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1 June 2017

Samba peps up US Kantar digital ad research with smart TV numbers

Samba TV in the US has fallen into a partnership with Kantar Millward Brown, part of Kantar, the research arm for WPP, the largest advertising agency in the world. Samba will merge results from its 13.5 million US smart TVs with Kantar’s PC and mobile audience measurement system. The plan is to boldly oust Nielsen in US audience measurement.

Nielsen has dragged its heels in creating a single service which can evaluate both TV advertising and digital advertising due partly to widespread disagreement in how this can be achieved without undervaluing one or the other. Kantar has built its reputation for data in the digital space, and only in March announced an expansion to its Ignite Network – which it calls a brand marketing analytics platform, that expansion making it the largest US mobile panel with 3 million panelists.

Samba comes at audience measurement more by accident than design, creating a software platform, initially designed to recommend content on smart TVs, based on what people have watched. However, anonymizing that data and collecting summaries of it has created a powerful platform on Smart TVs which can be turned quite easily to audience measurement.

A smart TV system can both measure what is playing on the TV as a broadcast or what is being delivered over the internet, and report on both of them.

Elsewhere Kantar works as much with Nielsen as against it, for instance in India, it has created a monopoly in audience measurement called Meterology, which is a joint venture between BARC India and TAM India  where TAM India is owned by Nielsen and WPP, managed by Kantar.

ComScore has been chasing a similar opportunity in the US, by acquiring Rentrak in October 2015 – when anti Nielsen grumblings first surfaced from one or two of the major US broadcast networks.

More recently comScore has contributed to brand safety work at Google and helping Roku offer demographic guarantees for advertisers, after Roku has previously partnered with Nielsen. And last year comScore announced 8 separate programmatic design wins against Nielsen, for its Bid Ratings platform.

Nielsen has been desperately trying to re-assert itself as the leader in TV viewing measurement, and earlier this year unveiled its new out of home TV viewership service, signing ESPN and Turner as the first networks to use it for sports ratings.

Nielsen also bought Gracenote in the dying days of 2016, to drive ads, acquiring the TV and movie metadata and music tracking business from Tribune Media, paying $560 million for it in cash.

This gives it the type of capability that the Samba TV deal gives Kantar, if it decides to harness it that way. Other audience recognition technology players like Flyswipe and Shazam, may suddenly become the focus in partnerships or mergers.

Kantar Millward Brown said this week that its partnership with Samba TV will result in the most precise single-source measurement for TV advertising effectiveness.

The two companies said that the new combined system could answer questions like, “Which elements of the TV ad campaign are most successful?”
And “How does the campaign benchmark against the industry?”

“Our clients have been clamoring for verified passive data in linear TV ad effectiveness measurement for quite some time. We’re thrilled to partner with Samba to address this need and bring to market a solution that is precise, scalable, and privacy compliant,” said Marc Ryan, Chief Product & Innovation Officer, Media & Digital at Kantar Millward Brown.

“TV is no longer an island operating with a different set of tools than the rest of the media industry. Marketers need to understand reach and frequency across platforms and how that exposure to all forms of activation impacts brand, in one integrated research platform,” said Ashwin Navin, CEO and co-founder of Samba TV. “In partnership with Kantar Millward Brown, we now offer clients a powerful approach for measuring TV and digital advertising within a holistic methodology trusted by the world’s largest brands.”

Just off the wires is news that comScore has announced a deal with Charter to integrate Charter’s aggregated and anonymized TV audience data into comScore’s TV measurement service. This includes all Charter Spectrum markets added from its transactions with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, as well as viewing information from Charter’s Spectrum TV Everywhere application. This now allows comScore’s TV measurement services to cover 35 million homes and 75 million TVs.