As TV-viewing behavior becomes increasingly fragmented, thanks to cord cutting and the rise of mobile, figuring out who watches your programs and when has gotten increasingly difficult for broadcasters. And when you pay billions of dollars for the right to broadcast certain events—as NBCUniversal has done for the Olympics—that becomes a significant issue.
In an attempt to solve that problem, the Comcast-owned network announced on Monday that it is partnering with Tivo and a content-analytics company called RealityMine to try and come up with comprehensive data about who watches Olympic programming, when they watch it, and where.
Although it is known primarily for its set-top video recorder, Tivo Inc. also has a research arm that partners with cable companies and satellite providers to track viewer behavior. RealityMine—which announced a $17.2-million financing on Monday—measures TV viewing activity across multiple platforms, such as smartphones and tablets.
Knowing what people are watching and when could help NBCUniversal determine what Olympic programming to broadcast at what specific times during the Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro next year. The broadcast network paid $7.65 billion for exclusive rights to the Olympics until 2032.
Broadcasters such as NBCUniversal are creating partnerships with providers like Tivo and RealityMine in part because they say they aren’t getting the data they need about new digital behavior from traditional analytics partners such as Nielsen and comScore.
Nielsen has been trying to catch up, however. The company recently released a comprehensive report looking at video-viewing behavior across multiple platforms and found that for millennial audiences, smartphones and other mobile devices have become the primary method of consumption, replacing traditional broadcast television.