WPP has announced it is to acquire up to a 20% stake in online measurement firm comScore, creating an alliance with its data investment management business Kantar to try to “crack the code” of cross-media measurement.
ComScore will issue 4.45% in shares, while also WPP plans to separately buy up to 15% of the company, with comScore acquiring the assets of Kantar’s Internet audience measurement European businesses in return.
The “multi-year” global partnership, in territories outside the US, will attempt to combine Kantar’s expertise in TV measurement with comScore’s digital audience services.
It aim is to combine digital media and video with TV data to deliver “new cross-media capabilities and products” across the globe.
However, comScore was keen to stress to M&M Global that it will be allowed to continue to operate independently of WPP, despite the investment, with no WPP executives sitting on its board of directors.
Key clients at agencies belonging to groups rival to WPP were informed of the news this morning, and reassured comScore will be able to continue to provide objective research without any influence from its new investor.
Further announcements will be made over the coming months detailing how Kantar and comScore plan to “simplify deployment” and “accelerate measurement”, with new products and services believed to be in the pipeline.
“This long-term, strategic alliance will simplify the deployment of global measurement capabilities and accelerate the creation of new services for the industry. The emerging mediascape points to a massive global opportunity waiting to be unlocked by cracking the code on cross-media audience and campaign measurement,” said comScore CEO Serge Matta.
“We look forward to working together with Kantar to deliver new measurement products based on our complementary offerings in these markets.”
Kantar chief executive Eric Salama added: “By partnering with comScore and combining our respective strengths, we will integrate data and expertise to give our clients a new standard in measuring audiences and campaigns across multiple platforms. This continues our strategy of combining survey, panel and census data and putting digital at the heart of all we do.”
ComScore operates in 44 countries worldwide, while Kantar is present in 41 markets, with the latter employing 30,000 globally.