After releasing details of how the results of an investigation into accounting issues affected its revenue and profits, comScore CEO Gian Fulgoni assured investors he’d get the company back on track.
“This year has not quite been business as usual for comScore,” Fulgoni said on a conference call Friday morning. “But I want to assure you that… I’m very much committed to ensuring that we get the company back on the right track and I think we can do that.”
Fulgoni took over the CEO post in August from Serge Matta, after the company disclosed an investigation that centered on the way non-cash transactions involving data acquisition were accounted for. Matta resigned as executive vice chairman this week.
comScore on Thursday announced lower figures for revenue and profits that excluded those non-cash transactions and moved to restore investor and client confidence in the measurement company.
“In the five weeks I’ve been on the job, if you will, I’ve been able to look at our products, our operations, our organization. I’ve made some strategic changes, some tweaks, some adjustments, and all of that has given me real confidence in our path forward,” Fulgoni said.
The message appeared to resonate with investors. The stock was up nearly 5% in morning trading.
Fulgoni said he was optimistic about the company because it has unique data and information assets, powerful technology and has retained its customer roster.
After its acquisition of Rentrak last year, comScore appeared poised to give Nielsen, the leader in the research market, its first real competition in years. Despite the distraction of the investigation, comScore is in an attractive business.
The digital, TV, cross-platform and movie markets are huge and that “makes measurement critical to any marketer’s business success in those sectors,” Fulgoni said.
Fulgoni said comScore’s efforts impacted its advertising research products the most.
“It’s an unfortunate reality that the impact of this accounting investigation has hampered somewhat the growth of our suite of VCE products,” he said. “That said, we’ve been moving forward aggressively in several areas to improve the portfolio in ways that we hope to be able to announce to you soon.”
He said comScore in the past month has made progress with its multi-platform digital business, increasing the size and scope of its mobile panel. The company also expanded its Total Home Panel, which helps measure connected devices. Fulgoni said that panel has grown 40% to 86,000 connected devices monthly. The panel enables the company to learn more about consumer and audience behavior, including identifying someone watching video content on Netflix versus Amazon.
comScore’s TV business also grew. “We continue to see encouraging demand from clients for our unique capabilities,” particularly those that relate viewing to other behaviors, including what car they drive, how they vote, and what they buy in stores.
To support its TV business comScore is building a new data processing system.
“While its’ going to take some time to complete this, we believe it will significantly improve and enhance our existing standalone television product while also providing both household and personal level metrics, along with what we call these advanced demographics our client have come to love and demand,” Fulgoni said.
“This system, it’s being built from the ground up and it will also provide them powerful and flexible production of personal level audience data for both our standalone television and cross platform products,” he said. “We think we we’re going to reap a competitive advantage over time by building this new data processing system and by not simply building on top of our legacy system.”
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