Gray Moves to Comscore From Nielsen in More Markets

Gray Television, which completed its acquisition of Raycom, is expanding the number stations using Comscore as its ad sales currency rather than Nielsen.

Gray said it will be using Comscore in all of the stations it owned before the acquisition and that the majority of stations that had been owned by Raycom will be doing that as well, effective Jan. 1.

Raycom stations using Comscore include its two largest, WOIO-TV, Cleveland, and WAVE-TV Louisville.

“Through our use of Comscore in a number of markets in recent years, we saw first-hand the accuracy and stability of Comscore’s local TV currency,” said Bob Smith, chief operating officer, local media, at Gray.

“In fact, when polled, our general managers in all 57 legacy Gray markets made clear they preferred Comscore as their trusted currency – so it was an easy decision to shift all these markets to Comscore,” Smith said. “We also have been very pleased with the agency reaction to our decision, which confirms the growing industry confidence in Comscore’s measurement methodologies both now and in the future.”

With the acquisition of Raycom, Gray operates television stations in 91 U.S. markets. Comscore is the exclusive ratings currency for 80 of them.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Just before the end of the year, Raycom signed a new agreement with Nielsen covering stations in 10 of its markets.

The stations covered by the agreement are WBTV, Charlotte; WBRC, Birmingham; WXIX, Cincinnati; WMC, Memphis; WVUE, New Orleans; WWBT/WUPV, Richmond; WFLX, West Palm Beach; WSCS, Charleston, S.C.; WFVS/WQWQ, Paducah-Cape Girardeau-Harrisburg; KOLD, Tucson and WWSB, Tampa-St. Pete-Sarasota.

“We are thrilled to grow our relationship with Gray across its growing footprint,” said Steve Walsh, executive VP of local markets at Comscore. “Partners like Gray see the benefits of a modern currency, one that helps them grow their businesses in a cross-platform world, and we are excited to advance our partnership with those with progressive growth mindsets.”

Gray’s decision to shift to Comscore comes at a time when CBS has let its Nielsen contract lapse.

Comscore has been competing with Nielsen in the local ratings market since it acquired Rentrak in 2016.

But the company’s momentum was stalled when accounting issues were discovered in its financial statements later than year. For near. For more than two years, the company was involved in a re-audit. Its stock was delisted, top executives departed and it has reported a string of quarterly losses.

More recently it has announced new management and introduced some new cross-platform measurement products.

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.