WCMH-TV Signs Up Rentrak

COLUMBUS, OHIO: WCMH-TV is the third station to sign up for detailed local audience measurement in this Midwestern market. The Media General-owned NBC affiliate cut an agreement to use Rentrak’s StationView Essentials service, which taps into set-top boxes to collect viewer data. LIN TV’s CW affiliate, WWHO-TV; and Sinclair’s Fox, WTTE-TV, also use the service.

Rentrak launched the broadcast-centric measurement service in December, with Sunflower Broadcasting as the first to sign up its Kansas CBS, CW and Univision stations. The service provides greater detail than typical Nielsen measurements, including live reporting, cable performance, duplication and retention details.

Sinclair signed up in late December for WSYX-TV (ABC) and WTTE-TV (Fox) in Columbus,; WCGV-TV (MyNet) and WVTV-TV (CW) in Milwaukee; KABB-TV (Fox) and KMYS-TV (MyNet) in San Antonio, Texas; and KDNL-TV (ABC) in St. Louis, Missouri. LIN TV signed up WWHO last month.

Rentrak focused initially on video-on-demand, which got its software into set-top boxes with Comcast in 2004. The following year, Comcast made the data available to content providers. By early 2008, Rentrak had 26 participating cable systems, and last March launched a version of Essentials for non-rated cable networks, signing up The Inspiration Network with its 56-million subscriber footprint. Rentrak also jumped into mobile measurement in the last year, with MobiTV and broadcasting’s Open Mobile Video Coalition, which is beta testing mobile DTV in Washington, D.C.

Rentrak’s own footprint burgeoned this week through a deal giving it access to Dish Network 14 million more TVs. (See “Rentrak to Measure Through Dish Network.”)

The Portland, Ore. company reported fiscal 2010 third-quarter results this week, posting a net loss of $579,000, or 5 cents a share, on revenues of $23.1 million. Without one-time expenditures, net income would have been $800,000. Rentrak (NASDAQ: RENT) shares are down nearly 3 percent year-to-date to $17.23 (12:41 EST). -- Deborah D. McAdams