“This is an extremely positive move for Samba TV,” said Mike Bregman, chief data officer of Havas Media, in a statement. Havas became the first agency holding company to incorporate Samba into its measurement and insights systems last year.
“We appreciate Samba’s increased focus on their core data and measurement products,” Bregman said. “Samba’s move to eliminate any potential media sales conflicts makes a lot of sense.”
In an interview prior to the announcement, Navin said this week’s announcement of a Joint Industry Committee to set standards and certify measurement providers for streaming video provide an opening, particularly for Samba, in measurement, because of its direct access to data.
“The industry is rapidly challenging that legacy [Nielsen] monopoly, but with a ton of risk,” Navin said. “You can’t really build a great currency product on other people’s data. Regulators are taking a hard look at what is the path for consent for the consumer and what's the chain of custody of the data?”
Samba TV last week announced a research and development partnership with TCL to build TVs powered by artificial intelligence, including a model showcased at CES with a front-facing camera that lets people control the TV and games using hand gestures. That same camera and AI also could play a role in helping Samba track—among people who opt in—which household members are watching programming at any given time, helping solve problems other measurement rivals overcome using devices distributed and plugged separately into TVs.