Sunday, March 03, 2013

When Nielsen Takes Control Of Arbitron (Some Wishful Thinking)

During this legally-mandated silent period as Nielsen does what it takes to close on Arbitron later this year, no one is talking about what will actually happen to radio and TV ratings.

My hopes:
  • Nielsen solves its "set top box in a four screen mobile world" problem by moving to the Portable People Meter (either its own or ARB's, which ever can be accredited in every measured market) to get out of "household" TV ratings and move to individual measurement.
  • Arbitron stops hitting its sample targets by trying to find homes where they can place (many!!) more than 2-3 meters by going to one meter per household.
  • The sample for both will include cell phone only persons in their exact proportion to the general population.
  • The sample sizes are quadrupled (or even more) as the same meters follow all media use of one large, perfectly representative group of people at home, at work, in their vehicles, no matter where or how they access them.
  • Reliability of all estimates is doubled, breathing new life into low cume, high loyalty niche formats and decreasing the silly, unbelievable share compression infecting today's ARB numbers.
  • Stations with poor signals are rejuvenated, once again becoming viable businesses instead of low rate bottom-fishers.
  • The antique "radio diary" is retired forever and all 210 TV DMA's are measured by portable personal meters, tracking usage of all media in real time in all of them.
  • New media measurement opens the service to working for many emerging media clients, dramatically increasing their revenues.
  • Nielsen's Radio and TV rates are lowered.  Using the same panel for all media is more efficient.
  • National and network buys start to increase for the most-used radio stations in all markets, not just the major markets as is increasingly happening now based on this deeper understanding of radio's amazing reach everywhere.
  • Cross-media measurement proves that radio is 15-20% of the average person's media day, and at first media buyers attempt to keep cost per point levels and radio's share of media buys the same as they always have been, but ultimately radio revenues almost double over time as buyers can't deny the reach, usage and effectiveness of radio.
  • Nielsen saves money as they do all of this, making it possible for them to easily retire the debt they have incurred to do the deal.
  • Arbitron and Nielsen - as well as all of their existing clients - live happily ever after in a lovely marriage.
I can dream, can't I?  And, sometimes, dreams even come true.  Let's hope they do in this case.

1 comment:

Tom Taylor "NOW" said...

Nielsen is “the only company who can measure media consumption as it fragments across channels…”

That’s Nielsen’s Steve Hasker, explaining the company’s business strategy at yesterday’s Deutsche Bank conference – and explaining some more about why it’s paying nearly $1.3 million for Arbitron. Hasker says it’s pretty simple – Nielsen tracks and continually tries to understand consumers’ consumption of an average five hours of TV per day. Buying Arbitron brings it another two hours of media time. Hasker says radio and TV are “the stable and growing categories of media spend here in the U.S. and internationally.” And the radio industry should get used to the Nielsen vocabulary that includes its “Watch” program, which Hasker defines as “having a deep and competitively differentiated understanding of consumers, what they watch and buy.” Nielsen also focuses on reaction (“often referred to as the Holy Grail”). That’s a matter of knowing who watched a piece of content, “and did they go and change their behavior.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for its transcript of the Nielsen presentation.