Standard Media Index (SMI) has joined forces with Nielsen to provide additional insight into the national television market. The new business relationship will increase SMI’s network reach by nearly two-thirds, combining Nielsen’s TV ratings and occurrence data with SMI’s cost analysis.

James Fennessy, CEO of Standard Media Index told AList that the two companies have been in talks for a few years now and that Nielsen’s data is simply “more accurate.”

“We’ve always believed that the ability to cooperate between our organizations holds great potential for major television networks, agencies and for brands,” said Fennessy in an interview. “It allows us to look at different kinds of TV in terms of syndication and it allows us to look at some of the new and emerging ad formats that Nielsen is uniquely qualified to pick up.”

SMI is able to provide accurate cost data around TV marketing because it sources the information from five out of the seven major media holding groups, as well as several independents. Beginning on October 23, SMI will have access to Nielsen AD Intel that measures occurrence level data, increasing the firm’s reach to 130 channels.

The data relationship between SMI and Nielsen is an answer to the current TV advertising market, Fennessy explained, where digital raises many questions.

“We see major networks building advanced data products,” he said. “Clearly what they’re looking to do is bring in datasets—ratings, advanced audiences, etc. Those models are being used to target brands and advertisers and to prove return on investment. That has always been quite difficult to do in national television.”

Advertising on national TV works, Fennessy observed, adding that the high cost is a trade-off for large engaged audiences, a safe brand environment and quality programming. Ironically, he said, digital networks like Amazon and Google have tapped out their own reach and are now using traditional TV to advertise.

“It talks to the power of the medium,” he said.

SMI’s data relationship with Neilsen is part of an ongoing effort to work on data partnerships and combine different datasets. Fennessy told AList that SMI will continue to improve TV measurement across digital and traditional channels and that the company will release a new syndication tool in early 2019.