Rentrak Inks Deal With Ohio CW Affiliate

Chipping away at Nielsen’s dominance in local TV ratings, Rentrak announced Wednesday (Jan. 6) it had signed WWHO, LIN TV’s CW affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, to its StationView Essentials ratings service.

LIN TV is the third TV group Rentrak has signed since the launch of its local TV ratings product in mid-December. In December, Rentrak announced deals with seven stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group and three stations owned by Sunflower Broadcasting.

Rentrak’s daily TV ratings are based on set-top box data from AT&T’s U-Verse subscription TV service. Though the service does not provide demographics, stations are attracted to larger samples than Nielsen uses for its local TV ratings and the more affordable cost.

“Rentrak provides a sample that is substantially larger than the 400 in-tab we were getting,” said Scott Blumenthal, executive vp of television for LIN TV, which elected not to renew its Nielsen contract for Columbus at the end of December. “Rentrak provides a guideline for viewership. We’re testing it to see how it pans out.”

Whether or not Rentrak will be used as the currency for buying and selling in the markets where it has agreements remains to be seen. Columbus, Ohio, where Rentrak provides ratings for both LIN TV and two Sinclair stations, could turn out to be an interesting trial.