Rentrak Adds Birmingham, Portland, and Another in Wichita

Rentrak has some biggish stations on board with its ratings service, announcing deals with New Vision owned stations WIAT Birmingham, KSNW Wichita and KOIN Portland.

Stations sign up for Rentrak’s StationView Essentials. Typically they retain their Nielsen ratings while adding Rentrak’s service for more granular viewer data, though a handful, including KWCH Wichita, have scrapped Nielsen altogether in favor of the upstart.

Rentrak seems to own Wichita; it says KSNW marks its eighth station subscriber in the market, including KWCH and KAKE. I profiled Wichita in a recent Market Eye; DMA No. 69 has satellite stations all over the market, which would seem to account for the high number of station partners. At the time, KSNW Pres./GM John Dawson told me the station was close to inking the deal with Rentrak.

Rentrak grabs that data from set-top boxes; Nielsen is also testing set-top box measurement in a few markets.

Here’s what New Vision EVP Steve Spendlove said about adding Rentrak:

“As an industry leader, our station group needs access to relevant television measurement that more accurately represents today’s television viewer. By leveraging massive databases of television viewing versus small samples, Rentrak’s StationView Essentials provides New Vision subscribing stations with a more reliable way to demonstrate the value we bring to advertisers.”

We had Rentrak CEO Bill Livek at our OnScreen Media Summit in New York a few weeks ago. With Rentrak pulling data from 17 million set-top boxes, Livek was predictably bullish on such data. The other panelists, though, said they weren’t quite confident enough in it yet to make major buys for their marketing partners on behalf of such data.


Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.