During the first months of 2022, there was a flurry of acquisitions and partnerships between several Nielsen
Innovid acquires TVSquared: In early February, Innovid announced the acquisition of TVSquared for an amount of 160 million dollars. Seeking an alternative to Nielsen, the two ad tech companies responded to NBCU’s high-profile tender for improved and transparent video measurement solutions. Innovid’s core business is video streaming and TVSquared focuses on TV attribution models. Because the two companies’ core business is different, the acquisition should allow the company to provide a more complete picture of the video landscape with streaming and linear TV and include the business results of advertising calendars.
Tal Chalozin, Co-Founder and CTO of Innovid, said, “As converged TV spending continues to rise, the market is rightly looking for independent measurement alternatives to protect investments and ensure campaign confidence. With the acquisition of TVSquared, we are advancing a cross-platform solution that addresses these needs.The combination of Innovid and TVSquared maps one of the largest data sets of audiences, households and devices – to large scale – through television, connected television and digital video.”
Jo Kinsella, President of TVSquared at Innovid, adds: “This acquisition truly brings television and digital closer together, establishing immense global scale and breaking down walled gardens. Innovid’s independent advertising footprint, combined with the independent platform of measurement and attribution from TVSquared, provides the scale and technology needed for marketers to reach the right audiences across linear, CTV and digital.”
iSpot.TV acquires Tunity: In early March, iSpot.TV, another audience measurement company and rival of Nielsen acquired Tunity. Tunity is an ad technology company specializing in the measurement of live audio (including muting) nationwide in outdoor locations such as restaurants, bars, gyms, offices, halls waiting, airports and hospitals. Tunity relies on a mobile app that captures live audio from video programs.
“Existing valuation models have been shown to dramatically distort audiences in public spaces, which impacts business models for buying and selling,” iSpot CEO Sean Muller said in a statement. “iSpot’s acquisition of Tunity will allow us to respond to massive market demand for a more unified and independent measurement system that tracks audience consumption for ads and programming second-by-second, across all platforms and viewing experiences. This is iSpot.TV’s third acquisition in the last 14 months. Last year, they acquired DRMetrix and Ace Metrix, the two companies measuring TV ads.
In the fall of 2020, Nielsen began adding out-of-home viewing to its TV rankings using a PPM device which was primarily used to measure radio/audio listening. In December 2021, Nielsen reported a software glitch that resulted in undercounting of viewers since September 2020. The VAB claimed the malfunction resulted in a loss of $700 million in advertising revenue, which Nielsen and the MRC contest. Overall, sports and news programming are the two genres that will see a significant increase in outside ratings.
Several key Tunity staff members will join iSpot.TV. This includes Paul Lindstrom, the Head of Research and Analytics. Lindstrom, a longtime Nielsen executive, said, “Tunity is a game-changer for OOH TV measurement because it’s the only company that identifies what people are watching in OOH via video rather than what they can hear by measuring the audio. When Tunity was a standalone company, customers wanted to see data integrated into a holistic approach to video measurement across all platforms. The combination of iSpot and Tunity increases the value of both. iSpot gains a competitive edge as it reports on a previously unmeasured share of video audience and Tunity’s OOH data can be viewed holistically within the broader context of all digital and linear television.
iSpot.TV tested its cross-platform audience measurement capabilities with WarnerMedia as well as NBCU and Publicis. Using Tunity as a source, iSpot.TV reported that Super Bowl LVI averaged 12.5 million viewers.
VideoAmp partnership with Comcast & Discovery
Last October, VideoAmp renewed its license agreement with Vizio, a manufacturer of Smart TVs. VideoAmp also has licensing agreements with RPD from The DISH Network
Additionally, in February, Discovery and advertising agency Omnicom announced that they would administer a pilot test using viewership data from VideoAmp (and Comscore). This is the latest announced partnership programmers and agencies have had with Nielsen’s rivals. Previously, VideoAmp announced an ad currency test with several leading agency holding companies. Additionally, Paramount announced that it will use VideoAmp to sell and secure advertising deals with its hyper-targeted and advanced Vantage advertising platform.
“‘VideoAmp is focused on increasing the value of advertising by redefining the way media is valued, bought and sold,” said Michael Parkes, president of VideoAmp. “We continue to drive adoption of our forex solution in collaboration with advertisers, agencies and media owners. Our recent announcement with Comcast demonstrates our commitment to providing best-in-class data. Discovery and OMG announcing their partnership with VideoAmp shows that the market is ready for this change. We are unlocking new value for those currently trading on measurement metrics that are completely disconnected from how they value their media. This is where the value destruction.Providing a monetary solution that enables transactions on advanced reach, frequency, and audience attribution brings media value metrics closer to the transaction, creating efficiencies for the entire industry , which it desperately needs and only VideoAmp can provide,” he added.
Samba TV partnership with Disney: More recently, Disney announced they are increasing their cross-platform measurement capabilities with Samba TV. Disney will have access to Samba’s cross-platform reach and frequency tool to share and evaluate with the advertising community. Samba uses proprietary technology built into 24 million smart TVs and has access to audience data from 46 million devices.
Ashwin Navin, Co-Founder and CEO, Samba TV says. “Marketers grapple with a fragmented TV market, and Samba TV has provided deduplicated reach and frequency metrics (and other results) for marketing, agency and publisher clients for years. This week’s announcement is a game-changer for marketers and sees Disney and Samba TV working together as currency measurement partners in a first-of-its-kind deal that solves marketers’ pain points by making it easier to understanding of true reach and frequency across Disney inventory and across Disney platforms.”
In addition, Disney has also worked with Comscore and Nielsen in several audience measurement tests and collaborated with advertising agencies Omnicom and Publicis. While Disney owns ABC and several top cable networks, they report that 40% of their ads are now watched on streaming platforms such as Hulu and ESPN+. This percentage will increase in the years to come.
The audience measurement companies that were part of the NBCU tender are not only competing to replace Nielsen, they are also competing with each other. Programmers and advertisers conducted pilot studies to gauge capabilities. Among the criteria evaluated are cross-platform audience measurement, media attribution, business results, deduplication capabilities, demographics and co-viewing measurement, and MRC accreditation status, among others. Accordingly, further acquisitions, partnerships, acceleration of their deliverables and sharing of resources can be anticipated.