ME* Conference 2010

MLB's Bob Bowman on How Baseball Leads the Majors in Mobile

League's Chief of Advanced Media Touts Apps and Takes a Swing at Web Measurement Cos.

By Published on .

NEW YORK ( -- It may arguably be the slowest moving of the four major sports, but Major League Baseball is blowing away the other leagues when it comes to online and mobile activity, and Bob Bowman, CEO of MLB Advanced Media, is helping lead that charge.

Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman Credit: Pete Kolonia
At Ad Age's Media Evolved Conference, Mr. Bowman said sees roughly 100 million page views a day from 9 million to 10 million visitors a day and roughly 50 million to 60 million unique visitors a month. Mr. Bowman knows the value of but sees the importance -- and impact -- of mobile apps moving in on the web's territory.

"While websites are always going to be important, the apps on wireless devices and tablets may start to move beyond what the sites can do because apps are so clean and swift and provide an effective way to get the content more quickly," he said. "It may be that we actually see that process and compartmentalization start to invade the web more."

In 2010, roughly 3.5 million visitors came to via a wireless device. Mr. Bowman said while one third of the eyeballs on come from mobile devices, those visitors only generate 3% of its overall revenue. "We're optimistic for 2011 in terms of narrowing that 3% vs. 33% gap. Hopefully we'll get into double digits," he said.

Echoing the sentiment of many other online content providers, Mr. Bowman rather harshly laid into the online measurement folks at Nielsen Co. and ComScore.

"I can't imagine anyone being so wrong and still being able to get away with it," he said, referring to the two companies. "For instance, one of them published stats on unique video users for sports content in the month of October and had at 5 million. The total number of users was over 70 million in October. I don't know why they just don't ask us. It really is a frustration. So far it hasn't risen to a legal action."

"If you're a sponsor or advertiser looking for reach, and those scores say we reach 10 million instead of 60 million," he continued, "there are going to be some calls we just won't get from certain marketers because the numbers aren't high enough. The good thing is that most advertisers realize that ComScore and Nielsen have no idea what they are doing."

Mr. Bowman isn't a fan of TV Everywhere -- an attempt by the major cable companies to make broadcast and cable programming available online, on-demand and free with a cable subscription -- and giving away certain types of content for free.

"We believe that the cable model is good," he said. "We charge for content that is valuable and give away content that should be free. We don't understand TV Everywhere -- we don't get it. We don't understand how people are charging for cable at home and then giving it away on the internet. We do charge for our games online, and it's a pretty good business. We have over 1.5 million subscribers, and that number will grow."

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