NBC Universal Finds Appeal in New Approach to Audience Measurement

By Andrew
Lippe

NBC Olympics says its new approach to audience measurement, which folds
together TV, online, mobile and VOD viewership to provide a complete picture of
audience engagement, has been such a success that it will be deployed beyond
sports in September.

The Total Audience Member Index or TAMi is available on NBC Universal’s
Media Village
website and measures the exposure of the 3,600 hours of Beijing Games content
NBC Universal is presenting across TV, online, mobile and video on demand
platforms. “We needed to figure out a way in which we could evaluate ourselves
not just for the Olympics but for all the cross platform content that we will
be putting out going forward,” says Alan Wurtzel, President of Research, NBC
Universal.

Wurtzel says the Olympics offered the chance to view a singular event over
multiple platforms. While TAMi is not being used as currency it is also unlike
the Nielsen progressive cumulative numbers because it uses a combination of different
metrics. The TAMi uses Nielsen, Omniture, a web rating method and Rentrak,
which measures VOD information. Data will be updated constantly on the charts
with some data, like VOD, coming in after other data is calculated.

Early look at the TAMi shows that television is the major driver of the
Olympics. On Sunday over 100 million watched the Olympics on TV. “We know
television truly is the mothership with respect to how people are consuming the
Olympics,” says Wurtzel. “We should never forget that broadcast television
alone is still extraordinarily powerful.”

Early TAMi online video consumption showed a jump from 4.2 million on Opening
Ceremony Friday to 7.8 million on Monday. Wurtzel notes that while 50% of users
went online to see video of events they missed, 40% wanted to revisit some of
the major events again.

Wurtzel also said that half of the mobile video users were using it for the
first time. “After the Olympics we will see if some of these behaviors people
learned during the Olympics become adopted and become part of their media
behavior,” adds Wurtzel.

But the point of TAMI is to show an event’s total impact. For example, the
dramatic win for the U.S. in the men’s swimming relay on Tuesday was viewed on
TV by 81 million. On NBCOlympics.com it was streamed another 1.7 million video
streams of the event and 1.5 million video streams were shared with others. “It
is just fascinating to see how people are beginning to use this in a community
and viral way,” adds Wurtzel.

“We are five days into the Beijing Olympics and the results have been
phenomenal validating a strategy that really has been in place for us over the
past four or five Olympics, where we sought to take advantage of available
technology bandwidth to extend the coverage of the Olympics to the broadest
possible audience,” says Gary Zenkel, NBC Olympics president. “The network
primetime numbers are astounding and multiple platforms are fueling that
experience.”