ComScore Shares Plunge After Co. Delays Filing Annual Report

ComScore, the company that seeks to vie with Nielsen in the field of measuring audiences for TV shows and more, may have a metrics problem of its own.

The company said Monday that it had delayed the filing of its annual report due to a need to review certain “accounting matters” that it did not detail in a press release. ComScore, which recently merged with Rentrak, another company that provides detail on the makeup of content audiences, said it had also delayed a presentation it was scheduled to make to investors on March 16 and suspended a previously announced share repurchase program.

Shares of the Reston, Virginia, company fell more than 30% in trading earlier Monday. The stock recently traded at $27.72, down $12.99 a share, on heavy volume of 6.39 million. Average volume is 1.06 million.

The disclosure comes after the company in February unveiled ambitious plans. During a call with investors on February 17, ComScore CEO Serge Maata indicated the company would have new “cross-platform” measures available to clients by April, just before the large part of haggling for TV’s upfront market begins in earnest.

The rankings, which would be disclosed monthly, will gather information about viewers who watch video on linear TV, via broadband service and on streaming video. Maata suggested the new service would have pent-up demand: Cross-platform measurement, he said, represents a new opportunity “where no one truly has market share. ComScore is focused on being No. 1 in this new category.”

Maata also said ComScore intended to launch a new syndicated service by the fall that would measure cross-platform viewing and would be available on a daily basis.

ComScore said Monday that its audit committee “received a message regarding certain potential accounting matters,” but declined to elaborate. The company said it “continues to work vigorously with its independent counsel and advisors to complete its internal review as soon as possible,” and will not comment further until its review is complete.

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