Rentrak, the would-be challenger to Nielsen in local-market ratings, has cut a deal with another large station group to subscribe to its ratings based on set-top-box (STB) data. Even more newsworthy is that the station group, Post-Newsweek, plans to use the data as a currency for deal-making.
Post-Newsweek operates the NBC station in Detroit and CBS affiliate in Orlando. Nielsen has been pursuing its own STB data product for local markets, which it says should be launched next year.
"The industry has been waiting for decades for a viable and robust competitive environment in the television measurement arena … we will be using Rentrak ratings as a currency at all of our television stations and urge all broadcasters, agencies and advertisers to support Rentrak's census-based ratings solution," Post-Newsweek CEO Alan Frank stated.
Post-Newsweek had been subscribing to the Rentrak numbers for its Miami and Houston stations, and after early results said it has opted to expand.
Rentrak culls STB data from cable operators Charter and Midcontinent Communications, Dish Network and AT&T, and says it collects it coast-to-coast from 19 million TV sets.
Rentrak recently signed up Carat as it looks to build its roster of national-agency clients.
Its strategy in markets such as the ones that Post-Newsweek operates in are to sign up an initial station and then hope the others follow. With Post-Newsweek using the data as a currency, if buyers embrace that, other stations may follow sooner.