How do you rebuild your media measurement infrastructure for the cross-platform, impression-based future whilst simultaneously servicing your debt?
If you are Comscore, you take a strategic investment round.
That’s what the measurement giant just did, taking an investment from Charter Communications, Qurate Retail and Cerberus Capital Management, which will jointly take $204 million convertible preferred stock. That money will be used to repay a $204 million debt to Starboard.
In this video interview with Beet.TV, David Kline, the EVP of Charter Communications and president of its Spectrum Reach division, explains that the deal is about more than just money – it’s about the future of media measurement.
— CMO Today (@wsjCMO) January 7, 2021
Forward to future
According to the announcement, Charter will provide Comscore with “enhanced access to deidentified and aggregated data sources and rights (to) richer and more granular consumer-level data sets”, whilst Comcast also just extended a deal in which it provides data to Comscore.
“What we were trying to do is to give Comscore the opportunity to really have census-based data in virtually all their markets,” Kline says.
“Between the rights deals that we have with our data and their extension with Comcast in the Comcast markets, Comscore now has probably the most exhaustive set of impressions to help advertisers find their audiences in a more granular way, and to help them do backend analytics on attribution to see who actually saw the ad and who acted on it.
“We’ve got millions of set top boxes and connected devices with our app on it collecting viewership data – whereas in, say, a market like Cleveland, maybe Nielsen has 1500, if that, local people meters.”
Comscore’s announcement describes the deal as “a watershed moment in our history,”, saying it will help it pursue:
- TV advertising
- digital and cross-platform audiences
- impression-baed ad currencies
- enhanced addressable advertising
- outcome-based attribution
In recent years, Comscore itself has been investing to bring forward its media measurement infrastructure for the age of cross-media consumption, including through a merger with TV’s Rentrak.
The additional new challenge is tackling cross-device in a way that also promotes user privacy.
Charter’s Kline thinks the Comscore deal does that in a way that enhances local media buying.
“When you have Charter and you have Comcast, and then you have other data sets that Comscore already had prior to us – I believe it’s Vizio and Dish and AT&T – it means you can be more precise,” he says.
“On a national basis, there’s still a lot of set tops and a lot of apps being aggregated. But the first place, I think, for aggregation is on local. And then they’ll take that local number and they’ll bump that up, meaning Comscore, to a national sample.”