Warner Bros. Discovery signs deal with rival Nielsen VideoAmp startup

Discovery by Warner Bros. has signed an agreement with VideoAmp to measure its audience as an alternative data medium for advertisers, the companies announced Tuesday.

The deal is a significant moment for VideoAmp, a startup ad measurement platform that has recently grown its client roster ahead of this year. in advance in the spring, when TV networks are looking to secure long-term commitments from advertisers. Warner Bros. Discovery owns traditional television networks and streaming services.

The deal also gives Warner Bros. Discovery another set of data to provide advertisers at a time when the industry is considering alternatives to the legacy measurement firm. Nielsenwhich was put under the microscope for the covid pandemic when doubts arose regarding their measurement panels. Warner will use both Nielsen and VideoAmp.

Companies like Nielsen and VideoAmp provide viewership estimates and data that television networks and broadcasters use to sell spots for commercials. Nielsen’s measurement system is based on a panel of approximately 40,000 households that allows you to track what they watch. VideoAmp bases its data on the login information of the devices. Other competitors in the space include Comscore, as well as startups like iSpot.tv and Samba TV.

VideoAmp did not provide the length of its contract with Warner, but founder and CEO Ross McCray told CNBC that its deals with the media giant and others are long-term. videoamp also works with Disneywhich recently launched the ad-supported platform for Disney+, as well as TelevisaUnivision.

“Especially with Warner’s investment in broadcasting and with a portfolio of so many channels, WBD has a lot of opportunity,” McCray said. “We’re going to allow advertisers to properly package it cross-platform.”

The merger between Discovery and Warner Media closed in 2022, amassing a portfolio of television networks including Discovery Channel, TLC, TNT, TBS and others. the merged company plans to launch a revamped streaming platform in the spring, combining Discovery+ with Warner’s HBO Max.

The company has also been in the amid cutting costs while grappling with a heavy debt load derived from the merger. While WBD will continue to use Nielsen’s measurement services, the agreement with VideoAmp gives it another set of data and the possibility of a more cost-effective independent alternative for the future.

“Traditional media measurement has not kept pace with how consumers engage with streaming and linear content. As a result, these audiences have been underestimated and current measures no longer accurately reflect their true advertising value,” Andrea said. Zapata, director of advertising sales for Warner. research, measurement and information, in a press release.

Nielsen’s lock on TV viewership and ratings has spanned decades. However, Nielsen’s metrics came under scrutiny as concerns rose early in the pandemic regarding inaccuracies and irregularities in their measurement, according to media reports.

Nielsen Revealed undercounting issues in 2020, and has since lost its accreditation with the Media Rating Council, the industry body that verifies the measurement process. Nielsen’s status with the MRC remains suspended, according to recent reports. VideoAmp, which was founded in 2014, is also not accredited by the MRC.

Despite these issues, Nielsen remains the measurement giant in the room, working with major media companies. Streamers also work with Nielsen. AmazonPrime TV uses Nielsen for its Ratings for “Thursday Night Football”. When Netflix launched its ad-supported level last year, said its programming would be Nielsen ratedstarting sometime in 2023.

That is a turning point for the media industry, as cable cutting recently accelerated and media companies look to make streaming profitable. Streaming services have added profitable ad-supported options as subscriber growth slowed in 2022.

while there is around $60 billion to $70 billion spent annually In US linear TV advertising, according to Insider Intelligence, ad-run revenue is growing steadily. Advertising revenue for streaming services is expected to exceed $21 billion in 2023, up from nearly $17 billion in 2022, according to Insider Intelligence.

“We expect a significant change because the demand is there,” VideoAmp’s McCray said of the measurement industry.

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