Rentrak gains an asset and a client


RentrakTelevision measuring service Rentrak will be combining its US research assets with those of Kantar Media after acquiring it from international ad agency WPP, and at the same time, will be signing WPP parent Group M on as a customer.

The combination of Rentrak and Kantar will be focused on the United States and will have no effect on Rentrak activities elsewhere.

The price for Kantar works out to $98M, which the parties say is worth about 1.53M shares or Rentrak, representing about 12.4% of those outstanding. WPP will then purchase a 16.7% stake in Rentrak for $56M give or take. It will be allowed to purchase additional shares of Rentrak on the open market as long as its total share of the company does not exceed 20%.

“The combined expertise of Kantar and Rentrak will enable clients to better comprehend and leverage the relationship between United States TV viewing and brands,” said Kantar CEO Eric Salama. “We are excited about the future products that we can develop with Rentrak for the U.S. television industry. Clients will benefit from our focus on respondent-level media and purchase data.”

“This agreement is designed to help all of our U.S. agency and TV advertiser clients with new services in television measurement and consumer insights,” said Rentrak’s Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Livek. “We are thrilled to be working with WPP and look forward to partnering with Kantar to provide the marketplace with the best next generation of services.”

GroupM, WPP’s parent, is good for $105B in billings annually, and will become a client of Rentrak.

“The proliferation of channels has so significantly fragmented audiences that legacy sample methodology simply can’t keep up,” said Irwin Gotlieb, global chairman of GroupM. “Television measurement needs to move toward census-based methodology. Our agencies are doing such refined targeting and segmentation, and that work can only be supported by census data. It is our hope that we can act as catalysts in moving the industry toward greater data reliability and accountability.”

RBR-TVBR observation: For years, one of the most difficult feats in the communications universe has been trying to provide meaningful competition to the big audience measuring companies.

Eastlan has been able to work alongside Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron), focusing on smaller markets, but its story is unique – there is no other Eastlan out there of which we’re aware.

It looks like Rentrak is making the strongest effort in our memory. This is another ongoing story that will bear watching.