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Nielsen Total Audience, explained

Working with Nielsen, ESPN will report and transact on one audience number that captures the vast variety of ways live sports is consumed by fans.

Beginning today, ESPN will be among the first to report and transact on one Nielsen Total Audience number that reflects television viewing (which includes streaming on traditional and digital pay TV provider access points), ESPN/ESPN2 streaming (on and the ESPN and WatchESPN Apps) and out-of-home audiences for ratings. Specifically:

  • Overnights and Final Numbers – will reflect TV viewing + Streaming audiences on OTT devices (such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, gaming consoles and smart TVs)
  • 1 Day Later – a breakdown of what percent of the audience came from TV viewing versus Streaming on OTT devices will be available
  • 1 Week Later – total audience numbers for all Streaming (on OTT devices, computers, phones and tablets) released
  • 3 Weeks Later – out-of-home audience numbers come in, which historically has delivered a significant lift, particularly among millennials

Worth noting for this inaugural year (through Sept. 24, 2018):

  • When comparing ratings year-over-year, the number will reflect Nielsen to Nielsen. That means, for this transition year, it will compare TV viewing + all Streaming in 2017-18 versus TV viewing (including some very limited streaming through pay TV provider access points) in 2016-17.
  • Streaming viewership for ESPN on ABC broadcasts will not be included at this time. That audience will continue to be reported through Adobe internal numbers in the interim.
  • This is just the latest example of how ESPN continues to be at the forefront of the industry in data and analytics. For years, we recognized fans watching ESPN across all screens as one audience on one platform. As a result, we created our own Total Live Audience number with an internal average minute audience metric to reflect this. Now, with Nielsen Total Audience, we have third party measurement to mirror that in the marketplace. By working closely with partners like Nielsen, we are embracing and adopting innovative solutions that more accurately reflect the current media landscape and how fans consume sports.

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