Nielsen Acquires Artificial Intelligence-powered Sports Marketing Startup vBrand

vBrand’s Advanced Machine Learning Platform Will Be Integrated into Growing Nielsen Sports Business for Added Speed and Scale

New York, NY – Aug. 3, 2017 – Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) today announced it has acquired vBrand, an Israel-based technology startup that has developed a machine learning-enabled platform to measure brand exposure and impact in sports programming. vBrand and its technology will be fully integrated into Nielsen Sports, bringing increased delivery speed and scale to the company’s existing flagship sports products, Sport24 and Social24. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition of vBrand’s advanced technology supercharges Nielsen Sports’ already industry-leading sponsorship measurement capabilities and methodologies, considered among the most robust in sports. vBrand’s machine learning will significantly accelerate the speed at which Nielsen Sports’ logo recognition and media monitoring technologies locate and calculate brand positions on screen. Specifically, the vBrand technology could allow brands and rights holders to monitor and track sponsorship visibility within hours of an event and make adjustments to digital signage and social campaigns within a tournament, competition weekend or season.

Sports marketing is increasingly important for brands looking to reach consumers in a competitive and fragmented marketplace. With fans reliably tuning in to watch their favorite leagues, teams and athletes, global sports and entertainment sponsorship spend is projected to exceed $60 billion in 2017 alone. Nielsen Sports’ flagship marketing solutions already measure millions of hours of content per year, helping to deliver analytics and insights to more than 1,700 of the top rights holders, brands, agencies and broadcasters.

Howard Appelbaum, President, Nielsen Entertainment, said:

“This is an exciting acquisition that demonstrates our continued ambition and commitment to our sports clients. Bringing vBrand’s technology into Nielsen Sports’ existing sponsorship valuation process will further expand the scale of programming and events it covers around the world. It will also provide timely exposure information, enabling clients to make smarter and faster decisions on sponsorship placement. Nielsen Sports’ brand exposure data and metrics are considered currency in the global sports marketplace, and we’re delighted to strengthen that further with this acquisition.”

Yael Dor, CEO, vBrand, said:

“The acquisition of vBrand by Nielsen is a great opportunity to continue our journey and take our offering to the next level. We are confident that our cutting-edge technology, combined with Nielsen’s platform, will extend its leadership position in the market by providing sports marketers with transparency and clarity on sports sponsorship investments.”

Tamir Rubinsky, Co-Founder & CTO, vBrand, added:

“We are excited to be a part of Nielsen and empower its sports analytics business with our unique technology of video analytics and deep learning.” 

The accelerated growth of vBrand is driven in part by the design partnerships the company has built as an alumnus of the 2016 class of ‘The Bridge’ Program, a partnership between Coca-Cola, Turner and Mercedes-Benz that is focused on finding leading technologies and creating commercialization opportunities with the three brands.

The Nielsen acquisition is the latest milestone in an already well-established relationship between the two companies, as the Tel Aviv-based vBrand is a graduate of Nielsen Innovate—Nielsen’s early-stage technology incubator licensed by the Israel Innovation Authority (previously known as the Office of the Chief Scientist of Israel).

Dov Yarkoni, CEO, Nielsen Innovates, said:

“Using a slightly different approach to most incubators, Nielsen Innovate mentors and shepherds the companies they back, in addition to providing an investment, with a goal of helping early-stage startups become successful, scalable global businesses.”

Since its foundation in 2013, Nielsen Innovate has funded 18 new companies, many of which have already piloted or sold their solutions to some of Nielsen’s biggest clients in the U.S., Europe and China.

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ABOUT NIELSEN

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content—video, audio and text—is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com and for more information on Nielsen Innovate please visit www.nif.vc.

ABOUT vBRAND

vBrand was founded by Tamir Rubinsky and Eli Ben-David and is the leading provider of real-time sports sponsorship measurement, planning and maximizing data analytics across all platforms. vBrand’s platform utilizes advanced image recognition technology, along with proprietary AI, and deep learning applications, to determine sports sponsorship exposure valuations across linear TV, digital TV, the web and social media. The platform automatically and accurately detects on a frame-by-frame basis whenever a sponsor’s logo is visible to the human eye, while simultaneously weighing factors impacting each sponsor exposure such as duration, size, and image clarity. vBrand’s platform then analyzes all of that cross-platform data in real time. For more information, please visit: www.vbrandsports.com.

CONTACTS

Media Relations: Tom Scott, tom.scott@nielsen.com, mobile + 44 7824 991 579

Gina Katzmark, gina.katzmark@nielsen.com, mobile +1.218.310.2259