TV ratings giant Nielsen eyes startup scene through marketing-centric VC

As people move to new platforms on the web and mobile for entertainment and other content, ratings giant Nielsen is turning to startups as a new source to help understand this audience’s changing behavior.

The company, which is best known for measuring TV audiences,  is now backing Pereg Ventures, a new venture capital firm that plans to invest in startups in the U.S. and Israel in market intelligence and advertising.

As part of the arrangement, Nielsen (s NLSN) is taking a minority stake in the VC and its executive vice president for global business development, Itzhak Fisher, will serve as a partner and chairman for Pereg.

The venture firm will operate independently of Nielsen, but will use Nielsen insights and, Fisher told Crain’s New York that Pereg will help Nielsen focus on technology that helps marketers close the gap between “watch and buy.”

“You have the ability to get much better ROI for your advertising money [with these tools], and these are the kinds of services Nielsen is getting into,” he said.

While it’s clear that people increasingly consume all kinds of content on all of their digital devices, advertisers are struggling to monitor that behavior and reach them most effectively. The approaches to analytics are slowly changing – in October, Nielsen introduced its new Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings to measure the number of people who saw a campaign on TV and digitally and, last month, comScore (s SCOR) unveiled a new set of metrics that considers mobile and traditional web traffic. But it’s still early days and Nielsen’s hope is that entrepreneurs and startups will be able to help them give marketers and edge.

It’s expected the Pereg will raise $50 million and invest in about 15 startups that are beyond the early seed stage, Crain’s reported. About 80 percent of the investments will be domestic, with the remainder in Tel Aviv – a hotbed of digital innovation, especially in ad tech.