Nielsen Acquires Sorenson Media Assets for $11.25 Million

US measurement company Nielsen has bought addressable TV advertising specialist Sorenson Media’s assets for $11.25 million, following a bidding process held in Utah.

Nielsen has not yet spoken about its intentions for its new acquisition, and had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing. But there will likely be value to Nielsen in Sorenson’s data partnerships. Sorenson says it partners with smart TV manufacturers for access to anonymised data, which it uses for its addressable TV ad targeting.

And if Nielsen wants to maintain Sorenson’s addressable TV products, it will be able to funnel its own existing data into the offering. Nielsen already partners with a number of third parties who use its data for their own addressable TV ad products, including DISH and Sony.

Sorenson Media was put up for auction after filing for chapter 11 protection last year. Having started life as a video compression and coding tech company, Sorenson Media shifted towards addressable TV advertising in recent years with its ‘Spark Platform’. But the company had reached a difficult situation financially after becoming stuck with “onerous relationships”, according to a filing with the District of Utah Bankruptcy Court.

In particular, a deal with US telco Sinclair Broadcast Group to provide addressable TV advertising had become problematic. The deal had seen Sorenson provide data and sell ad impressions on networks owned by Sinclair, but had required Sorenson to make minimum guaranteed payments in return. The impressions provided by Sinclair were only able to provide “a fraction of the payments needed” to meet these minimum payments, according to Sorenson.

There were further signs of trouble in the UK too, after a deal to work with UK broadcaster ITV on a new addressable TV advertising product fell through.

“As is common with emerging technology companies, in the early stages of development, the capital requirements of the company are far greater than any revenues generated,” said the filing.

But the company remains confident that there is value in its tech, saying that the team and the tech have “incredible potential”.

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