Rentrak Redefines Names Of TV Measurement Services After Industry Questions

Rentrak, an emerging player in the quest to provide better measurement for TV viewers, said Wednesday it would use new descriptions for two of its products after consulting with an industry group that monitors standards for such efforts.

The company had previously described its national and local television-measurement services as “census like,” but the Media Rating Council “did not believe the word ‘census’ was an accurate description for our TV services,” said Bill Livek, chief executive of Rentrak, in an interview. “The MRC wanted precision in the definition and they were absolutely correct to ask for that.”

The Media Rating Council is an industry group that monitors and audits ratings-service operations.

Rentrak has in the past few months struck deals with CBS Corp. and Fox’s owned-and-operated TV stations to provide audience-measurement data. There is speculation that some media companies believe the presence of a competitor in the market gives them leverage with Nielsen, which is the dominant source of audience data and whose analytics form the basis of how TV is bought and sold by advertisers and TV networks.

Rentrak said its total television service measures more than 13 million “return-path” TV homes and 29 million televisions, provided by a number of multichannel video programming distributors, allowing for reporting in more than 99% of residential Zip codes. By 2015, Rentrak estimates it will have approximately 26 million TV homes and almost 60 million TVs providing viewing data.

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