Changing TV Industry Leads Nielsen to Acquire Exelate | Digital – Advertising Age.

Nielsen has acquired data management player Exelate. The deal price was approximately $200 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In an interview with the Journal, Nielsen president Steve Hasker indicated his company anticipates TV ad sales moving towards a more automated future.

While programmatic ad-buying at the moment is largely a feature of the online advertising world, Mr. Hasker said he wants Nielsen to be ready if and when it moves into the $70-billion U.S. television advertising market.

“If and when” TV gets there, the digitally-focused Exelate can help Nielsen maintain its data dominance in such a world. Television ads today are still largely brought on a reach and frequency basis, which is why Nielsen’s ratings and research matter to brands trying to gauge the impact of their ads.

But if TV ads begin selling in a manner that more closely resembles digital, where ads can be served to individuals based on their interests, then Nielsen would face a major challenge to its core business.

Programmatic advertising was one of the three emerging areas the company said it was looking to tackle in a December interview with Ad Age, along with wearables and in-car viewing.

Within the ad industry, it’s widely believed that automated TV buying is at least a year or two away from reaching a meaningful level of activity

Exelate’s business has two main parts: The first is what the company calls a data exchange, or data marketplace, where it accumulates data from around 200 data sources and makes it available to advertisers and advertising technology companies to help them better target their advertising. This data is gathered primarily through “cookies” that eXelate drops on people’s Internet browsers and uses to track their online behaviors.

“We work with online publishers to find purchase intent, such as the fact that someone might be in the market for an airline ticket based on some of their behavior online, or might be interested in a flat screen television based on online behavior that we have seen across the internet,” said Mark Zagorski, CEO of eXelate.

The second part of the business is a data management platform, or DMP, that holds large stores of data and organizes them in ways that can be used for advertisers and online publishers.

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