A ‘Vast Majority’ Of Gray Area For Comscore


With its rocky 2019 behind it and stable leadership under two-month EVP/CEO Bill Livek restoring confidence in stockholders, Comscore is reinforcing its desire to serve as a “trusted partner for planning, transacting and evaluating media across platforms” by signing up television broadcasting companies as clients.

Comscore on Friday got a big vote of confidence from the company led by Hilton Howell Jr.

An agreement is now in place that allows Gray Television to use Comscore measurement services “for the vast majority of its market footprint,” representing approximately 19% of all U.S. television households.

Comscore, which made the announcement, did not elaborate on the pact, bringing to question just what markets Gray will see Comscore data from.

“Comscore is thrilled to continue to build out our partnership with Gray Television,” said  Comscore EVP of Local Markets Steve Walsh. “We are committed to measurement innovation and excellence that helps drive revenue and profits for our clients, and we look forward to delivering for Gray in each of their markets.”

The new arrangement builds on a December 2018 decision to hand Comscore the task of providing TV viewership measurement data to Gray following its merger with Raycom Media.

The late 2018 agreement with Comscore came days after The E.W. Scripps Co. agreed to an expanded deal with Comscore, putting Nielsen on the spot. At the time, Nielsen was reportedly in tough negotiations with CBS Corporation on a new deal.

Today, Nielsen is the company many may see as being on shakier financial ground than Comscore. CBS Corp. has reunited with Viacom, under the latter’s leadership. And, Gray is staying the course with a company still committed to taking on Nielsen in the TV ratings and consumer data realm.

As of 9:49am Eastern, SCOR was up 1% to $4.92 on word of the new Gray pact. It’s smack-dab in the middle of consistent trading levels seen over the last month, completing a five-month recovery on Wall Street that saw SCOR plummet to a low of $1.48 on August 15. The dips were triggered by poor quarterly results, and exacerbated in September on word the company paid a $5 million penalty for fraudulently inflating its revenue by $50 million between February 2014 and February 2016.

What a difference four years makes. Two weeks ago, Comscore inked a multi-year renewal with Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, giving it box office measurement across domestic and international markets.

Insider Monkey questioned if hedge funds “dropped the ball” on Comscore.

And, Benzinga in late December singled out Comscore as a “momentum stock to watch.”

While SCOR is far from where it was in Q1 2019, it could be on more solid ground, poised for better long-term success thanks to the support of Wall Street and key media industry clients.