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ESPN Networks See Significant Lift from Out of Home Viewing in 2016, Highest Among Millennials

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Key Findings from First Full Year of Out of Home Data to be Shared at ARF Annual Conference in New York City Today

Today at the ARF Annual Conference in New York City, ESPN’s Fan and Media Intelligence group presented key viewership findings from the first full year of Out of Home (OOH) data. ESPN has been a first mover in OOH, working in collaboration with Nielsen Media Research, and was the first network to ever secure advertising deals that include OOH as part of overall audience measurement. The findings released today cover a period from Dec. 28, 2015 to Dec. 25, 2016 and include the following:

Out of Home: It’s not just bars and restaurants.

  • In fact, an ESPN survey revealed that 75 percent of OOH viewing occurrences and instances are at places other than bars and restaurants, including health clubs, waiting rooms, college dorms, airports and hotels.

ESPN networks saw a significant lift in viewership when including OOH, with the highest lifts among younger demographics.

  • In 2016, OOH increased ESPN’s total day audience by 6.2 percent, while ESPN2 saw a 4.1 percent increase.
  • Specifically among people 18-24, OOH lifts for ESPN and ESPN2 were 9.1 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively.
  • People 18-34 accounted for 31 percent of all ESPN/ESPN2 OOH viewing. ESPN OOH viewership is 27 percent more highly concentrated with people 18-34 than the in-home audience.

Peak OOH viewing times were driven by time of day, programming and seasonality.

  • While ESPN saw significant gains from OOH viewing throughout a 24-hour day, audience lifts for the network were highest from 12-3 p.m. ET (13.4 percent), when the majority of both coasts were at work.
  • 52 percent of all OOH viewing for ESPN occurred from Thursday-Saturday, compared to a 45 percent share of all in-home viewing.
  • High profile events on Fridays and Saturdays that included college football and the NBA fueled ESPN and ESPN2 to their highest percent lifts of the week with an average of 7.5 percent and 5.1 percent per day, respectively.
  • In terms of time of year, lifts to ESPN and ESPN2 were highest in the summer months (June-August), driven by peak seasonality for vacations and a strong slate of day time programming that included EURO 2016 soccer and Wimbledon tennis.

Major sports events – including the College Football Playoff, Rose Bowl and EURO 2016 – attracted the largest OOH audiences in 2016.

  • New Year’s Eve 2016 – featuring the College Football Playoff Semifinals logged ESPN’s best day for OOH viewing with nearly 453,000 viewers per minute.
  • 2016 Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual – was ESPN’s largest OOH telecast with an average of more than 1.1 million viewers, a 9.1 percent lift over the in-home audience.
  • EURO 2016 Final – generated ESPN’s highest OOH percent lift at 17 percent.

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