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John Moulding 

Charter Communications among three major new investors in Comscore

Charter Communications among three major new investors in Comscore

The audience measurement specialist Comscore has announced three new major investors, including the U.S. cable operator Charter Communications.

New shareholder Charter will make privacy-compliant and aggregated consumer level data insights available to Comscore to boost the audience intelligence that Comscore can provide to the advertising market, and Comscore will become the Pay TV provider’s preferred local measurement partner. Charter will get access to Comscore insights as part of a 10-year license agreement.

Two other companies are investing into Comscore at the same time: Qurate Retail Inc, which operates and owns interests in a broad range of digital commerce businesses such as QVC, Zulily and the Cornerstone Brands, and Cerberus, which has a technology solutions platform CTS that provides data, analytics, programmatic ads and media optimisation, among other things.

All three companies are making a cash investment that will be used by Comscore to pay off debt and improve liquidity, with the aim of giving Comscore new freedom to pursue growth as the whole media industry becomes more data focused and in need of better cross-platform measurement solutions and more granular measurement in general – all of which Comscore enables.

“This is a watershed moment in our history,” says Bill Livek, chief executive officer at Comscore. “The retirement of debt provides the company with the financial flexibility to execute our plan. The investment and commercial agreements we announced today will supercharge our ability to deliver trusted cross-platform measurement for all customers. We are built to deliver now.”

The agreement with Charter is seen as a way to accelerate an industry-wide shift to census-based audience viewership, providing advertisers with more reliable audience measurement and analysis. The tie-up will help Charter use a digital and cross-platform audience and impression-based currency, enhance addressable advertising capabilities and improve its outcome-based attribution.

“In concert with Charter, Comscore plans to drive a new industry standard in media measurement towards impressions-based measurement for the selling and buying of advertising,” the two companies also said in a statement.

Coinciding with the new investor announcement, it was revealed that Comcast Cable Communications – another of the Pay TV giants in North America – is extending an existing data agreement with Comscore.

David Kline, executive vice president, Charter and president, Spectrum Reach (the sales house for Charter), says of his company’s investment: “The time has finally come for Comscore, with its industry-leading impression-based data sets, to be able to offer advertisers, agencies and inventory owners the kind of granular measurement, attribution and reporting they will need to compete in our high-tech world.

“As people continue to consume content in different ways and on multiple platforms, our investment in Comscore will further enhance the television industry and Spectrum Reach’s ability to provide marketers and advertisers with effective and measurable data-driven solutions. More effective audience measurement will help clients to better reach targeted audiences throughout the communities we serve and ensure a greater return on their advertising investment.”

Matt Zames, president of Cerberus, says: “We look forward to partnering with the Comscore management team, Charter and Qurate to build on Comscore’s next phase of transformation and growth. With Comscore’s leading data and analytics capabilities, we are excited to apply our expertise and resources to help build on its portfolio of trusted products and drive value for shareholders.”

Upon closing, Comscore will continue to operate as a standalone public company. Charter, Qurate and Cerberus each will receive approximately 27.5 million shares of convertible preferred stock, with each investor’s voting rights capped at 16.66% (on an as-converted basis). Each of Charter, Qurate and Cerberus will have the right to designate two seats on the Comscore board of directors, which will be expanded to a total of ten members.

John Moulding is editor-in-chief of Mediatel News' sister magazine, Videonet, where this story was first reported

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