Monday, September 11, 2006

CNN: ARB May Get More Competition - From Nielsen

Television ratings service Nielsen Media Research said Sunday it was in talks with the radio industry about possibly tracking listening audiences, a market long dominated by Arbitron Inc.
"We are in discussions with the evaluation team to see whether it makes sense for Nielsen to enter the measurement of radio," said a spokeswoman for Nielsen, which is owned by privately-held VNU. Talks between Nielsen and radio officials could shake up the $20 billion industry. The
spokeswoman was referring to a cross-industry group of 20 companies, including radio giants
Clear Channel Communications (Charts), Entercom Communications, other broadcasters, advertisers and media buyer agencies, which are currently evaluating new radio audience measurement technology. Nielsen's potential entry comes as Arbitron is trying to upgrade and win industry approval for its new tracking device known as the portable people meter, a pager-like gadget that tracks users' media exposure. At stake in the audience measurement search are
the rates the $20 billion radio industry can charge for advertising.

I've been wondering when THIS was going to happen for the last year, since Nielsen pulled out of their cooperative venture with ARB several years ago. Arbitron had been hoping the two firms would use PPM to measure both radio and television, as well as all other media. The 'measured media' field is going to be huge, much bigger than either ARB's radio or Nielsen's TV businesses are today. Small wonder that many players want to get into it.

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