Nielsen to acquire Gracenote from Tribune Media for $560M

Nielsen is spending $560 million to acquire Gracenote from Tribune Media, with Gracenote a familiar platform for millions of people providing programming reference information for movies and TV shows on cable systems and smart TVs, as well as streaming music services and auto infotainment systems.

“Thanks to its unrivaled music, TV, movie and sports databases, Gracenote is central to the consumption of digital entertainment by consumers,” the company said. “Gracenote is the only global company providing data in the four largest and most popular categories of entertainment at scale, including descriptions of virtually every song, TV show and movie ever produced, along with sports scores and statistics for all of the world’s top leagues and teams.”

Gracenote will continue to operate from its headquarters in Emeryville, Calif. “Gracenote’s metadata and content recognition technology fuels the interfaces of the major video, music and in-car infotainment systems that consumers engage with every day. This acquisition provides Nielsen with a significant asset in our mission of measuring and understanding consumer behavior,” said Karthik Rao, president, Expanded Verticals at Nielsen.

“Over the last three years, under Tribune’s ownership, we’ve transformed Gracenote into a global data powerhouse and Nielsen’s acquisition ushers in an exciting new chapter for our people, products and customers,” said John Batter, Gracenote’s CEO. “Nielsen is a natural home for Gracenote. Both companies have entertainment data at their core and have spent years delivering services to the world’s top media brands. Bringing together our data for driving discovery and tune-in with Nielsen’s deep insights about what people are watching, listening to and buying makes a formidable combination.”

Gracenote traces its history to 1918 with the launch of a predecessor company that syndicated newspaper columns and comic strips, then aggregating TV listings at the birth of the small-screen era. Gracenote provides reference information for more than 12 million movie and television listings and 200 million music tracks.

Chicago-based Tribune acquired Gracenote in January 2014 for $161 million, subsequently tacking on additional businesses in the sphere. Tribune stated it will use the majority of the proceeds to pay off debt which totaled $4 billion as of September.

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