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ComScore Expects To Launch Cross-Platform Video Measures In Time For TV Upfront

ComScore vowed to roll out new systems to count video viewers across TVs, tablets, desktop computers and more – all in time for the media industry’s critical upfront season, when TV networks try to sell the bulk of their ad time to Madison Avenue.

As such, the company indirectly positioned itself as a competitor to Nielsen, the dominant media-measurement concern. ComScore, best known for measuring consumer Web activity, recently merged with Rentrak, which measures video-on-demand, movie box office and set-top box data that tell how people watch TV.

Speaking on a call with investors Wednesday, ComScore CEO Serge Maata said the company would have new “cross-platform” measures available to clients by April, just before the large part of upfront haggling 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. And he 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.”

He appeared to take issue with Nielsen’s dominance of TV ratings during the discussion. “In many ways, it comes down simply to match, not simple math. You can’t just total up audience starting with the TV base,” he said.

Nielsen, for its part, is also trying to claw its share of a market changed by new technologies. 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.

“There are myriad analytics options for the media industry, but Nielsen’s focus is on delivering the actual currency ratings data used for trading billions of dollars in advertising,” said Megan Clarken, president of product leadership at Nielsen, in a prepared statement. ” We welcome competition across the marketplace, and as the global leader in total audience measurement, we remain laser-focused on delivering industrial strength, superior quality, and gold-standard audited processes and methods to the industry.“

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

[Updated, 9:03 AM PT, 2/17/16]

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