comScore Intros Cross-Platform TV Measurement, Taking On Nielsen

comScore will begin offering a cross-platform measurement system spanning traditional TV, over-the-top (OTT) and mobile and desktop digital viewing starting in April, in time for the television upfronts.

The company also plans to launch a syndicated, cross-platform daily ratings offering in time for the fall TV season.

The news — which confirms comScore’s intention to take on Nielsen and its new Total Audience Measurement product — was announced by comScore CEO Serge Matta during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Feb. 17.

comScore, which has up to now focused on online advertising measurement, completed its $768-millon merger with Rentrak in late January, giving it access to Rentrak’s set-top box viewing data.

The merger means that comScore can enter new platforms including traditional TV, video-on-demand (VOD), movies, mobile video and OTT, said Matta.

comScore’s “holistic” solution will enable linking detailed consumer demographics “that go far beyond age and gender” with the “exact TV shows, Web sites or mobile experiences that the target consumer is watching,” according to Matta, with syndicated data available for all linear, time-shifted, VOD and digital video channels.



The targeting data will include what cars consumers drive, how they vote, the products they buy and use in their homes, and “much, much more — all linked with how they use the media that we measure at scale,” he said.

The market is “hungry for better information” to use in planning and executing media buys, Matta asserted.

For audience buyers, “better information means the ability to know equally who's viewing TV on major networks and highly targeted networks, cable networks, local stations, on new video platforms and on mobile,” he said. “And not just knowing something about the aggregate audience, but know in detail characteristics of these audiences with the depth to create powerfully targeted advertising campaigns and prove that those campaigns worked.”

In the U.S., comScore’s platform spans 500 national TV networks; 2,000 local TV stations; nearly 9 billion VOD transactions; more than 10 billion desktop and mobile Web sites; and more than 10,000 mobile movie and program apps, Matta reported. The company is measuring behavior on more than 260 million desktops, 160 million mobile screens, 95 million tablets and 40 million TV screens, and has information on 100 million movie-goers through its movie box-office business.

Incremental-reach data by medium will be available starting with the initial data, which will be reported monthly. “We’re not just looking at total audience,” said Matta. “We’re looking at incremental reach by audience. If 30,000 are watching TV and 20,000 view on mobile, we’re not showing a 50,000-person audience. We’re factoring in where there’s duplication and on what platform.”

comScore plans to increase the size of its Total Home Panel — used to measure in-home connected devices — from 4,000 to 60,000 by this summer (and to 300,000 by year end), and to incorporate that input in the cross-media offering by Q3.

comScore hopes to compete with Nielsen, the industry’s long-dominant TV ratings provider, by giving TV broadcasters new ways to leverage the value of their cross-screen audiences. TV broadcasters have been “clamoring for new currencies that factor in viewer behavior beyond the standard C3 and C7 ratings, which they claim drastically undercut their true reach,” observes AdExchanger.

Matta took obvious shots at Nielsen without actually mentioning the established leader. For instance, he asserted that “contrary to what many of you may have heard, this is a new market category where no one truly has market share,” and that comScore’s offerings will be “currencies the market has asked for and desperately needs, because they have not been provided in the past.”

Nielsen, which has been steadily adding new business for its Total Audience Measurement platform, now in testing, responded to press queries about comScore’s announcement with a statement from Megan Clarken, the company’s president-product leadership.

"Nielsen has the only total audience measurement, comparable across all screens, available to the market now,” Clarken stated. “All of our data is fully representative of the U.S. population, and we deliver truly independent measurement.” 

1 comment about "comScore Intros Cross-Platform TV Measurement, Taking On Nielsen".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 19, 2016 at 7:40 a.m.

    Competition is always desirable in cases like this but the key question will be whether we want to measure set or device usage---- or "viewing". The two are definitely not the same, especially for TV and SVOD.

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