Nielsen To Purchase Gracenote Metadata Company

nielsenNielsen announced it will purchase Gracenote, provider of media and entertainment metadata.

Expected to be final at the close of the first quarter of 2017 with financing through a combination of cash and debt, the noted $560 million transaction will allow Nielsen the acquisition of data and technology that underpins the programming guides and personalized user experience for major video, music, audio and sports content. Currently, the 18 year old Gracenote provides reference information for over 12 million movie and television listings and 200 million music tracks, and drives the interfaces of the major streaming digital media services, as well as the connected technology systems in over 75 million automobiles.

The acquisition extends Nielsen’s footprint with major clients by including Gracenote’s global content database which spans across platforms including multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), smart televisions, streaming music services, connected devices, media players and in-car infotainment systems.

The purchase from Tribune Media Company, which acquired the company three years ago for $170 million, will allow Nielsen the ability to provide clients with deeper analytics on consumer behavior and view of audience engagement from discovery to consumption.

“Gracenote’s metadata and content recognition technology fuels the interfaces of the major video, music and in-car infotainment systems that consumers engage with every day. This acquisition provides Nielsen with a significant asset in our mission of measuring and understanding consumer behavior,” said Karthik Rao, President, Expanded Verticals at Nielsen.

“For the past decade, Gracenote has connected millions of people every day to the TV shows, sports, movies and music they love, making entertainment more accessible and discoverable,” said John Batter, Chief Executive Officer of Gracenote. “We are excited for the opportunity to take the next step with Nielsen and expand our global reach by continuing to deliver innovative, insights-based solutions to clients.”

Nielsen, while best known for its television ratings, has become increasingly interested in tracking consumers not only through the shows they watch and the music they listen to but also through what they shop for.

When Adele’s hit album 25 was released, for example, Nielsen prepared a profile of the album’s typical fan: a college-educated woman, 25 to 44 years old, who watches Family Guy and visits Target and Victoria’s Secret stores.

Yet despite Nielsen’s push into more expansive and detailed means of tracking consumers, it has faced steady criticism for outdated methods of measuring media ratings. In recent years, the company still relied on paper diaries to track television viewing, for example, and TV networks have said repeatedly that Nielsen’s ratings are unreliable. —Ben Sisario, New York Times

Gracenote will operate as a business unit within Nielsen. The company will continue to operate from its headquarters in Emeryville, California.

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