3. Exclusive: NBC stations sign with Comscore to measure local TV
The NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations (OTS) division has signed a multi-year contract with Comscore to provide measurement for its 40 local broadcast networks owned and operated by NBC and Telemundo.
Why it matters: It's the latest local broadcast deal to close with Comscore amid pressure to explore new types of TV measurement that extends beyond linear TV consumption that has been traditionally measured by Nielsen.
- Gray, Nexstar and Scripps have all also signed with Comscore in the past few months.
Yes, but: NBCUniversal, the parent company to the OTS division, isn't ditching Nielsen entirely. It uses Nielsen data to power both its measurement suite called CFlight and its digital TV consortium called Open AP. OTS will use both vendors to paint a better picture of how its content is being consumed.
Details: Beginning Tuesday, all NBC and Telemundo-owned stations across the country will use Comscore’s linear TV measurement, as well as its local mobile and insights calculations to measure performance.
- They'll also use Comscore’s automotive, political and consumer targeting segments to measure performance among those sectors to clients.
- The division has been testing Comscore for several years in some markets, says Comerford.
The big picture: The battle between Nielsen and Comscore has been heating up over the past year to better measure how TV is consumed across a variety of platforms.
How it works: Advertisers want to be able to target TV ads with the same precision that they can target ads digitally, especially on big platforms like Google and Facebook.
- Nielsen offers more detailed TV measurement that includes the details and demographics of individuals, but for a smaller sample of people. It uses those measurements to forecast what a larger number of people consume.
- Comscore uses a much bigger and broader set of household television viewership through set-top box data, but it can't measure which person in a room exactly saw a show.
What they're saying: Advertising executives tell Axios they are relying on both companies at this point to create a full picture.
- Omnicom Media Group chief research officer Jonathan Steuer: "For local, a wide set of data is particularly important. With the level of granularity that Comscore is offering, which includes a lot more households, you can make better advertising decisions."
- Comscore CEO Bryan Wiener: "These station groups are saying Comscore ratings are more predictable and stable because sample size is much higher for their cross-platform viewership projections."
- Nielsen Watch President Megan Clarken tells Axios in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show: "Advertisers know that Comscore isn't a viable alternative. It's there as a point of leverage, but they're not going to move away from us."
NBCUniversal, through Comcast, is an investor in Axios.