Acquires addressable TV tech provider Sorenson Media

Nielsen has announced the acquisition of addressable ad tech company Sorenson Media out of bankruptcy, and simultaneously, a new commercial initiative targeting smart TVs.

Nielsen Advanced Video will focus on expanding and innovating addressable advertising on smart TVs, a platform that is increasingly important amid the migration of video consumption to over-the-top platforms. According to Statista, there are expected to be more than 250 million smart TVs deployed in the U.S. by 2023.

Nielsen purchased Sorenson in a bankruptcy-court proceeding with a winning $11.25 million bid, according to Variety.

Nielsen said it will combine the Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology, added to its portfolio through its acquisition of Gracenote two years ago, with Sorenson’s addressable TV ad platform. Integrated into the firmware layer of millions of Smart TVs, Gracenote’s ACR technology provides the ability for real-time, frame-level ad detection regardless of source or platform.

“It’s clear that a significant portion of TV advertising will be addressable long into the future,” said David Kenny, CEO of Nielsen, in a statement.

“With the continued evolution of our Total Audience measurement, underpinned by decades of trust, transparency and independence, it was evident that we needed to bring our unique set of technology assets and talent to tackle the greatest challenges the TV advertising industry is facing. And with the Sorenson Media acquisition, we can create improved value and efficiency across the entire media chain - from ad targeting and delivery to measurement and attribution - and make addressable TV more of a reality.”

Nielsen has scrambled to catch up as TV audiences have dispersed to digital platforms over the last decade. The research company has made a number of acquisitions to try to gird its tenuous position as the go-to shop for TV ad measurement in the digital age. This includes Qterics, a smart TV and privacy management company.

“We are excited to partner with others in the industry to make addressability a reality,” added Kelly Abcarian, general manager of Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising Group. “Nielsen has the experience and technology to help expand a scalable industry-wide, end-to-end addressable TV advertising solution. And, we can provide a measurement solution that innovates on current approaches with a bridge to the future.”

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