After we posted a blog last month comparing Nielsen with Rentrak, Rentrak reached out to us and sent us some updated information on their company. Below are some of the items we pulled from the fact sheet they sent. They should help to add some clarity on what Rentrak is.
- Rentrak does collect demographic data – age, gender, income, political party, and education. The demographic data is matched at the household level of what is being watched on TV. No research company is able to say who exactly in the household is sitting in front of the TV.
- Rentrak does not just collect data from satellite homes anymore. In addition to AT&T and Charter homes, they collect data from Cable and Telco homes. Additionally, they use a model that is based on research on market behaviors obtained by third parties, like Simmons, to estimate OTA (Over the Air) viewership.
- In the original article, we say Rentrak acquired a local TV measurement service, but acquired should be changed to built. Rentrak built the measurement service from the ground up and now has 200+ TV stations as clients.
- In the original article, we called Rentrak’s model “passive participation” but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate this. Rentrak measures viewing behaviors of people who are simply watching TV in their homes. The only action the viewer takes to be counted is turning on their TV. They do not compensate the viewers they measure, they do not coach them, and they don’t have to remind them to fill out a diary or push a button.
- Rentrak’s national measurement footprint is now 11,500,000 households, or over 30,000,000 TVs. Nielsen has 30,000 households nationally.
- Rentrak says the reason they report higher viewership levels is because they count multiple TV’s if they are tuned into the same program, Nielsen does not. And, like we said before, Rentrak measures far more cable channels than Nielsen, resulting higher viewing levels.