After Moat, Does Nielsen Need To Buy Integral Ad Science?

Oracle’s acquisition of digital ad measurement firm Moat late Tuesday could put pressure on Nielsen to snap up one of the remaining independent measurement companies like Integral Ad Science or DoubleVerify.

“How this will impact media currency folks like Nielsen is a bit hard to say,” said Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia, a TV platform that partners with both Nielsen and Oracle. “But one would expect that their offerings will need to have similar capabilities to keep up with the market.”

Elgin Thompson, managing director at the investment bank Digital Capital Advisors, added that brands’ reliance on insights from Oracle-owned Datalogix, BlueKai and Crosswise put a lot of competitive pressure on Nielsen’s panels.

And Nielsen had been trying to get digital measurement right well before Moat existed, Thompson added.

Nielsen, whose Digital Ad Ratings product already partners with Moat, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify, emphasized that it’s the only company that provides “complete, person-based currency” against a total audience.

“We absolutely recognize the importance of viewability as a component of measurement, but you really need to be able to combine it with demographic-[based] measurement and only Nielsen can supply that person-based measurement cross-platform,” David Wong, Nielsen’s SVP of digital product leadership, told AdExchanger. 

Wong did not indicate whether the Moat acquisition put further pressure on Nielsen, but did say Nielsen would continue to evaluate its partnership with Moat under Oracle.

Yet, Simulmedia’s Morgan thinks Oracle’s direct sales route to marketers means it can increasingly enable advertiser decision-making.

“Oracle will end up controlling more and more of how advertising is spent and measured, but won’t necessarily have to jump through the same hoops as incumbent currency players,” he said.

Although Oracle doesn’t compete on currency with Nielsen, its business has other similarities to Nielsen’s.

For instance, both have a marketing cloud and a data management platform (Oracle’s BlueKai and Nielsen’s eXelate). Nielsen also has a formidable shopper insights business and Nielsen Catalina, while Oracle has Datalogix.

So does Nielsen need to acquire a Moat competitor, like Integral Ad Science – which was rumored to be in consideration by both Nielsen and Oracle?

Scott Knoll, the CEO of Integral Ad Science, said Oracle’s acquisition of Moat, on paper, makes it more competitive with Nielsen.

“Certainly Nielsen is focused on marketing-specific data and audience data, and Oracle has acquired companies with that capability,” he said, though he suspects Oracle is more focused on creating a “complete solution for the CMO.”

That said, viewability and brand safety, which Moat specializes in, are growing CMO concerns.

And other enterprise acquirers, like Salesforce, have direct inroads to the CMO and are beginning to buy their way into media through acquisitions like Krux.

While Knoll said IAS would consider an acquisition (or an IPO) if the price or circumstance were right, it’s not clear at what price that would be, given Oracle didn’t disclose deal terms for Moat.

Both Knoll and DoubleVerify CEO Wayne Gattinella said the Moat acquisition validates their respective data and tech offerings in the larger marketplace.

Knoll added: “If that leads to interest in our company, then certainly that’s what we’ll evaluate.”

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