LAS VEGAS – ESPN’s Barbara Singer has been “fanning the flames” of cross-platform content viewing measurement for many years. Among other things, the media company has learned that its viewers and listeners only become “cross-platform” denizens over several weeks.

“We thought that people were using multiple platforms every day, but it’s not true,” says Singer, who is VP of Advertiser Insights & Strategy. On a daily basis, people are generally using one platform for ESPN. “So you’re either a TV viewer, or a digital person, or radio. You’re not putting them all together in one day. Over a month you become multi-platform,” Singer says in an interview at the Nielsen Consumer 360 conference.

On the effectiveness front, ESPN for about four years has regularly tracked 40 consumer brands across seven categories. “We’ve learned a lot of things about the differences between what different platforms can do for brands and how they work together,” Singer says.

So it came as a bit of a downer to Singer when she heard a panel discussion about the progress—or lack thereof—in industry efforts to accurately measure viewer reach across platforms. “I don’t think anyone’s comfortable” with cross-platform measurement, says Singer. “I was just sitting in one of the sessions about beyond reach and the panelists basically were saying, “You know what, we can’t do it, we can’t get our reach put together.’ It sounded like they’ve just given up.”

ESPN has its own take on how advertisers should target live sports viewers, given its unique nature about sports and fans. It’s not about targeting specific buyer behaviors within an ESPN audience.

“The biggest leverage you can have is to target emotion of advertising with sports fans,” says Singer. For example, the anticipation of a big event. “Whether or not you’re on the winning side or the losing side. How do you message differently to the sports fan in that way? That’s where we’re putting our emphasis in terms of targeting.”

In any event, Singer is still a metrics cheerleader. “We keep encouraging and fanning the flames of those efforts in the industry,” she says.

This video is part of series produced at Consumer 360. The series is sponsored by Nielsen. Please visit this page for additional segments.

Nielsen's Consumer 360, Las Vegas 2016