Samba TV zeros in on measurement, offloads managed media sales unit to MiQ

Samba TV is narrowing its focus to zero in on data and measurement, announcing a move Friday to offload its U.S. managed media sales business unit to MiQ under a new multi-year agreement.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Samba TV told Fierce Video it's a long-term revenue sharing arrangement that "will deliver significant revenue to Samba," and sees the vendor fully transition out of the media services business in the U.S. A spokesperson noted no employees are being terminated as a result of the transaction, as any impacted will either transition to MiQ or to new roles at Samba. 

Samba TV is moving out of the managed media services business at a time when the TV industry is moving towards new forms of measurement and alternatives (or additions) to Nielsen, in an effort to capture ad dollars amid an increasingly fragmented viewing landscape. A breed of emerging measurement and data players such as Video Amp, are among those also getting in on the action as media companies and advertisers seek accurate, unified and advanced data to transact and measure performance on. 

As for Samba, the company said its agreement with MiQ accelerates the vendor’s focus on providing data and measurement for publishers, marketers, and advertising agencies around the globe. In announcing the move, Samba TV CEO and co-founder Ashwin Navin indicated a desire to boost its measurement standing in providing data with unconflicted insights.

“Today’s announcement reinforces our strategic focus on the next generation of currency-grade measurement and media optimization for our partners across every screen, platform, and channel,” Navin stated. “Marketers and media vendors who leverage our TV data and measurement portfolio see us as their trusted source of truth for media performance without bias for our own media.”

Samba also said it allows the vendor to focus resources on helping to define the future of TV measurement in the face of increased demand for measurement and data services. The removal of potential conflict comes as Samba will no longer be buying and reselling actual media impressions or profiting from that process, instead focusing 100% on selling its data to make buying and selling more efficient, with its data providing insights about impact. 

According to a Samba TV spokesperson, by exiting the managed media services business, "Samba TV becomes the only other player [other than Nielsen] in the market with the scaled first-party relationship with the consumer that is not potentially conflicted by selling its own ads the way Roku or Samsung or the other walled garden CTV platforms are in the market. In the future multi-currency world we are heading toward, you cannot grade your own homework by selling your own ads and then providing the measurement on those same ads."

Under the new deal with MiQ, the programmatic media partner said it will enhance its Advanced TV solutions with Samba’s data and measurement capabilities. Samba’s scale of 28 million U.S. devices will augment MiQ’s existing connected device footprint, bringing its total reach to over 60 million devices across 43 million households.

“This extensive data set combined with our unique, agnostic approach to programmatic will undoubtedly prove instrumental in powering stronger campaigns, long-term results, and new opportunities for our clients moving forward," said MiQ Co-founder Lee Puri in a statement.

“With CTV spending projected to exceed $20 billion this year, marketers need persistent access to TV data in order to realize the benefits of holistic TV investment,” said MiQ Co-founder and Global Executive Chairman Gurman Hundal, in a statement. “By combining our programmatic media expertise with [Samba’s] media services business, we will give our clients unmatched Advanced TV data access and bridge TV investment into full omnichannel treatment in ways they never could before.”

In 2022 Disney tapped Samba TV, along with Comscore and Nielsen, for trials with Omnicom Media Group and Publicis Media in an effort to build an expanded cross-platform measurement tool.

In a separate move this week towards advancing measurement and standardization, major programmers including Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision and Warner Bros. Discovery, along with OpenAP and the Video Advertising Bureau formed a joint industry committee (JIC).

Key aims include creation of a certification process for emerging cross-platform measurement solutions ahead of the 2024 upfront, along with a unified streaming viewership dataset through OpenAP. The JIC will ultimately control the collective streaming data and decide how it will provided to measurement companies that meet certification requirements.

Updated with additional comment from Samba TV.