What Kantar Deal Means for TV Data Firm Rentrak: More Tech Talent

Rentrak Wants All Clients to Move from Kantar to Its Platform by Q1 2015

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Rentrak CEO Bill Livek
Rentrak CEO Bill Livek

Rentrak's acquisition of WPP's Kantar Media US TV measurement-data business promises to facilitate standardization of TV ratings data, which is obviously important to agencies and advertisers who use the data to plan media buys. But for Rentrak, the deal completed Monday also represents an influx of tough-to-find tech and research talent.

"It's a whole lot of technical people," said Bill Livek, Rentrak's vice chairman and CEO, who said around 75% of the employees coming to Rentrak through the Kantar acquisition are on the tech side rather than in sales or account management. "The tech skills are very difficult to acquire," he added. A Rentrak spokesman later said around 10 tech and research employees will be added now from the Kantar acquisition, "but as we transition it will be approximately 20."

One thing technology staff will work towards implementing is moving clients on to Rentrak's platform.

"We're talking to customers to integrate them onto the Rentrak platform," said Mr. Livek, noting that the firm aims to have all Kantar clients switched over to the Rentrak system by the end of Q1 2015.

In October, WPP agreed to combine Kantar's U.S. television audience data with Rentrak's in exchange for Rentrak common stock valued at $128 million as of Nov. 28.

Integration of Kantar data should help streamline the audience data agencies and advertisers use to buy media and target ads. The idea, said Mr. Livek, is to "have one number in the marketplace." Further, Rentrak data such as advanced demographic information showing the types of cars TV viewers own or how they vote can be used to enhance Kantar ad spending data, for example.

Rather than creating new products as a result of the acquisition, said Mr. Livek, the deal will help the firm keep pace with client demands. "Because of our high growth rate we have to keep producing more of what we need to be producing." The company's TV business, which provides local TV viewing measurement and layers on demographic data, has grown 80% in the past year, he told Ad Age.

Rentrak said it expects to add around $7 million to $9 million in revenue in fiscal 2016 as a result of the Kantar deal.

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