Nielsen Isn’t Worried About TCR Delays; Ex-Merkle Execs Go To Acxiom

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Nielsen isn’t sweating the delay of its Total Content Ratings (TCR) rollout. During the company’s investor call Thursday, CEO Mitch Barns attributed the hold-up to client lags. [Read the release.] “The measurement itself is solid and is working as intended,” he said. “The reason why they asked us to go slower is because they need to be ready. That means they need to implement the SDK in their apps and make sure they understand what the data means to their business. Some clients just needed more time and we respect that.” But that doesn’t entirely square with what broadcast presidents said two weeks ago, when a broad swath of US nets said TCR wasn’t ready for prime time.  

Merkle’s Casualties

Since its acquisition by Dentsu Aegis, three Merkle executives have left the company for rival Acxiom. Merkle’s former VP of digital and global data solutions, Chandos Quill, now heads up a similar unit at Acxiom. Karen Caulfield led Markle’s global data solutions group and is now Acxiom VP of audience solutions. Both ex-Merklers will reports to Marc Fanelli, Acxiom’s global VP of audience solutions, who was at Merkle for eight years. “As the world’s economy becomes a data economy, marketers are overwhelmed with how much data there is and how to find it and put it to use,” said Rick Erwin, president and general manager of Acxiom Audience Solutions, to Kate Kaye of Ad Age. More.

Pandora’s Programmatic Push

Pandora reported Q4 and FY 2016 earnings on Thursday with almost $1.4 billion in advertising revenue, growing 15% year on year. Ad revenue in Q4 was up 16% to $313 million. In Q1, Pandora will reduce its ad salesforce as it focuses on “optimizing demand channels”  and “opening programmatic channels to more demand” said CFO Mike Herring. 2016 was a busy year for Pandora, which refreshed its brand and launched an on demand subscription product that competes with rival Spotify’s. Subscriber growth, which had been slowing in recent quarters, was up 12% year on year to 4.3 million. Read the release.  

All In For Cable

Even as cords are being cut all around him, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish says he isn’t interested in exposing his network’s top programming to streaming channels. “We will reinforce the pay-TV ecosystem by being highly selective in striking agreements with over-the-top distributors, confining those deals to largely library content,” he told investors on an earnings call Thursday morning. Recode’s Peter Kafka translates this quote as follows: “You know how we used to let people watch some of our best stuff, like ‘The Daily Show,’ either a day after they aired or a few weeks later, on services like Hulu? We’re not going to do that anymore. If they want to watch new Viacom shows they’ll have to pay you or someone else who has the same kind of deal with us that you have.” More.

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