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Comscore

Audience Measurement Consolidates As ComScore Closes $768M Rentrak Acquisition

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Some more consolidation in the online measurement and analytics space: today comScore has announced that it has closed its $767.7 million deal to acquire Rentrak in an all-stock deal that brings together Rentrak’s TV and cinema audience tracking business with comScore’s business covering Internet and mobile audiences to better compete against the likes of Nielsen.

The deal was first announced in September 2015, and in the wake of the news, comScore also sold another division, its Digital Analytix business, to Adobe as it continued to streamline its operations.

The two companies will operate under the comScore brand.

The deal will give comScore more firepower and coverage to compete against the likes of Nielsen in the world of cross-platform audience traffic measurement, with Rentrak bringing reach across television and cinema — 125,000 screens in 64 countries; and 37 million TVs — with comScore’s reach on digital platforms. It says some 2,500 clients pay it fees to get reporting data on traffic on both web and mobile platforms, although comScore combs and provides stats on thousands more properties as well.

“This merger brings together two great entrepreneurial companies that invented their respective fields and their respective trusted currencies,” said Serge Matta, CEO of comScore, in a statement. “Both have been driven to create innovative technology platforms that use massive data scale to measure increasingly fragmented consumer behavior. Together these two principal architects of the multiscreen future will deliver the cross-platform currencies that have been demanded for so long.”

Together, the two say they will be able to provide data in over 75 countries, with 260 million desktop screens, 160 million mobile phone screens, 95 million tablet screens, 40 million television screens, 120 million video-on-demand screens, and 40,000 movie theater screens representing well over a hundred million movie-goers in the U.S. specifically.

The merger is a sign of the times, with advertisers and publishers demanding ever more data about what people are doing online — information that’s used to build advertising campaigns as well as wider content strategies. Increasingly, measurement has taken a cross-platform turn.

“The cross-platform world is changing rapidly and this change demands relentless inventiveness, agility, and collaborative intelligence,” said Matta. “These are qualities on which both companies have built their success. This proven ability to precisely measure extremely fragmented, dynamic audiences in dramatic, innovative ways — and to quickly report on it — has provided the insights that allow our clients to act with great competitive advantages.”

It will be interesting to see what kind of a knock-on effect this will have in the analytics space, where we are also seeing something of a shakedown at the moment, with layoffs at firms like MixpanelLocalytics and Urban Airship.

Meanwhile, the push for cross-platform measurement is driving some other M&A: just today the Norwegian carrier Telenor announced that it acquired the majority of Tapad, an ad tech startup that measures audiences across various platforms, in a $360 million deal.

Updated with current value of deal based on share price.