Dish Network gets 7% stake in Rentrak in exchange for exclusive set-top data

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Rentrak (Nasdaq: RENT) struck a deal with Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) that will give it a 7 percent stake in the company in exchange for exclusive rights to use data culled from set-tops in Dish subscriber homes in its ratings service, the company said Thursday in a quarterly earnings release.

The deal could help Rentrak compete with Nielsen and other measurement companies. While Nielsen relies mostly on samples taken from diaries and meters installed in homes to track TV viewing, Rentrak uses anonymous data collected directly from cable- and satellite-TV subscribers. The Portland, Ore.-based company markets a "TV Essentials" audience measurement service to TV networks, local TV stations, advertisers and ad agencies.

Rentrak said that it will also pay Dish $5.8 million in cash and give it 700,000 shares of its common stock to compensate the satellite TV provider for providing it with set-top data since 2008. It noted that Dish hasn't received any payments since it began supplying it with set-top data.

"Our long-term partnership with DISH has helped produce the most comprehensive measurement system for television viewing across every zip code in America," Rentrak CEO Bill Livek said in a statement.

Rentrak disclosed the Dish agreement on Thursday when it reported earnings for its fiscal first quarter of 2013. The company generated $23.2 million in revenue, up about $1 million compared to the same period last year. It posted a net loss of $618,000 (6 cents per share), compared to a net loss of $399,000 (3 cents per share) this time last year.

For more:
- see the earnings release

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