Mar 2, 2022 - Economy & Business

iSpot.tv acquires analytics company Tunity

Illustration of an upwards trending line graph pushing off a smart tv screen
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

TV measurement company iSpot.tv has acquired Tunity, an analytics company that specializes in tracking out-of-home (OOH) TV viewership.

Why it matters: Tunity's tech for measuring OOH TV viewership, which is crucial for big tentpole events, strengthens iSpot.tv's position as an alternative to traditional measurement providers. Last year, Nielsen admitted to undercounting OOH due to a software issue.

  • "The missing piece out of all of that, where there's significant consumption of TV, is out of home. Really nobody has solved that," iSpot.tv CEO and founder Sean Muller tells Axios.
  • This deal is iSpot.tv's third acquisition in 14 months, having previously acquired Ace Metrix, which measures ads' consumer sentiment, and DRMetrix, which specializes in serving direct-to-consumer and direct-response TV advertisers.
  • "You can assume it's probably not going to be the last one," Muller said of the Tunity acquisition.

Details: Muller declined to disclose how much the deal is worth, but said it was a combination of cash and stock.

  • Bellevue, Wash.-based iSpot.tv has raised $59 million and is reportedly seeking new funding. "We're looking at all the things that help us invest more aggressively," Muller said.
  • Tunity raised $16 million in funding, including a $12 million Series A round in 2018 that included new investor MGM Resorts International and existing investors former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack and WeWork founder Adam Neumann.
  • Tunity's 10 employees will join iSpot.tv's 320 employees, and the company will keep its office in Tel Aviv.

How it works: Tunity owns an app that lets consumers listen to the live audio of muted TVs in public places like bars, restaurants, gyms and offices. Tunity can then measure and analyze that OOH TV viewing.

  • That app helps solve a measurement issue where publishers could count someone watching TV on their phone at a bar but miss the person next to them viewing a 60-inch screen, said Paul Lindstrom, Tunity's head of research and analytics.
  • "The reality is digital measures video; television measures audio," said Lindstrom, who worked at Nielsen for nearly 40 years. "There's a systematic bias against linear TV because not all exposure counts."

The big picture: TV companies have been testing new measurement vendors amid the rise of streaming and concerns with Nielsen.

  • NBCUniversal piloted iSpot.tv as an alternate partner for this year's Olympics and the Super Bowl.
  • WarnerMedia announced it is testing iSpot.tv, Comscore and VideoAmp.
  • Disney signed a deal with Samba TV.

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