ESPN’s Industry-Leading Research and Analytics Team Launches New Program with Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

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Wharton Interactive Media Initiative to Collaborate with ESPN on Strategies for Cross-Platform Media Analysis and Measurement

New York, NY and Philadelphia, PA., September 25, 2009 –ESPN and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania announced today a three-year agreement centering on Wharton’s Interactive Media Initiative (WIMI). The agreement will provide ESPN with access to WIMI’s expert team of academics and help pursue data-driven solutions to digital and integrated media challenges like cross-media measurement and analysis. Students in the WIMI program will benefit from developing statistical and forecasting models based on the information and real-world scenarios presented by ESPN.

“This agreement gives ESPN the opportunity to tap into the experts and students in the global WIMI network to help us analyze emerging media data,” said Artie Bulgrin, senior vice president, research and analytics, ESPN. “In return, members of the ESPN research team will host lectures and insight sessions that will provide students the opportunity to apply their studies in a corporate, rather than academic, environment.”

“ESPN perfectly embodies the spirit of the WIMI concept: The questions they are asking line up perfectly with the kinds of empirical analyses that leading academics around the world have already been doing on their own,” said Peter S. Fader, WIMI Co-Director. “We are delighted to match them up and help conduct some terrific research together.”

The initial goals will focus on four key project areas:

  • Detailed analysis and modeling of data from ESPN crossmedia studies to gain insight about how people use various ESPN touch points e.g. convergent usage of TV and Internet in the home;
  • Analysis of upcoming four-platform measurement test using new technology to measure TV, Radio, Web and Mobile on a single-source basis;
  • Evaluation and enhancement of existing data fusion models;
  • Optimization of digital audiences across Internet and Mobile in an effort to improve traffic and loyalty and achieve more accurate forecasting

In addition to the knowledge exchanged between the two organizations, ESPN will have the opportunity to hire interns from the WIMI program who are specifically trained in the emerging field of interactive media measurement.

“With a multi-year relationship and the opportunity to combine academic and industry resources, we can accomplish meaningful work in the years ahead,” said Steve Ennen, WIMI Managing Director. “The program will function on several important levels that will benefit ESPN, the Wharton community and the industry.”

About the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative
Launched with a gift from Wharton alumnus Art Bilger and his wife, Dahlia, the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative is the authoritative thought leader for issues related to interactive media and its impact on broader business matters. Working with world-class faculty and top business leaders, and under the leadership of marketing professors Eric Bradlow and Peter Fader and Managing Director Steve Ennen, the initiative provides an objective and rigorous focus on data-driven problems of significant managerial interest. For more information, please contact Steve Ennen at ennen@wharton.upenn.edu.

About ESPN
ESPN, Inc. is the world’s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of six domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU), ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS and ESPNU HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (45 networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN PPV, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360.com (Broadband), ESPN Mobile Properties, ESPN on Demand and ESPN Interactive. Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

About the Wharton School
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania — founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school — is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The most comprehensive source of business knowledge in the world, Wharton bridges research and practice through its broad engagement with the global business community. The school has more than 4,700 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 12,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and an alumni network of 85,000 graduates.

Media Contacts:

ESPN
Amy Phillips
212-456-0226
amy.phillips@espn.com

The Wharton School
Peter Winicov
215-746-6471
winicov@wharton.upenn.edu

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