Digital measurement firm comScore is acquiring set-top box data measurement specialist Rentrak in an all-stock, share-for-share merger that could set venerable TV ratings firm Nielsen back on its heels.
Nielsen has already been casting nervous glances at the two measurement firms. ComScore, which has a market valuation of $1.7 billion, and Rentrak, valued at $697 million, are much smaller than Nielsen but got a head-start in digital measurement. Now, as more and more providers are shifting their content to OTT, demand is greater than ever for accurate measurement of both online and linear broadcast audiences. Nielsen has responded by adding social media engagement and other digitally-focused measurement efforts, but the combined powers of Rentrak and comScore could unseat the ratings giant. The Wall Street Journal has more here, and read the official announcement here.