You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Media-Measurement Company Comscore Pays $5 Million Fraud Settlement

Comscore, a company that vies with Nielsen to measure media audiences for entertainment companies and advertisers, has paid a $5 million settlement related to charges it overstated revenue and made false statements about performance under a previous CEO.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that the company and its former CEO, Serge Matta, “agreed to cease-and-desist from future violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and to pay penalties of $5 million and $700,000, respectively.” Matta also agreed to reimburse Comscore $2.1 million representing profits from the sale of Comscore stock and other compensation.

“We are pleased to have settled this legacy issue with the SEC,” said Brent Rosenthal, chairman of Comscore’s board, in a statement. “In addition to our commitment to compliance and with this matter behind us, the Board and I remain fully focused on the business and are committed to further developing our unique data assets, differentiated data analytics, and strong brand equity.”

Comscore has grappled with the SEC probe since March of 2016.  The SEC said the company and Matta engaged “in a fraudulent scheme to overstate revenue by approximately $50 million.”

Investigators found that Matta had directed the company between February 2014 through February 2016 to enter into what it called “non monetary transactions” that would increase reported revenue. “Through these transactions, Comscore and a counterparty would negotiate and agree to exchange sets of data without any cash consideration,” the SEC said. “Comscore recognized revenue on these transactions based on the fair value of the data it delivered, which had been improperly increased in order to inflate revenue.”

The measurement firm has gained traction in recent years by positioning itself as an alternative to Nielsen, and has made inroads in both box-office tracking and measurement of local-TV audiences. At the same time, it has been buffeted by headwinds. In addition to the SEC investigation, Comscore has been seeking stability in its top office. In March, the company parted ways with its CEO, Bryan Wiener, and its president, Sarah Hofstetter, two well-known advertising executives. They had been brought in to bring calm to the corporation in the wake of the accounting imbroglio.

Comscore said that the SEC had considered its cooperation with the probe, as well as its decision to bring in a new management team.

Comscore and Matta did not admit to or deny the SEC findings.




More TV

  • Will Poulter attends a special screening

    'Lord of the Rings': Will Poulter No Longer Attached to Amazon Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Will Poulter will not be appearing in Amazon’s upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series after all, Variety has learned exclusively. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, scheduling conflicts will prevent the “Bandersnatch” and “Midsommar” actor from joining the show based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Variety had exclusively reported on Poulter’s [...]

  • Brockmire IFC Hank Azaria

    'Brockmire' to End With Season 4 on IFC

    IFC has announced that the fourth season of “Brockmire,” premiering March 2020, will be the Hank Azaria comedy’s last. As well as Azaria, the show’s stars Amanda Peet, Tyrel Jackson Williams and Katie Finneran are all returning for the final eight-episode send off.  Additionally, “The Flash” star Reina Hardesty is joining the cast. “I really [...]

  • Tamron HallRolling Stone's Women Shaping The

    Tamron Hall Talk Show Renewed for Second Season

    Tamron Hall is staying put in daytime syndication now that Walt Disney Television has renewed her eponymous talk show for a second season. “Tamron Hall” has been re-upped for a second season on stations covering 80% of U.S. TV households, including the eight ABC O&O stations covering New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other big [...]

  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Renewed for Season 4 at Amazon

    “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has been renewed for a fourth season at Amazon, Variety has learned. The news comes less than a week after the third season debuted, with the whole season dropping on the streamer on Dec. 6. The move comes as now surprise, however, given the critical success the show has enjoyed since [...]

  • Audra McDonald/Geena Davis

    Geena Davis and Audra McDonald to Be Honored at 35th Annual Artios Awards

    Geena Davis and Audra McDonald will be honored by the Casting Society of America (CSA) at the 35th Annual Artios Awards, the organization announced Thursday. Oscar winner and advocate Geena Davis will receive the Lynn Stalmaster Award for Career Achievement at the Los Angeles ceremony. Emmy, Grammy and Tony winner McDonald will be honored with [...]

  • Netflix Releases Explosive Final Trailer For

    Netflix Releases Explosive Final Trailer For 'The Witcher'

    Only eight days away from the series’ release, Netflix dropped the final trailer for its highly anticipated eight-episode first season of “The Witcher.” Best on Andrzej Sapkowski’s bestselling fantasy series of books, “The Witcher” stars Henry Cavill (“Justice League”) as monster hunter Geralt of Rivia, Freya Allan (“The War of the Worlds”) as the young [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content