iSpot expands TV measurement capabilities with 605 acquisition

Nielsen challenger iSpot is expanding its audience measurement market share and capabilities with the acquisition of TV analytics firm 605.

iSpot on Wednesday announced the purchase of 605, a New York-based TV measurement and attribution company formed in 2016 by current AMC Networks CEO Kristin Dolan.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The two independent measurement firms are coming together with the aim of strengthening new currency and end-to-end offerings for brands, agencies and networks. iSpot said 605 immediately boosts its measurement solutions for video and TV advertising, bringing particular expertise in the areas of outcome attribution, advanced audience measurement, media planning and data science managed services.

“605 has developed an impressive technology architecture, a great approach to using big data and a suite of powerful solutions that nicely complement our own,” said Sean Muller, founder and CEO of iSpot, in a statement. “We are excited to integrate their world-class team of engineers and data scientists in our mission to modernize measurement effectiveness and new currencies.”

The acquisition also expands iSpot’s smart TV data footprint. 605 brings with it set-top box data from 16.6 million homes, bringing iSpot’s total TV device footprint to 82.7 million. That includes mart TV data from Vizio and LG, which the company said will help serve as a foundation for bringing accurate measurement and new currencies to the marketplace.

Muller in a post on analyst firm TVREV’s website, dove into key reasons why iSpot decided on the acquisition – its largest to date – calling out 605’s technologies, unique suite of data, significant marketplace adoption, as well as pool of talent.

All of 605’s 85 employees will join iSpot, bringing the company’s employee base to 464. In the immediate future, 605 will continue to operate as an iSpot company to build its solutions but eventually the companies plan to integrate all products into a single offering that utilizes “a unified data spine and technology infrastructure for all measurement and currency offerings.”

“We launched 605 seven years ago with the idea that high-quality data and advanced analytics would make television advertising even more effective, from planning and segmentation all the way through to attribution and now prediction. During a time of profound change in our industry, I could not be more proud of the team for delivering on that promise,” said Dolan in a statement. “iSpot has built a large and loyal customer base, particularly with large brand advertisers, and is a pioneer in the measurement space.”

Some of 605 capabilities include outcome-based attribution tools that measure effectiveness against a broad set of KPIs including CPG (consumer packaged goods) sales, auto sales, credit card, location, search and survey.

“Together, we believe we now have the most comprehensive suite of solutions for connecting on target TV audience exposures with key performance indicators including web visits, store visits, purchases and more. This empowers marketers to understand ROI [return on investment] and ROAS [return on ad spend],” wrote Muller in the post.

It also has a planning and optimization platform, advanced audience segmentation and predictive analytics capabilities supported by machine learning. Muller cited using AI for understanding audiences and predicting where to find them as one of the key aspects of the acquisition. He noted that 605’s planning toolset will enhance customers’ ability to predict where audience segments will be, calculate costs to engage them and forecast ROAS for cross-platform investment.

He added that ML and AI from both companies will provide next-gen technologies that help remove guess and leg work “while ushering in a more seamless workflow for brands, agencies and platforms for the purpose of establishing new currencies and optimizing cross-platform campaigns.”   

The acquisition marks iSpot’s fourth in five years. In November 2022 it invested in person-level panel-based measurement startup TVision, leading a $16 million strategic investment with Muller also joining TVision’s board.

iSpot is one of several measurement vendors that emerged as a challenger to incumbent Nielsen, alongside others such as VideoAmp, Samba TV, Comscore, InnovidXP, and 605 itself, as the traditional provider’s ratings came under scrutiny. It also comes amid a measurement overhaul with brands and advertisers seeking alternate currencies to transact on, and to leverage data for more accurate, transparent and reliable cross-platform measurement in the face of an increasingly fragmented TV viewing and ad ecosystem. iSpot and 605 are both involved in the OpenAP-led U.S. Joint Industry Committee working to certify vendors tor provide alternate currencies in time for the 2024 Upfront.

And iSpot has already secured several customer wins, including NBCUniversal in February which certified iSpot as a cross-platform currency vendor that can deliver on both age and gender, as well as advanced audiences. NBCU previously tapped the vendor under a multiyear deal that included measurement tests during the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and Super Bowl LVI. for iSpot has also been integrated in Google’s YouTube and YouTube TV to help measure the platforms’ reach against the broader TV landscape. And virtual MVPD Fubo TV this May picked iSpot to measure CTV ads and quantify incremental reach for advertisers on the sports-centric streaming TV service.