ComScore said Monday that it has appointed Bryan Wiener as CEO, who previously served as executive chairman of Dentsu digital media agency 360i. He will start May 30.
Wiener has served on comScore’s board of directors since co-founder Gian Fulgoni exited last November.
The embattled measurement company has its work cut out. ComScore was delisted by the Nasdaq Stock Market in 2017 amid an accounting probe and management shakeup, which left its executive bench in a state of flux.
But Wiener’s appointment hopefully indicates some stability – and a righting of the ship.
“We’re starting to put some of the building blocks in place to move past the events of the last couple of years, and I was excited to have the chance to lead this comeback,” said Wiener.
He spoke with AdExchanger about what needs to be done, as well as the challenges and opportunities ahead.
AdExchanger: Why leave 360i?
BRYAN WIENER: In spite of everything that’s happened the last few years, [comScore] is incredibly well-positioned in a marketplace that is desperate for third-party measurement.
If you take everything that is happening with consumer behavior becoming increasingly omniplatform, that makes it so much more important that measurement is also omniplatform. To be able to have the chance to drive measurement for the world that’s happening vs. the world that was is such a unique opportunity.
What are you bringing to comScore, coming from the agency side?
I’m really good at differentiating companies in crowded, confusing, fast-moving environments. And the reason why we’d been successful at 360i is that we continued to innovate. … You must have a leadership mindset where you not only have a vision for where you’re going, but – maybe more importantly – put a strategy and battle plan in place for what you’re trying to accomplish.
So, what do you need to accomplish at comScore?
I can boil it down to five key things. The first thing is to build optimism in the market that comScore is back.
Number two, we have to create and amplify a high-performance culture.
Third, we need to focus our product innovation on our [platform and] we have to accelerate that and invest heavily.
The fourth is, we need to streamline our operations and become more profitable. There’s no question about that. We have to increase profitability so we can afford to invest in the areas of innovation that the market wants us to invest in.
The fifth thing is we need to accelerate our go-to-market strategy. I think all of those are achievable, and none of that is really rocket science.
What will change at comScore under your leadership?
I’m not a new CEO coming in who’s going to be looking to make dramatic changes.
I am a board member who has been on board for six months, who has already taken dramatic changes. Those changes happened in November and December when we restructured the company and put a new leadership in place. What has been missing is a CEO.
I’ve been very involved in the plan we created and the team that’s executing against it. What we have to do is accelerate that plan significantly, and that will involve bringing in other new talent to complement what we already have. I like the plan, and I like the team; there’s just things that we need to do that we haven’t been able to do in the absence of a CEO.
The video measurement space has changed a lot. NBCU recently rolled out its own currency called CFlight because it wasn’t content with the established method of ratings.
There’s been a hole in the market, which is why NBCU has created CFlight. But I’d be surprised if that was a long-term solution. Part of having a currency is that you can compare it across many alternatives of buying media. If you’re a marketer and NBCU has one currency, Viacom has another and Fox has a third, that’s not actually a currency.
That’s what gets me so excited – there’s a lot of opportunity for comScore to become that de facto currency for buying audience-based content across platforms. We don’t have that product fully offered in the market right now, so it’s only natural that in the absence and in that void, media properties are stepping in. But I can tell you, in the short time I’ve been a board member, that the marketplace wants us to bring forth a currency that can be comparable across platforms. We just need to execute it.
What’s going on with Pitchapalooza?
Mediapalooza is a symptom of a broader crisis of confidence across the entire marketing ecosystem. Marketers are struggling with how can they best achieve growth in an environment where consumer behavior is changing so dramatically. I think people are making this too much about agencies being disrupted.
What do you mean?
Every business is being disrupted because the underlying marketer’s business is being disrupted. It’s because Amazon is disrupting business. It’s because millennials are liking off-brands more and packaged brands have completely lost their advantage of having physical distribution. Those are the root causes.
Then the fact that we don’t have consistent measurement across buying, as well as evaluating [media], is a huge problem. Agencies are one stakeholder, but I think we all have to figure out how to drive growth for marketers. Otherwise, everyone in the ecosystem is going to suffer.
Interview has been condensed and lightly edited.