Given the ad industry’s ever-increasing focus on data, cross-platform measurement company ComScore Networks has an opportunity to play a key role for publishers and advertisers.
But the brand faces a series of hurdles while seeking to re-establish itself. ComScore has moved through three CEOs in two years, and Nasdaq de-listed the company in 2017 due to accounting irregularities uncovered during an audit ordered by the SEC the previous year. Co-founder Gian Fulgoni, who took on the chief executive role amid those challenges in 2016, retired earlier this year.
Now, the company is looking to move forward with the help of two media agency veterans. Former 360i CEO and chairman Bryan Wiener is its new CEO, and former GroupM chief digital officer Rob Norman is serving on the board of directors.
“We built 360i over 13 years, and I stepped away from the CEO role after the grind of building a business from scratch,” said Wiener about his new job. “Now it’s time to jump back into the deep end of the pool.”
Wiener, who co-founded the Dentsu-owned network with partner Will Margiloff, said the digital-first agency and the data giant have a lot in common.
He described ComScore as “incredibly well positioned” despite its struggles, noting that his key responsibility now will be to help the company “bring back accurate measurement to a world in which consumers consume content across every platform.”
The executive joined ComScore’s board six months ago, giving him a unique perspective on its operations. He summed up conversations with dozens of the company’s customers and partners by saying, “The market is better off with a strong ComScore.”
“But there’s friction in the marketplace, and if marketers don’t feel confident about who’s seeing their ads and how often … then they won’t be comfortable doing business,” Wiener said. “So having a common currency is mission critical. Nielsen owns that market on the linear TV side, but there’s a hole in terms of cross-platform.”
Citing ComScore’s “tremendous assets,” Wiener said he plans to establish the company as the go-to source for cross-platform measurement by leveraging his own reputation with advertisers as well as that of Norman.
Wiener acknowledged that insiders might continue to harbor concerns. “So I come in to reassure them,” he said. That means visiting ComScore clients over the summer to explain in detail why they should continue working with the company. “We’re building optimism. … We are investing, and we are going to deliver on this huge industry problem.”
Wiener, who also played an active role in bringing Norman on, described the WPP veteran as “incredibly insightful about where the market is heading.”
“I will lean on him heavily for advice,” Wiener said.
The executive rollout appears to be working so far. Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group said he has a positive outlook for ComScore, describing Wiener as “a really good fit for what they need.”
Wiener officially starts his new job on May 30, with current executive vice chairman and president Bill Livek transitioning to the role of vice chairman of the board and special advisor to the CEO.