Kantar invests in TRA, a new media research firm

11 Feb 2008

New York, NY – February 11, 2008 – TRA, Inc. (http://www.traglobal.com) today announced the only scalable advertising research system that measures and reports true ROI accountability and transparency for advertising spend. TRA brings precise measurement of advertising effectiveness by matching the ads people actually receive with the products people actually buy. Advertisers now have a new way to find out precisely what they are getting for their money.

TRA’s comprehensive, customizable, online dashboard reports on actual advertising performance will allow advertisers, advertising agencies, cable and broadcast companies to get detailed, actionable data to support media and creative investment decisions. This is particularly valuable in today’s increasingly fractured and diverse media and advertising landscape.

TRA combines second-by-second measurement of TV viewing from digital set top boxes with verified offline purchasing behavior. It is the first element in an in-depth research system that will ultimately measure the effectiveness of all significant advertising media, nationwide. This provides a real, “to the second” single source measurement tool while maintaining the privacy and anonymity of consumers. TRA plans to match all-media consumption and buying behavior from more than 1,000,000 national households, establishing TRA as the leading provider of measurement services for media and marketing decision-makers seeking verifiable increased ROI.

“TRA is giving us deeper insight into television audience dynamics, uncovering new hidden dimensions of this complex, evolving medium,” said David F. Poltrack, Chief Research Officer, CBS Inc. and President, CBS Vision. “The most promising aspect of TRA’s database is the marrying of television viewing data with product consumption data. This will allow us to provide a direct ROI measure to advertisers, a measure that some might argue is more relevant than the age/sex surrogate measures that serve as the television medium’s currency today.”

Savvy advertisers and their agencies are now able to enjoy a new level of intelligence to allow brands to clearly target their most receptive audiences down to the anonymized household level and measure and maximize their return on media spending.

“TRA’s platform is an important step in the industry’s migration to the use of anonymized census level data that is cross tabulated with purchase and behavior characteristics,” said Irwin Gotlieb, Chief Executive Officer of GroupM. “This data is crucial if the industry is going to exploit the tremendous potential of addressability, which allows individual consumers to view specifically targeted, relevant advertising based on their propensity to purchase, not just their program choice.”

Founded by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Lieberman, an experienced entrepreneur, and advertising industry measurement pioneer Bill Harvey, TRA employs proprietary measurement technologies and proven algorithms developed and refined over a 10-year period. Lieberman said, “For several years, we’ve been quietly building the company, recruiting a world class team, entering into strategic alliances and specifically refining our technology platform to address an unmet need in the advertising industry.”

In August of 2007, TRA closed its first institutional financing round led by Kodiak Ventures, WPP/Kantar Media Research and unnamed angels. TRA’s Board includes John Billock, the former Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Time Warner Cable, Burt Manning, the former Chief Executive Officer of J. Walter Thompson, Bruce Barnet, the former President of Reed Elsevier North America, Chip Meakem, general partner from Kodiak Ventures, and Bill McKenna, the President of KMR, North America.

"Understanding the true return on investment of media spend is one of, if not the biggest issue for advertisers today. With a unique combination of a world class team, market leading technology and strategic partnerships with key industry stakeholders, TRA has created an industry-changing advertising ROI solution," said Chip Meakem, General Partner at Kodiak Venture Partners.

Billions are spent on advertising annually, $70 billion of which was spent on television last year alone. However, TV is one of the most difficult media to accurately measure. Over the past two years, Internet advertising doubled due to the perception of better accountability than with television; simply using more granular viewership data from set top boxes without correlating that data to purchasing behavior will not reverse that trend.

Founder and President of TRA, Bill Harvey, said, “TRA marks the passing of the media measurement industry from the Industrial Age into the Digital Information Age. In the Industrial Age, media measurement was typified by small samples, installation of expensive hardware in homes, and decision making based on potential eyeball counts with unknown relationship to sales effects. Now the Digital Age allows us to replace expensive hardware with scalable software, leveraging already-existing near-census databases including set top box and actual purchase data.”

TRA, Inc. (http://www.traglobal.com) is a media market research company whose proprietary technology cost effectively matches the ads that people actually receive with the products people actually buy; giving advertisers, agencies, and media transparency, accountable measurement, and return-on-investment for their advertising spend. TRA’s Online Reports will provide both Television Audience Measurement (TAM) and Return on Investment (ROI) data. TRA's engine has the ability to cross-tabulate second-by-second advertising audience data from a significant number of television digital set boxes (DSTBs) with other media touchpoints and actual household product purchasing data in the same homes while protecting the privacy of the household. TRA’s Web-based dashboard research reports permit advertisers and agencies to reallocate their advertising, shifting money to advertising that produces higher sales per dollar. TRA was founded by industry experts who have been in the media research industry for more than 25 years and have built and run digital media companies in the market research, video-on-demand, Internet video and information publishing industries. TRA’s board is comprised of experienced financial investors and strategic investors representing key players in the media ecosystem.