Huge News: Networks, Clients, Agencies Form Consortium to Challenge Nielsen Audience Measurement. Issue is Getting Better Info Across Multiple Media Platforms.

Aug 14, 2009  •  Post A Comment

In what looks like a major challenge to the stanglehold Nielsen Media Research has on the currency controlling the spending of billions of dollars on TV,  some of the nation’s biggest advertisers, media agencies and networks–broadcast and cable –have formed a consortium to get better measurement of TV and digital video viewing, according to the Financial Times.

According to the Financial TImes, participants include networks owned by NBC Universal, Time Warner, News Corp., Viacom, CBS, Discovery and Walt Disney; advertisers such as the nation’s biggest TV spender, Procter & Gamble, AT&T and Unilever; and media agencies such as Group M and the Starcom MediaVest Group.

The consortium appears to be focused on getting single-source data that measures cross-platform TV and digital viewing. It is expected to be up and running next month and commissioning data by the fourth quarter.

" ‘The most deficient thing is there’s no single source measurement (for television and digital video),’ Sam Armando, senior vice-president of audience analysis at Starcom MediaVest, told the Financial Times, confirming the establishment of the new group. Starcom’s clients include Procter & Gamble."

Armando also told the Financial Times, "The thing is not let’s go out to replace Nielsen." But, he added: "It’s not a leap of faith to think that another [measurement company] can come in and do both."

It wouldn’t be the first time Nielsen had a rival: AGB Television Research in the late 1980s and the SMART system in the 1990s tried to take on the ratings giant in the wake of network unhappiness with the company. But the competitors ultimately didn’t get enough financial support from the media community.

–Elizabeth Jensen and Chuck Ross

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