CBS Adds Los Angeles Stations To Rentrak Deal, A First For Nation's No. 2 Market

A week after the Fox Television Stations group signed a long-term deal with Rentrak to provide audience ratings for all of its local markets, CBS this morning announced a deal to expand a previous, more limited agreement.

The expansion adds CBS West Coast flagship station KCBS and Los Angeles independent KCAL, marking the first stations in L.A. -- the nation’s No. 2 market -- to use Rentrak’s local ratings service.

In March, CBS announced an agreement with Rentrak that covered local TV ratings for four of its markets. The new deal brings the total number of CBS owned stations using Rentrak’s ratings to nine. In addition to L.A., they cover stations in Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Pittsburgh.

CBS executives cited Rentrak’s ability to deliver “advanced automotive demographic” ratings as part of the reason for the deal with Rentrak.

Last week’s Rentrak deal with Fox runs deeper than just developing a supplemental source of audience estimates, according to executives familiar with the deal, who said it was also driven by a fallout between Fox and Rentrak rival Nielsen over methodological changes in its local ratings, as well as contractual ones.

In response to that coverage, a Nielsen spokesperson provided the following statement:

"Nielsen has a rich history with Fox working on all aspects of media measurement -- traditional, digital and qualitative.  We continue to offer metrics, developed with world-class measurement science, upon which the media and advertising industries transact with confidence. We believe that the evolution of the business and the creation of new and innovative ways to measure the market are essential to the long-term growth of the industry. As we are doing this fall with the launch of the first true cross-platform product which will roll mobile TV measurement into the television ratings, we will continue to adopt new measurement technologies and data sets as they improve to the point where they meet our high standards."

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3 comments about "CBS Adds Los Angeles Stations To Rentrak Deal, A First For Nation's No. 2 Market".
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc , June 19, 2014 at 4:47 p.m.
    It would be interesting to find out how much Fox is paying for its service, relative to Nielsen, and exactly what "use" it is making of the data. Is this really the beginning of "the end" for Nielsen, as some reports suggest, or is it mostly a way to put pressure on Nielsen as contract signing time draws near? I suspect that the latter of the two possibilities is the likely answer. After all, it's not the first time Nielsen's dominance of the TV rating business has been "challenged". Remember the competition posed by Audits of Great Britain ( AGB ) and Percy in the mid 1980s? The net result was that Nielsen switched to the "peoplemeter" that its rivals were espousing and they immediately faded away. More recently when the networks were pressing Nielsen to upgrade its methodology they funded a major and top notch research program by Statistical Research which noted areas for improvement. But, in the end, the networks stuck with Nielsen and the agencies and advertisers went along with them. In both of these cases, Nielsen was prodded to make needed improvements----which was fine-----but it was not toppled. My bet is that Nielsen and Rentrak are heading for some sort of deal whereby the latter's huge sample and ability to provide more granularity is melded in some manner with Nielsen's rating system---which measures viewers, not just TV set usage. Another big factor is Nielsen's proven track record of being able to service its clients. This, too, can not be taken lightly.
  2. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC , June 29, 2014 at 8:45 p.m.
    Where is your "proven track record" of Nielsen client service? What have they ever done for you? Maybe I do not want to know. I have waited 10 days for your proof, Ed. Your speculation is the product of cynicism. Nothing more. I take your "speculation" lightly...very lightly. The quality of US media research is low because of enduring skepticism like yours. Too bad. Onwards and upwards.
  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc , June 30, 2014 at 5:40 p.m.
    You have waited ten days for my proof? What are you talking about, Nick. Since when do I have to prove my opinion. I have been a Nielsen client for two periods, the most recent being in the 1990s. I have also had numerous contacts with Nielsen from those at the top all the way down to sales service people. I know many people who also know Nielsen well and would, no doubt, agree with me. Your rant against Nielsen is totally unjustified and to blame me for the low quality of U.S. media research because of my "enduring skepticism"---whatever that is supposed to mean---- is absurd. Onwards and downwards.