Google’s (GOOG) AdPlanner, introduced Tuesday, has been cast as a comScore (SCOR) killer. Why? Because it provides Web analytics and media buying tools to agencies for free, while comScore charges agencies hefty fees for its “Plan Metrix” service.
But in a conference call hosted by Jeffries & Co. today, ComScore CEO Magid Abraham talked down the threat and threw down a gauntlet. If he really did think Google was going to eat into his business, he said, he’d retaliate by giving away his data to ad agencies: “We will give the damn thing to agencies for free”.
But, after looking at AdPlanner, Abraham says he won’t have to, at least not yet. He drew an analogy to the Web analytics market, where the presence of another free Google service, Google Analytics, hasn’t yet displaced a very expensive offering from Omniture.
Fees from ad agencies account for 10% of comScore’s revenue, so Abraham could theoretically make good on his promise without permanently crippling his business. But he’s betting on the fact that he won’t have to, primarily because of agency inertia – once they’ve settled on a standard, they’re loath to give it up (just ask TV and radio broadcasters about Nielsen and Arbitron, respectively). They are also leery about using an analytics product provided by a company they think is trying to run them out of business (and is also a customer/partner – hence “frenemy“).
That said, agencies and other media companies do seem willing to integrate more sources of data, not less. So comScore may be forced to rethink its pricing structure at some point, regardless of what Google does. A number of agencies are testing another free free media planning-and-analytics tool from Quantcast, which is getting positive reviews in the agency world.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.