comScore, Inc. (SCOR)

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comScore, Inc. (SCOR)

February 27, 2013 5:30 pm ET


Magid M. Abraham - Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, President and Director


John Egbert - Morgan Stanley, Research Division


John Egbert - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

I'm John Egbert, on Scott's Devitt's internet team. I'm pleased to have Magid Abraham, President and CEO of comScore; and Ken Tarpey, the CFO.

Before we started, let me just read through the Morgan Stanley disclosures.

Please note that all important disclosures, including personal holding disclosures and Morgan Stanley disclosures, appear on the Morgan Stanley public website at or the registration desk.

So, Magid and Ken, could you please start by giving a brief overview of comScore and talk a little bit about your history and primary offerings, who your customers are. And then we can dig into some deeper the Q&A.

Magid M. Abraham

Great, thank you. So comScore is a measurement and analytics company that has to do with helping customers understand the user behavior on all their digital assets, measuring it and make it available for them to optimize their strategy using digital media. We started in 1999 and we were, at that time, using a panel methodology of about 2 million users to be able to measure usage on desktop. And as the web evolved, we got into measuring e-commerce, we got into measuring video, into measuring audio, search, et cetera, et cetera. And all the technological change that has happened in the web -- on the web throughout that time period helped us come, basically, from a position of 0 market share to becoming the industry standard today in terms of audience measurement.

In 2009, we made a major enhancement to our measurement methodology where we asked our website clients to put tags on their sites and tags on their pages, so that every time somebody visits that page, and today, on mobile, would be that app or that mobile web -- mobile-optimized website or video, we will know that, that particular thing was used. So we have 100% accuracy in terms of measuring the tonnage of usage. And we have the demographics and the conversion from cookies to users, that's coming from the panel. So we unified that together to create a -- probably the most accurate measurement method that's available today, in terms of audiences.

We also, in 2010, after we started collecting this massive data, which by the way, we call the comScore Census Network. It's a network that comprises 90% of the top 100 media properties around the world, where -- that allows us -- that are so widespread it allows us to have a comScore cookie on virtually every device in the world. We realized that we're collecting all this data that could be useful for other purposes. So we made a couple of acquisitions to essentially move from a proprietary measurement company to a company that is providing a wide suite of analytical services, leveraging our measurement expertise, sometimes leveraging our proprietary data, but providing a more complete set of solutions for our client base and creating the opportunity to grow our revenue more substantially and create a much better engagement within our client. So in the last 3 years or so, we have been gradually executing this transformation, where we go from measurement that's used in buying or selling advertising or for market intelligence to analytics that can be done on-demand, in real-time, SaaS-based models that are poised to give comScore a new ramp on growth and a much bigger market opportunity.

John Egbert - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Okay, great. Could you talk just a little bit about your international expansion? Starting with your first countries, to your latest. And maybe what your coverage is like, in terms of the panel, from the biggest areas down to the smallest.

Magid M. Abraham

Sure. Of our -- when we talk about we have 2 million panelists, actually more than half of those are outside the U.S. and we were fortunate that kind of the method of recruiting that we had, basically, was not just limited to the U.S. It allowed us to be global from day 1. So naturally the first countries that we targeted were countries where the advertising, the digital advertising spend, is relatively large. So that included the U.K., Canada, countries in Western Europe. In 2011, we made a major push in Latin America, where we're now in all the major Latin American countries and we have either a unique position in the market or we're running as kind of the leading provider. And there is only 1 market that, that's the case and that's Brazil. And then we launched in the Far East. We have India, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and then Singapore and a bunch of other countries.

So in total we have 44 markets where we provide individually projectable data. Some of the markets are small in size, both in terms of the amount of advertising expenditures that go in that market and therefore the amount of revenue that we generate. And some of the markets also small in terms of sample size. But in a way, in some of those markets, the penetration that we can have, in terms of local sites, is limited to some of the top sites because the ones that can afford paying for our services have got to be the top sites. The smaller sites will just not be able to have a subscription to a premium service like ours.

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