ESPN spots disconnect between big data and market research

Stephen Whiteside

Artie Bulgrin should have been celebrating.

Having spent almost two decades at ESPN, the organisation's svp/global research and analytics received the Board of Directors Lifetime Achievement Award at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Audience Measurement 2015 conference in New York – an honour recognising his "lifetime of industry leadership" and "substantial support to advancing cross-media measurement."

But rather than congratulating himself on a job well done, Bulgrin began a "Shifting the Paradigm: Cross-Platform Measurement" session at the same event by warning his colleagues about a damaging gap that is emerging among the practitioners charged with generating consumer insights.

ESPN's top researcher – who led a recent Warc Webinar on audience measurement – identified the ever-increasing space between the stacks of big data available to marketers, on one hand, and, on the other, the steeped-in-dated-traditions tools that research departments still use to process new information.