NEW YORK: Television watched in bars, restaurants, hotel rooms and gyms doesn't currently feature in accepted viewing metrics, but could make an important difference to the audience profile for programming like news and sports.

Ratings agency Nielsen is working on using a Portable People Meter to create an out-of-home sample which can be added to its existing linear TV ratings. And the early responses from two sports networks, ESPN and Fox Sports, are positive, Advertising Age reported.

"The lift we're seeing is actually better than we expected," according to Artie Bulgrin, SVP/Global Research and Analytics at ESPN.

"It's a high quality audience," he added, "slightly younger, a bit more female-skewing, and also a bit more multicultural. Out-of-home extends our reach to a number of very attractive segments."

In fact, ESPN is so sure of the worth of the data that it is considering making related ratings guarantees, as it has calculated that during a typical week anywhere from 30% and 40% of its viewers are accessing the network's feed from an out-of-home location.

Unsurprisingly, bars and restaurants are the most popular venues (30%), followed by the gym (11%), the office (8%) and hotel rooms (7%).

Talks with media agencies and advertisers are already taking place. "We expect to see [the OOH deliveries] reflected in deals with our marketing partners in this year's upfront," said Eric Johnson, EVP/global multimedia sales, ESPN.

"This is an engaged audience that marketers are pining for, and not counting them is, and always has been, ridiculous," he added.

Bulgrin claimed that ESPN was "perhaps more underreported than any network out there", and that "this is a perfectly valid audience".

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff