Analyst: Dish Data Deal Helps Nielsen

Nielsen’s long-term agreement securing set-top box data is “incrementally positive” for Nielsen, according to analyst Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research.

Wieser notes that Dish historically had provided its data exclusively to Rentrak, now part of Nielsen rival comScore.

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While the deal is not "particularly negative for comScore," it should “help Nielsen improve the narrative around the long-term viability of its media measurement business (especially its local ratings service).”

Dish is an important supplier of set-top data, with one of the largest pools of anonymized TV viewing data, Wieser said. Although not every subscriber has a set-top box capable of producing data that can be aggregated into this data pool, and not every household with these set-tops has a sufficiently stable return path to deliver the data, Dish arguably has the best national footprint among originating MVPDs who supply data.

“With today’s news, comScore won’t have the advantage it previously held in terms of product availability,” Wieser said. “On the other hand, Nielsen’s product will likely be much more expensive than comScore’s. To the extent that smaller market local station groups – whose advertising clients are mostly small or locally-oriented advertisers – have realized they can operate without using Nielsen, comScore should fare well because of this factor.”

In larger markets, stations were unlikely to drop Nielsen, but they may be in a better position to negotiate lower rates, he said.

“Overall, the operating impact of the news is limited for both Nielsen and comScore. However, as comScore has generally held an advantage in terms of the narrative around media measurement, today’s announcement can be viewed relatively positive for Nielsen and negatively for comScore,” Wieser concluded.

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.