ComScore Grows Q4 Subscription Sales, Sets $125 Million Stock Buyback

Data measurement company and fellow Nielsen competitor absorbed Rentrak earlier this month

ComScore sales couldn’t quite keep up with Wall Street’s expectations for the fourth quarter of 2015, but the measurement company was either close to or beat expectations on earnings — depending on whom you ask.

Market analysts compiled by Yahoo Finance had forecast earnings per share (EPS) of 3 cents on $98.94 million in revenue. The Zacks consensus was higher at 12 cents, as media analysts became more bullish late in the game. On Wednesday morning, comScore reported a GAAP-based 11 cents on $97.7 million in sales. Non-GAAP EPS was $0.48.

Revenue for Q4 grew about 10 percent, led by subscription sales.

SCOR stock closed up on Tuesday due to that last-minute market excitement, reaching $37.58 at 4 p.m. ET. That was an increase of $1.98 per share, or 5.56 percent.

CEO Serge Matta believes both his financial assets and his newly merged Rentrak ones set the new comScore up to better compete with a company like Nielsen. That confidence led him to announce a new $125 million stock buyback program today.

“I’m very pleased to announce that comScore delivered record revenues, record adjusted EBITDA and strong net income from operations,” Matta said. “With the completion of our merger with Rentrak and the introduction of our new Total Home Panel, we are moving swiftly and decisively to deliver the cross media solutions and currencies we know our clients need.”

“We continue to see momentum in our audience and advertising solutions, including Media Metrix Multi-Platform and vCE,” he continued. “We kicked off 2016 with an important milestone, announcing Media Ratings Council accreditation for Media Metrix, the first time the MRC has accredited a digital audience measurement service.”

Rentrak and comScore finished their merger on Feb. 1. The new company — still named comScore — will now measure behavior on more than 260 million desktop screens, 160 million mobile phone screens, 95 million tablet screens, 40 million television screens, 120 million video-on-demand screens, and 40,000 movie theater screens representing well over a hundred million movie-goers.

At the time, comScore Vice Chairman and President Bill Livek aimed a warning shot at Nielsen: “The media industry can no longer be measured with samples in the thousands of households or individuals. The solutions our customers need must be based on unifying and making actionable massive amounts of information they can use as both a currency and to better manage their businesses. Our joint cultures have been living and breathing this mission from our companies’ inceptions.”

ComScore senior management will hold a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the recent financials, and Rentrak will probably come up once or twice too.

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