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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

Updated 12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Biden delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the Capitol. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: The Celebrate America event, with remarks by Biden and Harris.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

President Biden faces a deeply broken America

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As President Biden begins his term in office today, he'll be tasked with leading a country beset with deep, long-term problems.

Why it matters: Though the pandemic has made them worse, existential challenges around inequality, social alienation and political division in the U.S. were in place well before SARS-CoV-2 arrived on American shores. The country's future will depend in large part on whether the choices made over the next four years can flatten the curve of American decline.

Facebook, Instagram transfer accounts, followers to Biden administration

Screenshot of official White House Facebook account.

Facebook on Wednesday confirmed that it is transferring the millions of followers of the official Facebook and Instagram White House accounts to the Biden administration.

Details: The accounts for "@POTUS," "@VicePresident" ("@VP" on Instagram) and "@FLOTUS" are having the followers from their personal Pages and accounts be transferred over. It's unclear when that transition process will be complete.