Comscore points to local TV measurement as catalyst for growth

Comscore reported favorable results for the second quarter, as the company aims to position itself as a substantial alternative measurement currency. Comscore CEO Jon Carpenter emphasized the role of local markets in the audience measurement space.

“Our estimates are that the leading player in local measurement is somewhere between $400 million and $500 million in local measurement revenue today,” he said on Tuesday’s earnings call, predicting overall local ad spend is roughly around $24 billion.

Nielsen, the firm that’s traditionally provided the standard for audience measurement, has recently fallen under scrutiny for potentially unreliable ratings – particularly in local markets. While the company works to recuperate its credibility, alternative measurement currencies like Comscore’s are growing.

“Comscore has about 10% of that amount,” Carpenter continued. “The gap between our 10% and that $400 million to $500 million is significant in a near-term opportunity for us in a place we expect to win.”

Horizon Media in June announced it would begin testing the viability of Comscore’s data in local markets – leveraging Comscore’s granular audience data. Comscore earlier this year also secured an expanded partnership with Comcast’s EffecTV for local TV measurement.

Overall revenue for the second quarter amounted to $91.4 million – up 4% year on year from $87.7 million in Q2 2021. Comscore’s revenue in its cross-platform solutions business totaled $39.8 million – up from $35.2 million in the same period last year.

Comscore attributed the cross-platform product growth to both its local and national TV measurement as well as its movie measurement services.

Carpenter – who stepped up as CEO just last month – added he thinks Comscore is “uniquely positioned” to thrive in the cross-platform measurement space.

“When we talk about cross-platform, we’re talking about following and measuring content and ads wherever they’re distributed, linear, both local and national, ad supported on-demand and subscription on demand,” he said.

Comscore touts datasets from over 50 million connected TVs as well as over 75 million set top boxes and 200 million mobile devices across the U.S.

“We know that each type of data has unique attributes, positive and negative, that must be accounted for when combining these data sets to produce accurate, reliable and stable measurement,” said Carpenter.

In other updates with its cross-platform measurement, Comscore in June released insights from a six-month assessment comparing CTV and linear ad reach across YouTube.

Roughly one in two people, for instance, see ads on YouTube via connected TV. Moreover, Comscore found YouTube CTV was about 27% more efficient in delivering on-target ads, compared to linear TV.

Despite notable work in cross-platform measurement, Comscore’s revenue from its digital ad product declined to $51.6 million from $52.5 million in Q2 2021. CFO Mary Margaret Curry attributed the decline to a pullback in digital ad spend.

She added given the “unknown impact” inflationary pressures may have on ad spend in the short term, Comscore is updating its full year revenue guidance to reflect a growth rate of 5% to 7% over 2021.

One of the ways Comscore’s aiming to enhance its digital offering, Carpenter pointed out, is by combining its social media dataset – using insights from Meta, TikTok, YouTube and Instagram – with Comscore’s Media Metrix products, which measure audience behavior across desktops, smartphones and tablets.

“The data and integrations that underpin our digital product are also essential to our ability to deliver the cross-platform measurement that our clients are asking for,” Carpenter said.