Analyst: comScore Moves No Threat to Nielsen

The moves to introduce new multiplatform ratings by comScore aren’t putting a dent in mighty Nielsen, according to analyst Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research.

Wieser says that while the news is favorable to comScore, “we do not view the news as necessarily negative for Nielsen vs. expectations.”

comScore, during its earnings call Wednesday, said media buyers including ZenithOptimedia and GroupM were increasingly using its ratings as currency in negotiations with local stations.

Related: comScore plans to reveal Netflix numbers

“For comScore, the use of their data beyond planning and negotiating as an actual trading currency by a large agency group is notable, as we think this is uncommon presently,” Wieser said. “We note that GroupM has successfully driven new standards in its negotiations with media owners in the past, as it has in its efforts driving viewability standards into its digital media negotiations and when it initiated the use of commercial ratings in national TV buying. With respect to Nielsen, we can see how the news may appear menacing, although we take a more nuanced view.”

Wieser notes while comScore is making inroads with local stations, it remains well positioned in larger local market where it has people meters.

And, adds, “larger advertisers who are core to Nielsen’s stickiness with national agencies – and therefore to the higher-paying national media owners – disproportionately care about the largest local markets if they care about local markets at all.”

For that reason, Wieser doesn’t expect national agency groups or national media owners to drop their contracts with Nielsen.

“At the same time, we think that comScore’s set-top box-based measurement services can grow in importance with agencies and even more for local broadcast groups exposed to smaller markets from a relatively small base, highlighting our view that comScore’s successes are not likely part of a zero-sum game within the media measurement industry,” he said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.