Sorenson Acquisition Boosts Nielsen’s Addressable Ad Biz

Nielsen said that after acquiring Sorenson Media, it is launching Nielsen Advanced Video Advertising, an initiative that will at first focus on delivering addressable advertising to smart TVs.

With many companies now providing bits and pieces of the data and technology needed to deliver addressable advertising, Nielsen said it is now uniquely positioned to tie all the elements together at scale between Sorenson’s technology and the automated content recognition capabilities of its Gracenote unit.

“It’s clear that a significant portion of TV advertising will be addressable long into the future,” said David Kenny, CEO of Nielsen. “With the continued evolution of our Total Audience measurement, underpinned by decades of trust, transparency and independence, it was evident that we needed to bring our unique set of technology assets and talent to tackle the greatest challenges the TV advertising industry is facing. And with the Sorenson Media acquisition, we can create improved value and efficiency across the entire media chain - from ad targeting and delivery to measurement and attribution - and make addressable TV more of a reality."

The ad business is moving away from the traditional demographic ratings Nielsen has long provided. And while the industry has pushed Nielsen to measure media consumption on new platforms and devices, the company has been investing in technology it says will make it indispensable in a world where advertising is targeted to more specific and strategic audiences.

Nielsen said it is now able to use it experience in TV measurement to ensure that every addressable TV ad is transacted in a way that is transparent and optimized in terms of its value to the TV industry.

“We are excited to partner with others in the industry to make addressability a reality,” said Kelly Abcarian, general manager of Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising Group. “Nielsen has the experience and technology to help expand a scalable industry-wide, end-to-end addressable TV advertising solution. And, we can provide a measurement solution that innovates on current approaches with a bridge to the future.”

Nielsen previously has announced being able to target audiences using smart TV data in the Nielsen Marketing Cloud. It also launched a five-market addressable TV pilot test with two smart TV makers and networks including CBS, A+E Networks and AMC Networks.

Sorenson’s technology will be added to the next phase of the pilot program, along with additional programmers, Nielsen said.

Nielsen, under pressure from shareholders, is in the middle of a strategic review that could result in some or all of its businesses being sold.

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.