Comscore, a longtime rival to Nielsen in the business of measuring media audiences, is vowing to keep pace as advertisers seek new ways of counting viewers who watch their favorite shows in a dizzying array of new formats.
Comscore said it would launch “Comscore Everywhere,” a measurement product that aims to count unduplicated audiences across various media and screens. The company, which expects to add new phases to the product throughout 2022, does so as Nielsen is working on a similar initiative, all part of a large-scale move by the media and advertising industries to use new technology to tabulate audience is more precise fashion and with more discrete methods.
“Consumers don’t think in terms of linear versus streaming versus digital — they think of content,” said David Algranati, Comscore’s chief product officer, in a statement. “Measurement must reflect that reality.” At the heart of Comscore’s new offering is a bid to create a common “audience definition” using a single set of data. Comscore, which acquired the social-media analytics firm Shareablee last year, intends to use that to include social metrics in its efforts.
Nielsen has long dominated this business, but that company has been under intense scrutiny for months. TV networks have accused the company of not counting audiences accurately and the Media Rating Council, an industry body that scrutinizes measurement methodologies, has taken away its backing of Nielsen’s local and national ratings. As Nielsen works to renew its ties with the industry, a host of rivals and upstarts have begun to form partnerships with the networks and various media agencies, giving rise to the notion that the industry may start to rely on multiple kinds of audience measurement in its deals with advertisers both large and small.
For its part, Nielsen has acknowledged it needs to move faster, and has vowed to launch a new “Nielsen One” technology that counts viewers across screens. The company is also overhauling its commercial ratings, the bedrock element of most big TV-ad deals. Nielsen recently announced an effort that will have Disney, Interpublic Group’s Magna, and others testing its Nielsen One, which isn’t expected to be fully implemented until later in the year.
Comscore said it intends to work with partners to refine its methodology in months to come, and expects to combine audience measurement across linear television, connected TV, digital and social media, giving advertisers the ability to gauge reach and frequency and to monitor narrower segments of consumers.