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Kantar to acquire BARC-contracted audio watermarking unit of Civolution

MUMBAI: It looks like WPP will play a role in Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), the new TV rating agency set to replace TAM Media Research.

In a significant move, Kantar Media, the 50 per cent owner of TAM, has agreed to acquire the audio watermarking unit of Civolution, the technology which BARC is going to use for its proposed audience measurement system.

Earlier, BARC had contracted Civolution to provide its watermarking technology to underpin one of the world’s largest audience measurement platforms. BARC had also selected the TV meter system of Médiamétrie for television, radio, cinema and the internet. The two companies are building the technology framework for audience measurement solution for BARC.

The Kantar Media – Civolution transaction, expected to close by the end of 2014, will enable Civolution to focus on two key growth markets – media protection and media data intelligence. It will also build on Kantar Media’s global presence and activities in digital audience measurement across all media in 60+ countries, the two companies said.

Civolution’s audio watermarking technology is deployed in hundreds of TV channels worldwide for the purpose of audience measurement and second screen synchronisation.

The watermarking unit will be transferred under the leadership of Jean-Michel Masson.

“We have long admired the expertise and skills of Jean-Michel and his team,” commented Kantar Media Audiences global CEO Richard Asquith. “In joining Kantar Media, they will strengthen our suite of technology to measure audiences for content across all devices in all formats. Broadcasters, agencies and advertisers can track viewing to their content across TV, tablet and mobile screens, and benefit from our ability to deliver accurate audience measurement as the media ecosystem continues to evolve.”

“We are very pleased to have reached agreement with Kantar Media to be the new home for our great audio watermarking team and products,” said Civolution CEO Alex Terpstra. “The marriage of Kantar Media’s vision for the industry and our cutting-edge technology is a very strong basis for further growth.”

Masson commented, “We are excited at the prospect of becoming part of Kantar Media. We already enjoy a successful history of co-operation with the business and look forward to working with broadcasters, agencies, industry bodies and the wider market across Kantar Media’s measurement footprint.”

The team will continue to be based in Rennes, France.

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Kantar enters BARC via purchase of Civolution’s audio watermarking unit