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Univision, Tribune Media, Fox Stations Join to Devise Alternate Local TV Audience Measure

Fox Television Stations, Tribune Media and Univision Communications have started NewCoin LLC, a new data venture aimed at creating an alternative to measuring local audiences across TV and digital media.

The companies said they would start an initial test in the Dallas area, before attempting to take the new service to other markets. Members of the local ad community will be sought to provide input and development.

Nielsen, the dominant provider of TV ratings in the U.S., declined to comment.

The companies are working with Timeline Labs, a company that helps media outlets analyze social-media messages in real-time. Timeline is expected to use technology provided by SeaChange International, a software company that helps companies provide video services across multiple devices.

The pact comes as more media companies cast about for new ways to measure audiences who are not watching TV programming in linear fashion. In June, Fox-owned stations tapped Rentrak, a provider of audience-measurement services, to gain more insight into local-audience viewership. At the Fox said it expected the deal to “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,” according to a statement from Jack Abernethy, chief executive of Fox Television Stations.

Executives from the different companies suggested the new efforts could lead to alternatives for media companies. “We’re taking a clean slate approach to fix the current ratings system’s inability to measure the full TV audience. Meaningful innovation can result from the collaboration of new technologies and data sources. Everyone at Timeline is pleased to be working with partner broadcasters and a multiscreen enabler like SeaChange to develop a comprehensive audience measurement solution,” said Malcolm CasSelle, chief executive of Timeline Labs.

“We believe the NewCoin initiative could lead to a much-needed accurate and comprehensive audience measurement solution across all platforms,” said Larry Wert, president, Tribune Media.

“We know our Hispanic audiences are driving media use on linear and digital platforms and are pleased to work with Timeline Labs to develop a much-needed tool to effectively capture total media consumption,” stated Kevin Cuddihy, president of local media for Univision.

“We are glad to be partnering with Timeline Labs and expect that what works in Dallas will move to other local markets,” said Fox’s Abernethy.

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