The International Olympic Committee and ad giant Publicis Media are official partners with Discovery in the new initiative.
Eurosport, which Discovery acquired in full in 2015, has rights to the Games across most of Europe and is an official broadcaster of them in the UK. In 2018 and 2020, Eurosport has rights in 48 markets and territories, excluding France and Monaco, which will join Discovery’s rights footprint in 2022 and 2024. Russia is excluded from the company’s definition of Europe.
In order to back up its pledge to deliver the action “to more people, across more screens, than ever before,” Discovery said it has developed three new metrics, which together will capture “total video,” a blend of free-to-air, pay-TV, online and social engagement.
The first metric is Video, which will track the number of videos viewed and total hours watched across Discovery’s owned and operated platforms, plus traditional audience data from its broadcast partners throughout Europe.
The second metric is Users, a figure for total users on Discovery platforms, plus traditional audience data from European broadcast partners. The third metric, Engagement, tallies up the number of likes, shares and comments across Discovery’s digital and social media properties.
“Clearly the way people consume content and particularly big events has evolved, which is why we need to bolster traditional measurement methods and expand the metrics of television to capture Total Video – the new TV,” said Jean-Briac Perrette, president and CEO of Discovery Networks International.
Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, saluted Discovery for “setting a new standard and, working together, we will be able to better understand audience trends across Europe and interact with new generations of Olympic fans.”
As part of the effort, Publicis Media’s sports and entertainment division will calculate de-duplicated and unique reach through a post-Games survey measuring people’s consumption of the Olympic Winter Games across multiple screens and platforms.
The new measurement plan “neatly meshes data from different sources,” said Chris Jones, global lead for research and evaluation at the Publicis sports and entertainment unit. “Importantly, official audited data from television and online measurement systems are at the heart of the calculation but clever use of survey research allows us to understand the cross-over in people who connect with the Games via both television and digital/social platforms meaning we can remove any double counting and determine the true pan-European audience reach of an event for the first time.”
Discovery’s efforts are no doubt informed by the experience evaluating and leveraging Olympics coverage in the U.S. that CEO David Zaslav acquired during his long tenure at NBC, though the viewing environments in the U.S. and Europe differ. At the same time Eurosport is retooling measurement in Europe, NBC has also been tweaking its approach heading into PyeongChang given the pace of change.
Last month, Dan Lovinger, EVP of ad sales for the NBC Sports Group, noted that connected-TV viewing was about 30% of the total at the 2016 Rio Olympics, compared with zero at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. For networks today, he said, “the definition of digital has almost become irrelevant.” The only question is, he added, “Are they viewing our content?”