- TV ad measurement firm iSpot.TV has hired investment bank Jefferies to run a process, sources said.
- The outcome could lead to a new round of financing, or an acquisition, possibly by a PE firm.
- The news comes amid a flurry of dealmaking in the TV adtech space.
TV ad-measurement company iSpot.TV is exploring new financing, according to multiple sources familiar with the plans.
The Bellevue, Washington-based firm has appointed investment bank Jefferies to handle the process, which began late last year, one of those people said. Some of the sources speculated it was likely a private-equity company would make a majority or minority investment in the firm amid a flurry of recent PE activity in the adtech space.
“iSpot can’t comment on its relationship with investors, but we can say the focus for everyone at the company is on the acceleration of iSpot as a trusted currency and we are evaluating investment partners that give us the best opportunity to continue to modernize measurement,” an iSpot.TV spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for Jefferies declined to comment.
Founded in 2012, iSpot.TV uses data from more than 50 million smart TVs, plus
platforms and ad-buying platforms, to track the ads and programs viewers are watching in real-time. The company also helps marketers link whether their ads drove searches for their brand, conversations on social media, and sales. It also offers marketers data on how viewers emotionally responded to their ads.
ISpot.TV’s clients have included Google, American Express, and TD Ameritrade, the company says on its website. The company has raised a total of $57.8 million in investment to date, according to PitchBook.
News of a potential financing or sale of a majority stake comes on the heels of iSpot.TV scoring a landmark deal with NBCUniversal. The pair are currently testing an alternative to Nielsen TV ratings — the industry’s long-running video measurement standard currency — during NBCU’s broadcasts of the Olympics and the Super Bowl.
Tensions have been rising between media companies and Nielsen in recent years as the measurement company has struggled to count increasingly fragmented TV audiences. Those tensions reached boiling point last year when Nielsen said it had undercounted some linear TV and streaming audiences in 2020 and 2021. Influential trade body the Media Rating Council yanked its accreditation of Nielsen’s national and local TV ratings service in September.
Nielsen’s issues have opened the door for a newer batch of TV ad measurement firms to boost their profiles and attract new investor dollars. Last year, VideoAmp raised $275 million in funding at a $1.4 billion post-money valuation. Smart-TV measurement firm Samba TV filed to go public late last year. Elsewhere, adtech company Innovid this week acquired TVSquared in a cash and stock deal that valued the TV firm at $160 million.
More broadly, M&A activity has significantly picked up in recent months. There were a total of 90 adtech transactions in 2021, up 200% on last year, according to investment bank Luma Partners. Companies in the $16 billion “connected-TV” space drove much of the activity, alongside PE firms, which have also been leading many private financings in the sector, Luma said in its latest market report.