Tribune, Fox, Capitol Invest $5M in Share Rocket

Share Rocket, a company that measures social media in local markets, has raised $5 million in funding from investors led by Tribune Media. Fox Television Stations and Capitol Broadcasting also participated.

The company said the funds will be used to enable it to expand to provide its service in additional markets nationwide.

Share Rocket already works for all of the stations owned by Tribune, Fox and Capitol Broadcasting. Tribune previously participated in Share Rocket’s seed round of financing. Its first TV client was the ABC station group. It also works for the Hearst Television’s stations.

Chris Kraft, CEO of Share Rocket, says the company has been focusing on measuring social media in local markets for the past 2½  years.

“Local broadcasters are really under-represented with the tools that were out there,” he said. Share Rocket provides a local-market based competitive ranking tool that measures the share of social media usage and engagement.

Social media is becoming an increasingly important part of broadcasters’ business. Initially it was used as a marketing tool to drive awareness for stations. Now it’s being used to generate traffic for station websites and to build on-air viewership as well.

“We’ve participated in some research that showed pretty high correlations between Share Rocket scores and TV ratings,” Kraft said.

Higher ratings mean higher revenues for stations.

“Media buyers are used to buying on impressions and video views. One of the things that is unique to the social platform is you have this third element which we call engagement, which is people actually interacting with the content and sharing,” he said. “We want to help advertisers that are looking for more engaged audiences and give them a way to measure that attention.”

Share Rocket measures both the stations’ overall social media audience, as well as the audiences for sub-brands, such as its weathercasts, sports reports, morning shows and even individual anchors and reporters who do social media for the station.

Kraft said Share Rocket is working on a new tool that will help stations sell advertising by identifying consumers who buy specific products and brands.

Share Rocket began selling its product to stations at the NAB conference in 2015.

“The cultural and business influence of traditional media has dramatically extended to the world of engagement within social,” said Larry Wert, president, Tribune Broadcast Media. “Share Rocket has become the trusted benchmark of comparative ratings that allows us to measure and monitor the reach and influence of our content, our journalists and our stations overall. Our investment in Share Rocket is a testament to our collective vision of the strategic importance of understanding, measuring and managing the value of our rapidly growing social audiences.”

Fox saw 30% increases in engagement and share of view shorting after installing Share Rocket’s scoreboard in its stations, Kraft said..

“Share Rocket has become the standard rating system for comparative social influence with the real strategic value on capturing insight on the behavior of attention in today’s digital and social driven economy,” said Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations. “All effective businesses are managed by understanding the influence and engagement with their customers and markets, and Share Rocket has become the new cornerstone rating system for the broadcast industry.”

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.