Nielsen is acquiring addressable TV technology provider Sorenson Media as it looks to scale household TV targeting.
Along with the acquisition, Nielsen will also launch a new advanced video advertising group, which is focused on developing addressable advertising solutions for smart TVs.
Sorenson had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last fall in an effort to extricate itself from a costly deal with Sinclair Broadcasting.
Nielsen is betting on the smart TV marketplace, saying it "has the potential to usher in a gold rush for marketers, programmers and [original equipment manufacturers]." According to Statista, there will be 250 million smart TVs in the market by 2023.
The ability to target very specific consumer segments at a household level has been the holy grail in TV advertising for decades, but the capabilities and adoption have been slow to ramp up. It's become even more of a focus as the industry struggles to compete with digital behemoths like Google and Facebook, which have long been able to promise one-to-one targeting.
"It's clear that a significant portion of TV advertising will be addressable long into the future," David Kenny, CEO of Nielsen, said in a statement. "With the continued evolution of our Total Audience measurement ... 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."
This is one of the first moves by Kenny since he became CEO of Nielsen in November. It's unclear when Nielsen will introduce a complete addressable solution.
With the acquisition of Sorenson, combined with its Automatic Content Recognition technology it acquired through Gracenote, Nielsen says it can create improved value and efficiency across the entire media chain—from ad targeting and delivery to measurement and attribution—to help speed the scaling of addressable TV.
Over the last several years it has also acquired Qterics, a smart TV software and privacy management company.
Nielsen plans to integrate its existing linear commercial ratings, known as C3 and C7, with its measurement of addressable TV ads.
Nielsen launched an addressable pilot in five markets last year with CBS, A&E Networks and other broadcasters to understand the consumer experience and the impact on workflow.