Rentrak Adds Additional Ohio Sub for Ratings

Rentrak announced Wednesday (Feb. 10) it has signed a third subscriber to its set-top-box-based local TV ratings in Columbus, Ohio, the 34th largest TV market. WCMH, Media General’s NBC affiliate joins WWHO, LIN TV’s The CW affiliate and WTTE-TV, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Fox affiliate.

Though Rentrak’s daily TV service does not provide demographics, stations are attracted to larger samples than Nielsen uses for its local TV ratings, second-by-second data and the more affordable cost. Rentrak also offers new metrics that measure viewer involvement with programming.

“This cutting-edge technology from Rentrak will enhance our current measuring capabilities and provide greater insight for our adverisers with larger samples from tens of thousands of digital set-top boxes,” said Dan Bradley, vp and general manager of WCMH.

Since Rentrak launched its StationView Essentials service in December, the research firm has signed deals with seven stations owned by Sinclair, three owned by Sunflower and one station each owned by Media General and LIN TV.

Earlier this week, Rentrak announced a deal to integrate DISH Network’s 15 million subscribers into its ratings service, which was originally based on the 2 million subscribers to AT&T’s U-Verse service.

The company is looking to its audience measurement services to offset the challenges in its core per-per-transaction division. Media information revenue grew for the fiscal third quarter, ending Dec. 31, 2009 by $1.1 million to $4.3 million, offseting a $1.1 million decline to $18.8 million in its core services.

“Rentrak has been successful in moving our revenue and profit mix toward our AMI division, which is now close to 20 percent of our total revenue,” said Bill Livek, Rentrak’s Chief Executive Officer.

For the quarter, Rentrak had an operating loss of $1.3 million, down significantly from a small operating profit of $475,000 a year ago.