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Dolans Buy AMG to Start Data Business

Kristin and James Dolan have acquired Analytics Media Group, which is being folded into a new audience measurement and analytics company called 605.

605—with Kristin Dolan, the former COO of Cablevision Systems, as founder and CEO and Ben Tatta, former president of Cablevision Media Sales, as cofounder and president—will focus on optimizing marketing and programming activities for clients in the media and entertainment industries.

Analytics Media Group, which was started to employ big data to manage ad spending for President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, is the first investment by Dolan Family Ventures, set up earlier this month by Kristin Dolan and her husband, James Dolan, former CEO of Cablevision, to acquire stakes in data, analytics and technology-based businesses.  

“Our experience in the industry tells us there are major gaps in audience measurement and television analytics in the current marketing and programming landscape,” said Kristin Dolan. “605 is creating a new generation of products and services to enhance media buying, planning, programming and audience targeting.”

605 has expertise in using set-top data, something pioneered at Cablevision, which the Dolan family sold to Altice USA for $17 billion earlier this year. Surprisingly, 605 does not have access yet to data from the 7 million Cablevision set-top boxes.

Kristin Dolan declined to say how much Dolan Family Ventures paid for Analytics Media Group and said other acquisitions were not imminent.

“Our goal is to focus on this one for a while. But it’s a burgeoning part of the industry, so we talk to people all the time,” she said.

In the measurement world, comScore acquired Rentrak and is using its set-top box data know-how to challenge Nielsen, the dominant measurement company.

Dolan said 605 isn’t out to compete with Nielsen and comScore.

“The big opportunity here is in getting insights as opposed to impressions, so it’s somewhat of a different business model for those companies,” she said, adding that 605 won’t be moving into the media sales business.

“Our goal is to develop very granular and very specific insights for clients and let them optimize their media buys based around the intelligence we can garner for them from utilizing their data and combining it with other data sets to give them census level insights,” Dolan said.

She added that 605 might also be able to work with MVPDs. “Knowing how to normalize and cleanse set-top-box data is something people are just starting to dip their toe into the water on. We have a lot of expertise doing that.”

605 is retaining several of AMG’s top executives, including Chauncey McLean, a founder and chief revenue officer of AMG, who becomes president of client solutions at 605; Gaurav Shirole, AMG’s founder and VP of product and client services; Chris Frommann, founder and VP of engineering; and Peter Foley, director of analytics.

Two of AMG’s founders, Jeff Link and Larry Grisolano are moving on to other ventures.

605 will continue to do political work, but it will focus more on media and entertainment.

AMG client Walmart will continue to work with 605.

“AMG is an outstanding partner whose pioneering use of data and powerful insights have been of real value to Walmart,” said Aaron Bernstein, senior director, insights & advocacy at Walmart. “We are really pleased for the team there and excited about the formation of 605, which has the potential to make AMG's solutions even stronger.”

Dolan said that Cablevision had been considering starting a data business for a long time, and that its code name was Data Co-Ventures. Now in starting a data analytics company, DCV wouldn’t work as a brand name so they went with 605, which is DCV in Roman numerals.

“As we chose it, 605s kept popping up everywhere. My son was born in June of ’05 and the 605 goes right by AMG’s office in Pasadena. It’s like an Easter egg brand name,” she said.

Jon Lafayette
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.