Nielsen acquires entertainment data specialist Gracenote

Nielsen acquires entertainment data specialist Gracenote

Global data and market research company Nielsen is beefing up its data offering with the acquisition of Gracenote from media group Tribune Media Company.

The transaction is valued at $560 million (£453m). The companies expect the transaction to be finalised in the first quarter of 2017.

In a statement, Nielsen said it acquired "the data and technology that underpins the programming guides and personalised user experience for major video, music, audio and sports content." Gracenote will continue to operate from its headquarters in Emeryville, California and will operate as a business unit within Nielsen.

The acquisition extends Nielsen's footprint by including Gracenote's global content database which spans across platforms including multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), smart televisions, streaming music services, connected devices, media players and in-car infotainment systems. Gracenote drives the interfaces of the major streaming digital media services, as well as the connected technology systems in over 75 million automobiles.

Gracenote, founded 20 years ago as CDDB, an identifier of CD data, has grown over the years to become one of the largest sources of metadata on entertainment content with reference information for over 12m movie and television listings, from the acquisition of Baseline in 2014, and 200 million music tracks.

Gracenote's global content database is used on multiple platforms such as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), smart televisions, streaming music services, connected devices, media players and in-car infotainment systems. Clients include Apple, Amazon, Yahoo!, Spotify, among others.

It is not the first time that the company changes ownership. In 1998, CDDB was acquired by consumer electronics manufacturer Escient, which renamed the company Gracenote in 2000. In 2008, Gracenote was acquired by Sony for $260m to be then sold to Tribune for $170m in 2014.

"Gracenote's metadata and content recognition technology fuels the interfaces of the major video, music and in-car infotainment systems that consumers engage with every day. This acquisition provides Nielsen with a significant asset in our mission of measuring and understanding consumer behavior," said Karthik Rao, president, expanded verticals at Nielsen.

"For the past decade, Gracenote has connected millions of people every day to the TV shows, sports, movies and music they love, making entertainment more accessible and discoverable," said John Batter, CEO of Gracenote. "We are excited for the opportunity to take the next step with Nielsen and expand our global reach by continuing to deliver innovative, insights-based solutions to clients."

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