ComScore may have moved another inch in its effort to dominate the media industry’s yardstick.
ComScore, which in recent months has become more aggressive in its bid to unseat Nielsen as the predominant arbiter of measuring audiences around media content, said it will tap new metrics from software and analytics firm Adobe Systems. The effort is aimed at helping to measure consumption of video content across multiple screens, ranging from TVs to tablets.
“When people look at their audiences, they don’t have the entirety of the viewership,” said Manish Bhatia, chief product officer of ComScore, in an interview. “TV comes from one place. OTT comes from another,” he said, referring to so-called “over the top” content viewing that is done with streaming video and a broadband connection. “How many people are you reaching? It’s a basic question, but it becomes a very hard question for media companies to answer.”
The deal takes place just months after ComScore sold a suite of digital-analytic software to Adobe. Those properties were used to mine data related to user activity and demographics across multiple digital platforms.
By using the Adobe services, ComScore will be able to help marketers understand the number of video starts involved with a piece of content; average time spent watching; and rate of ad engagement. Content companies, meanwhile, will be able to use the insights to forecast how different kinds of video performs across platforms and particular audience segments
“This partnership with Adobe helps us to deliver even more precise insights to our clients about how, when and where consumers are interacting with content and ads,” said Serge Maata, chief executive of ComScore, in a prepared statement. “This will enable clients to make smarter buying decisions based not just on age and gender, but on advanced demographics.”
The partnership is the latest step from ComScore, which has made no secret of its desire to view with Nielsen in an increasingly complex media-measurement game. ComScore, best known for measuring web traffic, merged earlier this year with Rentrak, which measures audience for movies, TV and other types of entertainment across various viewing windows. Viacom recently announced it would use ComScore data in its efforts to build new packages for advertisers.
“We know that consumers are watching TV on every screen and platform, and measurement is catching up to capture that activity, but it’s still very complex,:” said Collen Fahey Rush, executive vice president and chief research officer of Viacom’ Media Networks, in a statement. The ComScore-Adobe pact, she said, “opens up and evolves the use of advanced currencies.”
Nielsen is also attempting to find new ways to evaluate today’s very complex audience. The media-measurement company is promoting what it calls a “total audience” measure that it thinks will help media companies count much of the audience that consumes video in new ways that are not always evaluated by the system that has for decades been used to establish ad deals between TV networks and their sponsors.
The measure is already available, and Nielsen executives say many of the nation’s biggest media companies are making adjustments to their systems so the new data can be incorporated. Nielsen expects to syndicate its total-audience data, or make information available in the marketplace for a wide range of media companies that can be examined by any of the companies as well as advertisers, by the end of the second quarter or early in the third quarter.