ComScore Turns Profit, Plans International Expansion

Panel-based Internet audience measurement firm comScore Networks announced Monday it’s reached profitability and garnered a $12 million investment that will go toward international expansion, and possibly to acquisitions.

ComScore boasted of achieving profitability less than four years since its founding, adding that it defined the term as being cash-flow positive. As a privately held company, it isn’t required to make its financial statements public.

ComScore also trumpeted signing a long-term service contract with an unnamed client, which will bring the company $18 million over five years. ComScore didn’t disclose what services it will provide.

“This contract, which we believe to be the largest to date in our industry, is a powerful confirmation of the value of the consumer insight that comScore provides to its clients,” said Magid Abraham, president and chief executive officer of comScore, in a statement.

ComScore’s current clients include Microsoft, Kraft, The New York Times Company, Best Buy, Verizon, Nestlé, Wells Fargo & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Orbitz.

The $12 million financing is comScore’s Series E round. Participants include Accel Partners, Adams Street Partners, JP Morgan Partners, Flatiron Partners, Institutional Venture Partners, Topspin Partners and vSpring Capital — all of which have previously invested in the company. With this round of financing, comScore’s total capitalization to date is approximately $88 million.

The money will be going to expand comScore’s services internationally, and may fund possible acquisitions. Although the company’s largest panel, which it taps for its reports and insight, consists of 1.5 million global Internet users, comScore has thus far only established offices in the U.S. and Canada.

“Obviously Europe is very important,” said Abraham. “But so is Latin America. We’re looking at Mexico, Brazil, Argentina as well as a lot of other countries. Those are the countries that we will put some emphasis on.”

Rather than establish offices in other markets, Abraham says the company’s approach will be to leverage its international panel data, adding that its current panel gives it sufficient data to provide useful information about 30 markets. “We are being very careful about where we are opening offices,” he said, “because that can become very costly and want to make sure that the demand is there.”

Most of the expansion activity in the Internet audience measurement space has lately occurred as companies established outside the U.S. market begin to try to gain a foothold here. Australian firm HitWise launched operations in the U.S. in May, boasting it could provide more comprehensive measurements more quickly — and more cheaply.

On the acquisitions front, comScore’s Abraham said it would look at “companies that have an established client base but would benefit from our panel and our infrastructure to create both a better product and a more cost-effective product.”

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