NBC’s Ad Olympics: Reaching For Audience Measurement Gold

While NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) is raking in millions from advertising commitments for its TV, online and mobile phone coverage of the Summer Olympics games next month, the network hopes to prove the value of its cross-platform audience reach by promising more precise measurements to influence sales for the 2012 games. NBC has fashioned a measurement system it’s calling “total audience measurement index,” or TAMI, which combines data from Nielsen Media Research and other audience trackers Omniture and Rentrak. Alan Wurtzel, president of research for NBCU, tells the NYT that the goal is not to offer inflated numbers based on the Nielsen records, which tends to be lower than sites’ internal numbers. He says NBC simply wants a more comprehensive view of the way viewers experience the internet and TV coverage.

TAMI will break out the number of viewers, unique visitors and time spent on sections of nbcolympics.com, the network’s home for its online Olympics programming. The measurement system will also offer day-to-day slices of the online demos the games coverage attracts, the percentage of those watching on their PC and mobile phones, and whether internet programming adds to TV viewership. TAMI is one part of NBC’s current research arsenal; the data from that experiment will be used with other programs, including one test of 40 individuals who have agreed to let the network monitor their viewing of Olympics’ videos on their cell phones.

WSJ: The new measurements will be used only for research purposes during the Games, as most of the ad deals have already been negotiated and are based on traditional Nielsen ratings data. But the new measurement could be part of ad negotiations for the next Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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