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Marketing to Women: Nielsen and Arbitron to Monopolize Ratings

Posted on the 19 December 2012 by Jamiedunham @jdunham

nielsen-logoNielsen announced plans to buy Arbitron for $1.26 billion yesterday, extending the company’s monopoly reach on TV ratings in the U.S. to radio as well.  So what does that mean?  Well, unless regulatory review puts a halt to it,  it means that our media consumption lives will be measured across most media by Nielsen.

According to Media Post,  Nielsen will be the sole supplier of advertising trading currency for three major media: TV, online and radio. ”It makes Nielsen the currency for $85 billion in advertising — $68 billion for TV and $17 billion for radio,” Brad Adgate, senior vice president-director of research at Horizon Media, estimates of just the TV and radio portion of Nielsen’s market position.

Arbitron and Nielsen long have been in similar businesses – Nielsen in TV and Arbitron in radio ratings. The deal could allow the companies to share panels in a way that extends media measurement accuracy in TV and radio alike and open new opportunities for measuring streaming audio and out of home.  Radio is still alive and well, with US consumers listening almost two hours a day.

Nielsen CEO David Calhoun said that aside from growing their position in radio, the real value was the ability to link Arbitron’s radio audience estimates with Nielsen’s so-called “buy” data about consumer purchasing behavior, and even speculated that a new service would come from Arbitron’s integration with Nielsen Catalina.

It’s been 20 years since Arbitron shut down their television ratings service, making Nielsen the sole tracker.  Back then and even now, billions of dollars of advertising decisions are made on these ratings.  Nielsen has continued to grow their online  tracking service, Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings.

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