Nielsen to Buy Exelate, Bolster Programmatic Chops

As advertisers rapidly abandon gross rating points for targeted programmatic buys, legacy researchers such as Nielsen are forced to adapt. The ratings giant has apparently made a bold step in that direction today by agreeing to acquire Exelate, a data exchange used by agencies to inform programmatic ad buys.

The price paid will be around $200 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the news of the deal today. Exelate claims to own the largest independent third-party data set in the world, with the most sources of data across all devices. Its enterprise data platform lets customers manage first- and third-party data for targeting likely purchasers across more than 125 mobile, video, display, and smart TV platforms.

Nielsen Global President Steve Hasker told the Journal that he wants Nielsen to be ready when programmatic buying—still primarily an online ad phenomenon—migrates into the $70 billion TV advertising market. “While we are starting in digital video, we think it will—if and when the market is ready—go to a broader television ecosystem,” Hasker said.

Programmatic buys more than doubled since 2013 and now make up more than half of online display ad volume, according to eMarketer. The researcher predicts programmatic buys will near the $15 billion mark this year and $20 billion in 2016.

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