Comscore Wins Media Rating Council Accreditation for Some National, Local TV Measurement

Comscore, Inc. has been granted accreditation by industry watchdog Media Rating Council for its national and local TV-audience measurement services for households and average audiences, a critical win that threatens to erode Nielsen’s dominance of the field.

Comscore has been working for months to win backing from the MRC, an independent industry organization that scrutinizes various measurement methodologies and whose support is viewed as crucial by many large advertisers that spend millions of dollars on TV. Nielsen, which lost MRC accreditation for both its national and local measurement services in 2021 before regaining it for national in 2023, still has issues with the MRC regarding its local measurement offering.

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“Achieving MRC accreditation is a banner moment for Comscore, and positions us as the only accredited company for ‘big data’ reporting for both local TV and at the national level using the same methodology.  It underscores Comscore’s dedication to delivering unparalleled data quality and reliability to our clients, setting new standards for measurement with national scale and local precision,” said Jon Carpenter, Comscore’s CEO, in a statement. “The insights we’re now able to deliver, built on MRC accredited big data measurement, are a massive differentiator for Comscore amid rapid change in the market.”

Comscore TV’s estimates for households overlayed with age/gender demographic breaks and households with compositions are not accredited by the MRC at this time, and Comscore said it continues to work with the MRC for that backing. The company has also not been accredited for measuring over-the-air TV.

Nielsen remains the most utilized measurement service among TV networks, media agencies and advertisers, but its missteps in recent years — its TV clients have been critical of its efforts to measure streaming use and of its methodology to tabulate viewership during the coronavirus pandemic — have given rise to an array of start-ups. These new competitors, which also include VideoAmp and iSpot, are all clamoring for some of the millions Nielsen collects each year for its services.

“Nielsen’s been honored to have shared the benefits of accredited services with our clients for many decades, and we’re proud of the rigor and investment we’ve committed to shepherding ten of our audience measurement products through the MRC process,” said Karthik Rao, Nielsen’s CEO, in a statement. “We welcome Comscore to the club.”

Comscore said the MRC decision makes it the only measurement company currently accredited for local TV as well as the only one accredited to use so-called “big data,” or audience insights gleaned from set-top boxes as well as smart TVs. Nielsen has also introduced a similar product to the market, but it has yet to win MRC approval for it.,

Comscore said its accreditation was won through a “rigorous process that included an independent audit conducted by a CPA firm engaged by the MRC, and a review of the audit report by a committee comprised of MRC member organization representatives.”

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