On A Roll, Rentrak Gets Patent For 'Off'

On the heels of its $98 million deal with WPP Group to acquire one of its chief TV set-top data-based ratings rivals Kantar Media, Rentrak this morning announced it has been granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a crucial part of the method it uses to measure ratings via digital set-top devices: When TV sets are turned on or off.

“This patent recognizes the fact that only Rentrak has the intellectual property,” Vice Chairman and CEO Bill Livek said in a statement, adding: “This technology is an integral part of providing massive and passive television measurement for our clients.”

Rentrak competes with Nielsen, which mainly uses panel-based measurement methods, and several companies that utilize TV set-top data, including digital video recording giant TiVo’s TRA unit.

Rentrak called the granting of U.S. Patent 8,863,166 an “important component” of its ratings service, which it said is approaching 60 million set-tops and covers both “live and DVR viewing,” as well as more than 114 million TVs accessing video-on-demand.

The patent specifically covers an intellectual property enabling Rentrak’s system to identify when TV sets are off, but the set-top-box is on.

“Because it often happens that a set-top box is left on when the television is turned off, this process is crucial to the measurement of viewing based on return-path TVs,” Rentrak said, adding that the approach is based on “more than 10,000 statistical models to identify specific viewing situations.”

Photo provided courtesy of Shutterstock.

2 comments about "On A Roll, Rentrak Gets Patent For 'Off'".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 20, 2014 at 2:45 p.m.

    Now if they could just measure when we're actually watching the TV when it's on.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, October 20, 2014 at 7:21 p.m.

    Doug, I'd start with who in the home is even present.

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