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NERC sees no immediate problems with the grid

Can ComScore Break Nielsen's Near-Monopoly On Ratings?

Most TV Everywhere Viewing Is Live TV In The Home

Consumer Insights Online Video User Overview

Public Companies Going Private

NERC sees no immediate problems with the grid

Despite concerns raised by the Trump administration, officials with the North American Electric Reliability Corp. said nothing in their new report indicates that retirements of coal-fired and nuclear power plants posed a reliability threat to the power grid in 2017.

"Every adequate level of reliability was met," James Merlo, vice president and director of reliability risk management at NERC, said at the June 21 release of the electric reliability organization's "State of Reliability 2018" report. The assessment recapped and analyzed reliability risk trends of the bulk power system in 2017.

"We found nothing in our backwards review that would make us concerned about any one fuel more than another," said Merlo. "It's just more about what is the performance of the grid."

NERC is also assessing the potential impacts that generation retirements could have on the bulk power system. That assessment is slated to be released in November. Concerned about the potential grid resilience impacts of recent and future coal-fired and nuclear power plants, President Donald Trump on June 1 directed the U.S. Department of Energy to take "immediate steps" to prevent the loss of "fuel-secure power facilities," including coal and nuclear plants.

But the only "forward-looking" risks NERC identified in the "fuel-agnostic" study were some resource challenges in Texas that already had been addressed in a recent summer report, Merlo said. NERC's territory encompasses the continental United States; most of Canada; and Baja California, Mexico.

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NERC's latest report said the bulk power system experienced no major events other than the two NERC "Category 5" events that occurred when hurricanes Harvey and that battered Texas and Florida in August and September of 2017, respectively. Even though power was lost to a record number of Florida customers, NERC said storm-impacted areas recovered in half the time it took to bounce back following Hurricane Wilma in 2015.

Merlo attributed the faster recovery efforts to money well-spent on "hardening the grid" since Wilma and on "human capital" and ingenuity that helped get the lights back on in hurricane-damaged areas, including the use of drones for assessing damaged power lines. "These are great measures of the resiliency [of] the most complicated machine in the world, [which] resides largely outside," he said.

The report also said North America's power grid suffered no loss-of-load from cyber or physical attacks in 2017, despite near-constant cyberattacks and "continually evolving" threats. Even though the report's current metrics do not address the number of successful cyberattacks or how many were thwarted or aborted, Merlo said NERC is looking at ways to collect, assess and include that data in future reports.

In addition, the report said 2017 saw the number of transmission outages caused by failures of protection system or alternating-current substation equipment or by human error continued to decline for the fifth year in a row. But, Merlo said, human error is a growing concern as equipment becomes more complex to operate.

NERC said frequency response performance rates varied in 2017 by interconnection but nonetheless remained acceptable. Protection systems misoperation rates also remained significant although they declined for the fifth consecutive year to an overall rate of 7.1% in 2017 from 8.3% in 2016. NERC said the three largest causes of misoperations in 2017 were the same as in 2016: incorrect settings, logic and design errors, relay failure or malfunctions, and communication failures.

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The year 2017 also saw NERC identify a previously unknown reliability risk of inverter-based resource controls tripping and disconnecting from the bulk power system during transmission disturbances. Merlo attributed the problem to the growing proliferation of solar generation.

The issue first came to NERC's attention during an August 2016 wildfire in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., when a 500-kV line fault resulted in a reduction of 1,000 MW grid-connected solar photovoltaic resources in California ISO's market. Then, a similar situation occurred during the Canyon 2 Fire east of Los Angeles in October 2017 when a 220-kV and a 500-kV line each suffered phase-to-phase faults with normal clearing that led to a reduction of over 900 MW of solar photovoltaic across the service territory of Edison International subsidiary Southern California Edison Co.

NERC found that the majority of such inverter-based resources tripped and disconnected thanks to subcycle transient overvoltages and instantaneous protective action at the inverters. A significant number of the inverters "also entered momentary cessation during and following the fault events," NERC said.

The power grid reliability organization has issued two alerts to resolve the issues and is working with stakeholders on a reliability guideline that Merlo said will look at how such "small events" could impose reliability risks going forward.

Technology, Media & Telecom
Can ComScore Break Nielsen's Near-Monopoly On Ratings?


The following post comes from Kagan, a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

To learn more about our TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications) products and/or research, please request a demo.

Sep. 17 2018 — Advertising agencies are becoming increasingly frustrated with the inability of Nielsen Holdings PLC's Nielsen Media Research to convince the major media companies to embrace its new cross-platform measurement system, called Total Audience Measurement. This creates a huge opportunity for comScore Inc., formerly Rentrak.

ComScore is trying to reinvent itself following its delisting in 2017 — it was relisted June 1 — following an accounting scandal. The company's stock has fallen from $65 per share intraday on Aug. 17, 2015, to close at just $18.06 per share on Sept. 6. It currently has a total enterprise value of less than $1.2 billion, paltry in comparison to Nielsen Holdings' $12.9 billion.

In April, comScore named Bryan Wiener, previously executive chairman of Dentsu's digital media agency 360i LLC, as its CEO. On Sept. 5, the company announced that it hired Sarah Hofstetter to serve as president and head up commercial strategy, including sales and marketing.

Wiener and Hofstetter have worked together for two decades, most recently at 360i, where Hofstetter was CEO and chairwoman. The two executives' deep ties to the advertising community may be just what is needed to bring a competing cross-platform measurement system to the broadcast and cable network industries.

Cable network ad revenue grew for decades before stumbling, albeit modestly, during the last recession. More recently, despite a booming economy the cable network ad industry has faltered, in part due to cord cutting and cord shaving but also because current ratings do not include all of online viewing and out-of-home viewing.

Currently, the ratings only include online viewing within a three-day period, which includes the exact same commercial load as linear. Many media companies do not believe that online viewers will tolerate the huge ad load that exists on linear TV and do not include the same commercial pods that appear on linear TV when serving up the shows online.

Although negotiations between Nielsen Media Research and the major media companies have been going on for some time, many in the industry are tired of the delays in adopting a new system and are looking at alternate ways to measure viewing.

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Technology, Media & Telecom
Most TV Everywhere Viewing Is Live TV In The Home


The following post comes from Kagan, a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence. To learn more about our TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications) products and/or research, please request a demo.

Summary: subscribers to telco operators were more likely to indicate they streamed TV Everywhere content compared to cable and DBS subscribers.

Sep. 17 2018 — Streaming live TV Everywhere to a mobile device inside the home is the TV Everywhere activity most often performed at 52% of multichannel TV respondents, according to data from Kagan’s MediaCensus online consumer survey.

While 58% of respondents surveyed in multichannel homes viewed TV Everywhere in the last three months, just 46% did so out of their home. Click here for the full Kagan report.

Viewing live TV inside the home was not only the TV Everywhere activity performed by the most respondents; it was also the most frequently performed.

Subscribers to telco operators were more likely to indicate they streamed TV Everywhere content compared to cable and DBS subscribers. Subscribers to some operators are more likely to stream TV Everywhere content, with AT&T U-verse (64%) being the highest and WOW! (42%) the lowest among operator subscribers surveyed.

Younger subscribers, especially Millennials, were more likely to stream TV Everywhere content compared to older subscribers.

For more information about the terms of access to the raw data underlying this survey, please contact

Data presented in this article is from the MediaCensus survey conducted in February 2018. The online survey included 20,035 U.S. internet adults matched by age and gender to the U.S. Census, with additional respondents subscribing to the top multichannel video operators in the U.S. The survey results have a margin of error of +/-0.7 ppts at the 95% confidence level. Generational segments are as follows: Gen Z: 18-20, Millennials: 21-37, Gen X: 38-52, Boomers/Seniors: 53+.

Consumer Insights is a regular feature from Kagan, a group within S&P Global Market Intelligence's TMT offering, providing exclusive research and commentary.

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Technology, Media & Telecom
Consumer Insights Online Video User Overview


49% of survey respondents use more than one SVOD service.

Sep. 14 2018 — Data from Kagan’s U.S. online consumer surveys shows that 23% of respondents exclusively use one service, while almost half (49%) use more than one SVOD service. The service which is most commonly used exclusively is Netflix, while users of smaller services almost always use at least one other service.

Netflix is so universally used that it is both the most exclusively used service and the service most often used in conjunction with another service. In terms of demographics, Netflix users are very similar to the general population compared to smaller services that tend to have a younger user base.

With the exception of Netflix, most respondents indicated they have never subscribed to the top four services, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and HBO NOW. Among those who indicated they dropped one of the top services, price was a principal reason for dropping, although content-specific reasons differed by service. Content is one of the most defining characteristics of online streaming services, which can be seen in the content viewed and most enjoyed on each service. In large part users of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video most enjoy the content each service is known for.

A broader overview of this data was presented in a recent webcast.

Data presented in this blog is from U.S. Consumer Insights surveys conducted in September 2017 and March 2018. The online survey included 2,526 (2017) and 2,523 (2018) U.S. internet adults matched by age and gender to the U.S. Census. The survey results have a margin of error of +/-1.9 ppts at the 95% confidence level.

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Capital Markets
Public Companies Going Private

Sep. 14 2018 — The recent tweet from Elon Musk has understandably made big news, but it is worth pointing out that the appetite for taking public companies private has been a key area of activity this year. S&P Global Market Intelligence’s data shows that 2018YTD is already at 39% of 2017 numbers, standing at €17.8bn of deal value across 32 completed deals, globally. Going-private closed deal count is at a healthy 49% compared to full 2017 numbers.

In terms of most popular sectors for going-private deals, since 2013 - Information Technology has been leading the pack with €108.9bn of aggregate deal value recorded across 104 deals, while Consumer Discretionary* is trending as a distant second with €49.7bn of total deal value.

The top target location for going private deals is the US, and interestingly – China comes in at second place, with UK following. The three regions have seen total deal size of €218.8 during the period of 2013 through 2018YTD. The popularity of these locations is further supported by the fact that after going private, average target’s EBITDA values have increased compared to when those companies were public. The US-based going private targets grew their EBITDA by average of 56% since leaving the public market, while Chinese and the UK-located companies grew EBITDA by 10% and 38%, respectively. Overall, the going private moves proved to be successful for ex-public companies globally within the 2013 – 2018YTD deals’ time frame, where their average Net Income values grew by 58% while EBITDA values grew by a smaller but yet attractive 29%.

In terms of the deal pipeline, 18 going-private deals were announced globally since 1st January 2018 and would add €25.8bn of aggregate deal value to already closed €17.8bn.

The following was originally published on Angel News on August 16, 2018: Public companies going private, S&P Global comment

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