and advertising effectiveness” during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The effort will build on the pioneering research conducted during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

NBCU says it will launch its second Olympic research lab during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, partnering with some of the country’s most innovative research providers to develop state of the art media measurement techniques, including the first-ever statistically projectable single source measurement of television and Internet use. In addition, NBCU will again issue a daily TAMi (Total Audience Measurement Index) to measure total Olympic exposure across all media platforms throughout the 17 days of coverage.

“The unique scope and duration of the Olympics provides us with the opportunity to see consumer behavior at warp speed. No other media event gives us such an enormous amount of content that is consumed by so many people, across so many different platforms, for such a long period of time. From a research perspective, it’s a fast-forward two or three years ahead in furthering our understanding of media behavior, allowing us to see the future today,” said Alan Wurtzel, NBCU President of Research.

The company said it will build on the findings from its “billion-dollar” Beijing research lab and conduct a new series of studies to take its understanding of cross-platform media use to the next level. In addition to tracking consumer behavior, the research will incorporate various methodologies to demonstrate to advertisers the effectiveness of their Olympics buy.

The projects include:

Quantifiable Single Source Cross Platform Measurement: This groundbreaking study will provide the industry with the first-ever projectable electronic measurement of single source television and Internet use. Using data from the Arbitron (NYSE: ARB) Portable People Meter media measurement service and Internet data from comScore (SCOR) and Omniture, NBCU will measure TV and Internet use from the same person and project those numbers to a broad population. Data will include simultaneous online and TV viewing and differentiate video viewed for the first time vs. repeat viewing to something seen on TV.

Social Media and Viral Communication Analysis: NBCU will use Keller Fay’s TalkTrack to measure all forms of Olympic “word of mouth,” including face-to-face, phone and Internet communication. It will utilize 8000 consumer interviews conducted before and during the Olympics. The study will help the company analyze the role of social networking and its impact on the Olympic experience. The word of mouth component will also be used to research Olympic advertising effectiveness.

Set Top Box Data Study: Through its research partnership with TiVO, NBCU will use second-by-second set top box data to measure audience retention for both Olympic programming and commercials over the course of the Games, including data on the impact of Olympic-themed advertising vs. general commercial messaging. The TiVO data will also provide extensive information on the demographic and psychographic drivers of Olympic viewing.

Three Screen Qualitative Study: NBCU will once again partner with iMMi to track a single consumer’s Olympic exposure across all media platforms. Panelists will carry a sophisticated iMMi phone that will measure their Olympic viewing on television, online and on their mobile devices. The iMMi study can now measure viewing across all NBCU properties, exposure to nearly 100 different Olympic sites, and provide detailed information on the particular video being viewed. This more granular data will provide an even greater understanding of what consumers are watching, when they’re watching it and why they chose to watch on a particular device.

TAMi Returns for Vancouver
NBCU will again issue a daily TAMi during the Vancouver Games, measuring total Olympic exposure across the multiple media platforms airing Olympic content – network and cable television, online, video on demand (VOD) and mobile. The TAMi will provide information on total exposure to the Olympics each day, as well as indicate trends that develop on any one particular platform over the course of the Games.