ESPN Is First To Sign On to Nielsen’s Out-of-Home Ratings

By A.J. Katz 

Back in October, Nielsen announced its plan to launch an out-of-home ratings reporting service measuring TV commercial viewing in restaurants, bars, hotels, gyms, airports and other locales.

Today, the company announced that the product, named the Nielsen National Out-of-Home Reporting Service, is now ready for use, and ESPN is the service’s first client. ESPN2 will opt in as well.

“Way before TV was multi-platform, it was multi-place – especially for millions of sports fans,” said Ed Erhardt, president of ESPN global sales and marketing. “We are very pleased Nielsen is now able to effectively measure this valuable audience and make the data available to the entire industry. It is a significant step forward in measuring the unmeasured to create an accurate total live audience metric.”


Nielsen will combine the in-home viewing from its National TV ratings panel with the out-of-home viewing captured by its Portable People Meters, which has approximately 77,000 installed panelists. Networks that subscribe to the service will receive individual day data for program and commercial audience estimates delivered on a weekly basis.

“Given ESPN’s history as a pioneer in out-of-home measurement we are delighted to have them on board as our lead client. This service will allow ESPN and other networks to quantify the incremental lift that out-of-home viewing brings to their ratings,” said Lynda Clarizio, president of U.S. media for Nielsen. “As consumers routinely watch television outside of their own homes, whether in a bar during a big game or in a hotel or elsewhere, it’s imperative to capture that viewing. Measuring out-of-home audiences is another example of our commitment to providing clients with a more complete picture of their audiences through out Nielsen Total Audience measurement framework.”

Will cable news networks follow ESPN’s lead and sign up for the service as well? They probably should. After all, there have been complaints from some networks in the past that the Nielsen ratings system doesn’t accurately capture their audience. Walk into any airport, hotel or restaurant, and there’s a pretty good chance that one of the cable or business news networks is on a television. Those eyeballs haven’t been measured effectively. Now, that may change.