Viacom Ad Deals Using comScore Data

Viacom has done a larger-than-expected number of data-driven ad deals based on its Viacom Vantage product and more than half of those will use data from comScore rather than Nielsen.

comScore acquired Rentrak last year boosting its TV measurement capabilities and making it more of a competitor to Nielsen, which has dominated the ratings business.

Viacom has complained that Nielsen ratings do not capture some of the consumption by young viewers who are increasingly using digital devices rather than TVs.

During Viacom's earnings call with analysts, CEO Philippe Dauman called the increasing reliance on comScore a "welcome change."

Dauman had predicted that the number of markets using Vantage would triple to about 33. Following the upfront, he said Viacom expected to close 35 to 40 Vantage deals.

In the upfront, Viacom registered price and volume increases in the high single digits as advertisers shifted spending to the upfront rather than wait on scatter, Dauman said.

Neilsen responded to Viacom's preference for comScore with a statement from Megan Clarken, president, product leadership.

"There are myriad analytics options for the media industry, but Nielsen’s focus is on delivering the actual currency ratings data used for trading billions of dollars in advertising. Analytics data and currency ratings data are two fundamentally different things. In order to produce industry-standard cross-platform ratings used as currency for trading, you must be representative of the total U.S. population, measure advertising for TV and digital in a comparable way, provide overnight reporting, represent linear TV ratings, produce individual persons demographics and be MRC accredited. Nielsen is the only company that meets these requirements," Clarken said. "Nielsen takes the friction out of the market by using comparable metrics across the industry. There is an important role for third party independent measurement to play and that is to create consistency across media and to validate a transaction without any bias."

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.