Viacom Teams With TiVo for Audience Measurement

The partnership has Viacom and the maker of DVRs gathering data beyond the usual metrics offered by Nielsen in order to verify not only how many people are seeing TV shows but if and where they're viewing the ads.

In its latest move to loosen Nielsen's hold on TV measurement, Viacom said Monday it has become the first major media company to partner with TiVo in an initiative seeking ways for advertisers to target their commercials more efficiently across various platforms.

The partnership has Viacom and the maker of DVRs gathering data beyond age, gender and the usual metrics offered by Nielsen in order to verify not only how many people are seeing TV shows but if and where they are viewing the ads — be it on a TV screen or a mobile device — and whether the ad has moved them purchase a product.

The alliance has TiVo Research and Analytics joining forces with Viacom Vantage, Echo Social Graph and Viacom Velocity, which make up some of the conglomerate's efforts to bring much more data to advertisers than is traditionally supplied by Nielsen.

For years, TiVo Research has been using a panel of 2.3 million DVR users to determine ads viewed compared with products purchased, which seems to fit Viacom's goals, given its CEO, Philippe Dauman, has declared his intention to increase non-Nielsen-derived revenue to more than 50 percent, up from about 30 percent now.

Dauman has also complained many times that Nielsen undercounts viewership at Viacom's younger-skewing channels, such as MTV and Nickelodeon, given that so many consumers watch them on non-traditional devices.

Hypothetically, according to an insider, the partnership would work like so: An automaker wants to target young millennial males; Viacom and TiVo determine that that particular audience likes reruns of Archer; the commercial is delivered there, and the partners then calculate how many audience members fitting that profile actually visited a dealership after viewing the ad.

"Viacom Vantage is on a mission to transform TV advertising through advanced targeting and prediction," Viacom senior vp data strategy Bryson Gordon said Monday.

"The integration of TiVo's single-source database significantly enhances our data capabilities across our advanced advertising products, Vantage, Velocity and Echo, delivering truly unique value to our customers," Gordon said.

Paul.Bond@THR.com

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