Rentrak Adds Florida Markets

Rentrak has inked a deal in the Fort Myers, Fla. market, continuing its follow-the-leader strategy. The Fox affiliate in the 64th-largest DMA joins two other stations in the market in subscribing to the company's local ratings service, derived from set-top-box data.

In April, Rentrak said the CBS and CW stations in the area, which also includes Naples in southwestern Florida, are using the second-by-second viewing tracking information.

As Rentrak rolls out the StationView Essentials product as a potential Nielsen competitor, offering data into commercial viewing its rival doesn't, it is pushing a distinct strategy. Rentrak looks to persuade one station in a market to become a customer, then have local agencies embrace the data and then have other stations follow. It now claims 38 stations in 19 markets.

In Fort Myers, a deal with Waterman Broadcasting with its NBC-ABC duopoly there would give Rentrak the stations linked with all the major networks. Rentrak has been known to stagger announcements on new station clients, partly for increased publicity. It would not be a surprise if word of a Waterman deal came soon, even this week.



The Fox station, WFTX, is part of the Journal Broadcast Group, which has 13 outlets, including the NBC station in Milwaukee and the ABC affiliate in Las Vegas.

Rentrak says StationView can provide ratings for every DMA. It does not release details on its methods, but it likely uses extrapolations for individual markets. Its data comes from set-top boxes in homes served by Dish Network, AT&T U-verse and Charter Communications.

While Dish has customers across the country, AT&T has a limited footprint. Charter is offering data only from the Los Angeles area.

In addition to actual viewing data, Rentrak says StationView can offer "ad retention indices, program stickiness/engagement factors and brand-based station "heat maps" (retail trading area and political district ratings)."

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