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Expand chart
Data: Yahoo! Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

Comscore and Nielsen, two of the biggest providers of media measurement and analytics, have seen their stocks sink over the past week after separate reports of corporate drama.

The big picture: The media measurement market has gotten more complicated as the analog world reckons with digital, putting more pressure on companies to invest in innovation, which can be costly and controversial.

Nielsen stock was down roughly 10% Friday after the New York Post reported that private-equity giant Blackstone Group was bowing out of the bidding process.

  • Sources tell The Post that Nielsen's debt load was the reason Blackstone backed out of its bid.
  • Nielsen, which has been around for nearly 100 years, has struggled to keep its consumer insights business growing, since many of its biggest retail and packaged goods clients have slashed costs. As a result, it's reportedly been looking to sell for upwards of $10 billion.

Comscore stock was down roughly 30% after CEO Bryan Wiener and President Sarah Hofstetter — both of whom came to Comscore less than a year ago from media agency 360i — abruptly stepped down, citing irreconcilable differences with the company's board.

  • Comscore, which has taken on the role as the leader in digital measurement and Nielsen's biggest rival, has been plagued by corporate drama.

Between the lines: The media industry has been rooting for Comscore's success, in part to provide market competition to TV measurement rival Nielsen, which has been criticized for not having the market pressure to innovate fast.

  • But while Comscore has made gains in cross-platform measurement and won several local TV contracts, the company has been plagued with bad corporate drama every time it seems to make some progress.
  • The company gutted its board in 2017 following a series of executive departures and after being removed from the Nasdaq exchange for delayed submissions of financial documents.
  • It announced that it was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018, after revealing that it overstated revenues by more than $127 million from 2013 to 2015.

Be smart: Sources say that the rift between Wiener and Hofstetter and the Comscore board were over what was best for the company versus what was safest.

  • Wiener had outlined a plan for several strategic investments last quarter in order to bring Comscore ahead of market rivals that the board thought were too costly given their goals to maximize short-term profits.

The bottom line: The ever-evolving nature of media is putting pressure on the companies that have made businesses out of measuring the media.

Go deeper

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

5 hours ago - World

Zelensky questions U.S. warnings of "imminent" invasion in Biden call

Biden and Zelensky at the White House last October. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a back-and-forth in their call this evening about just how "imminent" the threat of a Russian invasion might be, according to three sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Biden has said previously that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably "move in" to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that "an invasion could come at any time."