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Rentrak is gaining traction with its enhanced TV ratings services thanks to new deals with Fox Television Stations and Sony Pictures TV.

Fox TV Stations on Wednesday said it has signed to Rentrak’s local TV ratings service that gathers data from digital sources such as cable and satellite TV set-top boxes. Sony Pictures TV earlier this month signed on for Rentrak’s measurement service for syndicated TV shows.

Fox is hoping the detailed local market data will enhance its sales pitch to key advertisers including political ad buyers. Fox’s O&O group spans 28 stations and 18 markets.

“We are happy to have immediate access to Rentrak’s Advanced Demographics data. More importantly, we expect this will accelerate the long overdue progress toward an accurate digital measuring system in local TV, one based on a census, not estimates, and one that measures all screens,” said Fox TV Stations CEO Jack Abernethy.

Rentrak still has a long way to go to challenge the primacy of Nielsen ratings as the currency that drive advertising sales. But networks and studios have long been frustrated with what are seen as shortcomings in Nielsen’s methodologies and technological systems. At a time when viewing habits are changing dramatically, programmers are looking for any tool to help provide better measurement of disparate viewing and more detailed household demographic data.

“We are excited to welcome Fox as the first owned and operated network TV group to go ‘all-in’ with Rentrak,” said Rentrak vice chairman and CEO Bill Livek.

Sony’s deal with Rentrak will provide the studio with access to data on syndicated programs from all 210 television markets across the country.

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