A Big Deal For Media Planning, Buying: Rentrak Set-Top Data Will Be Available to Media Agencies Via Donovan Data Systems, Which Powers a Lot of the Back Office Work for the Agencies

Feb 23, 2011  •  Post A Comment

[Please Click on Headline for Story] Rentrak, which has access to data from 17 million set-top boxes in 210 markets, will integrate some of its most desired database information into Donovan Data Systems (DDS), which are revalant in many advertising agencies.

Our good friend Joe Mandese in MediaDailyNews calls it a "move that could make planning and buying via digital TV set-top data a reality for many big agencies and their clients. … The deal … is believed to be the first to integrate set-top data directly into the "enterprise" systems that agencies use to conduct business, and could have a profound effect on the way agencies treat the data, especially for highly-targeted niche TV networks that are not currently measured by the Nielsen Co."

In the announcement of the deal, Bill Livek, Rentrak’s CEO, said, “Rentrak’s relationship with DDS is an advertising industry first. The results from over 80 million set-top-devices for video-on-demand (VOD) and the results of American’s TV viewing from their set-top devices will be integrated with DDS systems. Additionally, the partnership will open up the buying systems of agencies to include, for the first time, information for highly-targeted networks. We’re proud to be working with industry leader, DDS, as our relationship will give all agencies and their advertisers speedy access to Rentrak information through the DDS platform. Agencies will now be able to plan, buy and post VOD to linear television both locally and nationally, using Rentrak’s TV database currency.”

DDS Worldwide Chairman and CEO Mike Donovan said in the announcement, "“Our integration with Rentrak is timely, bringing our clients highly valuable data when they need it most and in a place where it’s most useful to them."

Mandese wrote, "The deal grew out of conversations that began last spring as part of a special task force created by MPG’s Collaborative Alliance to find ways of utilizing set-top data to buy networks whose audience and/or coverage are currently too small to be measured by Nielsen’s national TV ratings sample. The initiative, which successfully developed a method for extrapolating the equivalent of Nielsen ratings from set-top data, initially analyzed three networks – Bloomberg, Sprout and INSP – and at least three agencies – MPG, Carat and OMD – said they were considering using the data as a way to plan, buy and post networks not currently measured by Nielsen."

Mandese also noted that Nielsen’s national sample is based on measuring only 18,000 households.

Mandese adds, "To date, Nielsen which recently began trading as a public company again, has paid only lip service to developing a serious digital set-top data-based measurement service, and the company seems to have little incentive in doing so, as long as its panel-based samples are the currency of the $80 billion U.S. TV advertising marketplace."

Alluding to the strengths of both Nielsen and Rentrak, Mandese notes, "Nielsen supporters say that set-top data systems cannot currently determine who is watching TV inside the homes they gather real-time viewing data from, and cannot generate reliable demographic estimates. Set-top data proponents say who cares, because demographics are crude, and possibly anachronistic ways of clustering actual viewing behavior."

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