Analyst: ‘Free’ Strategy Could Boost comScore Vs. Nielsen

Price could be deciding factor in research decisions, Wieser says

comScore’s decision to offer viewability measurement for free could help it in its battle against Nielsen, according to one industry analyst.

In a report, Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research notes that in addition to competing to provide TV ratings, where Nielsen is dominant, comScore’s verified Campaign Essentials product squared off against Nielsen’s Digital Ad Rating in measuring online ads, including streaming video.

“While we are still assessing the implications from this news, our immediate reaction is that, at minimum, this will probably help comScore take market share away from Nielsen,” Wieser said. “Whether or not Nielsen’s DAR product is of higher quality than vCE is less relevant than the price, as long as the audience measurement product is sufficiently good. Given marketer interests in reducing costs across their digital supply chains, making viewability a free product is compelling.”

Weiser thinks Nielsen might decide to discount the price it charges for DAR in the near term. Or it could buy either ISA or DoubleVerify, which also provide viewability metric, although he notes that would be an expensive way to go.

“For digital media owners, the news is also important as it suggests that before long, more digital advertising will be bought using viewability metrics than at the present time,” Wieser said. “Our guess is that this would benefit premium content owners or other media owners with longer-form or other high quality content, whether video, text or other formats.”