WPP Gets Rentrak Stake for Kantar Media Assets

Rentrak agreed to buy Kantar Media’s TV measurement assets in the U.S. from WPP for $98 million in Rentrak stock.

At the same time WPP’s media buying giant GroupM said it will buy TV audience measurement data from Rentrak.

Rentrak will integrate its measurement data into a number of Kantar’s services that focus on digital media, advertising expenditures and purchase data.

“This agreement is designed to help all of our U.S. agency and TV advertiser clients with new services in television measurement and consumer insights,” Rentrak’s vice chairman and chief executive officer Bill Livek said in a statement.

The transaction gives WPP a 12% stake in Rentrak. WPP is also buying $56 million in Rentrak stock from Rentrak, which will bring its ownership to 16.7%. WPP said it may also purchase Rentrak shares on the open market so long as its stake in Rentrak stays below 20%.

Rentrak said that between buying Kantar and doing business with GroupM, it expects to add $7 million to $9 million in revenue in fiscal 2016.

Rentrak, which competes with Nielsen, said GroupM’s agencies will begin using Rentrak’s services to help guide its media planning and buying in the U.S. Rentrak says it now works with all of the largest agency holding companies.

“The proliferation of channels has so significantly fragmented audiences that legacy sample methodology simply can’t keep up,” Irwin Gotlieb, global chairman of GroupM, said in a statement. “Television measurement needs to move toward census-based methodology. Our agencies are doing such refined targeting and segmentation, and that work can only be supported by census data. It is our hope that we can act as catalysts in moving the industry toward greater data reliability and accountability.”

Rino Scanzoni, GroupM’s chief investment officer in North America, added that “integrating consumer data with granular TV viewing requires a broad database to measure consistency and predictability. Utilizing Rentrak data will be strategically important as we further refine TV targeting to deliver more precision and accountability, increasing the medium’s effectiveness and value to our clients.”

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.