Nielsen buys Gracenote in bid to boost audience measurement capabilities

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Nielsen announced it is buying media data company Gracenote from Tribune Media for $560 million.

By bringing Gracenote's capabilities into its measurement framework, Nielsen says that Gracenote’s capabilities will give Nielsen deeper analytics on consumer behavior and offer new views of audience engagement from discovery to consumption. Nielsen will integrate Gracenote’s metadata into its Total Audience measurement framework and Gracenote's long-term client relationships across TV, audio, sports and auto will be “further amplified through Nielsen's global reach and position as the leader in audience measurement and intelligence,” according to a news release.

The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2017.

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"Gracenote's metadata and content recognition technology fuels the interfaces of the major video, music and in-car infotainment systems that consumers engage with every day. This acquisition provides Nielsen with a significant asset in our mission of measuring and understanding consumer behavior," said Karthik Rao, president of Expanded Verticals at Nielsen, in a statement.

"For the past decade, Gracenote has connected millions of people every day to the TV shows, sports, movies and music they love, making entertainment more accessible and discoverable," said Gracenote CEO John Batter in a statement. "We are excited for the opportunity to take the next step with Nielsen and expand our global reach by continuing to deliver innovative, insights-based solutions to clients."

RELATED: Nielsen's troubles mount as NBCU takes shot at its new measurement product

For Nielsen, the acquisition and the promise of enhanced viewership data that it holds comes at a time when the firm finds itself fending off accusations that its methodologies are outdated and that its efforts to update them are incomplete.

Recently, NBCUniversal approached Nielsen regarding concerns over Nielsen’s upcoming Total Content Ratings.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sale at NBCUniversal, sent a letter to the ratings agency calling the new product “incomplete and inconsistent” because of limited involvement from pay-TV operators and incomplete OTT measurement, which leaves out major services like Hulu.

Nielsen fired back in defense of its ongoing work.

“Since January 2016, Nielsen has been working with publishers through various implementations of the components of Total Content Ratings and Digital Content Ratings. Currently, dozens of TV and digital media brands are enabled for TV, VOD or digital measurement inside of Nielsen’s Total Audience measurement framework,” said Nielsen in a statement provided to the Journal. “We continue to enhance and refine our product with ongoing updates as we work with clients during this period of evaluation.”

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