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Comscore’s Bill Livek Stakes Claim To Leadership With Big Data Measurement

Bill Livek of Comscore at TV Week
Comscore CEO Bill Livek (Image credit: JohnStaleyPhoto.com)

Taking Nielsen head on, Comscore CEO Bill Livek is declaring that his company represents the future of media measurement.

In an open letter published on Comscore’s website, Livek said “the marketplace is no longer willing to settle for a measurement source that relies on small panels to drive decision-making for a multibillion-dollar industry.“

Nielsen and Comscore have gone back and forth over the past couple of weeks, with Nielsen’s Molly Poppie, senior VP of data science, defending the importance of panels in an op-ed on Broadcasting+Cable’s website.

Comscore’s chief research officer Michael Vinson responded with an op-ed about the benefits of big data.

The argument comes at a time when the industry appears to be seriously considering alternatives to Nielsen, which has dominated the industry for decades. 

Also: Industry Seeks Alternatives After Nielsen Loses Seal of Approval

“Now, for the first time, buyers and sellers throughout the industry are in agreement: the outdated panel-dependent measurement that worked in decades past (and whose underreporting cost the industry billions) no longer serves the diverse needs of today’s modern media environment, Livek said in his open letter.

Livek was referring to the Media Rating Council confirming the industry complaint that Nielsen underreported TV viewing during the pandemic. The MRC followed up by suspending its accreditation of Nielsen’s national ratings service.

Nielsen is rolling out a new measurement system — Nielsen One — designed to measure viewing on all platforms in a manner that’s consistent and comparable. While utilizing big data from cable set top boxes, smart TVs and streaming devices, the new system will still have a panel at its heart.

“Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised at their admitted skepticism regarding the use of large-scale data, given the challenges they’ve had moving away from small panels with single digit response rates within their own service,” Livek said without actually naming his rival.

“For agencies and brands to conduct commerce with stations and national networks, a single language is required,“ he concluded. ”A language that speaks to a world in need of more than planning tools, but rather a stable, reliable, accurate cross-platform investment currency built with the future of audience measurement in mind. That language is Comscore.“