Green Room

Nielsen buys Arbitron for $1 billion

posted at 1:12 pm on December 19, 2012 by

For the past several decades, Nielsen has measured TV ratings and Arbitron, radio. The ratings they produce dictate ad costs and whether programs get canceled. As technologies improved, both companies have switched from a system of paper diary-keeping to a combination of paper diaries and electronic devices. Radio ratings have always been harder to capture than TV ratings.

Nielsen can easily stick a device on a household’s TVs or remotes (they do both) to see what its owners are watching, but recording what a person hears on the radio requires they wear a device on them. The Portable People Meter, as it’s called, picks up ambient radio signals whether you’re in the mall or your car, but it has the downside of making you look like you’re wearing a beeper. They’re expensive, so Arbitron ended up with a rather small and unchanging sample for a lot of its radio ratings.

I wonder if the acquisition by Nielsen will allow them to put more PPPs in the field and improve monitoring of online streaming and the like. From the press release:

“U.S. consumers spend almost 2 hours a day with radio. It is and will continue to be a vibrant and important advertising medium,” said Nielsen Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun. “Arbitron will help Nielsen better solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, including streaming audio and out-of-home. The high level of engagement with radio and TV among rapidly growing multicultural audiences makes this central to Nielsen’s priorities.”

With Arbitron assets, Nielsen intends to further expand its “Watch” segment’s audience measurement across screens and forms of listening. “These integrated, innovative capabilities will enable broader measurement of consumer media behavior in more markets around the world,” said Steve Hasker, Nielsen President of Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions. “We will also bring local clients greater visibility to empower more precise advertising placement and campaign effectiveness.”

“Radio reaches more than 92 percent of all American teens and adults because they love to listen to music, talk, news and information while at home, at work and in their cars,” said William T. Kerr, President and Chief Executive Officer of Arbitron. “By combining Nielsen’s global capabilities and scale with Arbitron’s unique radio measurement and listening information, advertisers and media clients will have better insights into consumer behavior and the return on marketing investments.”

I’ve had an interest in how the ratings work since long before I got into radio and TV. I was a Nielsen family (yes, they exist!) for two years in the early 2000s, and I was drunk with power. When I was on the radio, I learned about the PPP. Frankly, it’s amazing how relatively sloppy ratings systems have always been given how much money and media they influence. As technology gets better and we start streaming and downloading almost everything in easily measurable chunks, the data will get better. And, given Big Data’s influence on this election, Nielsen’s improving data will be allowing candidates to connect your teen-vampire show addiction with the political messaging that works for you.

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

We were a Nielsen household recently…for a week, when they got back the survey and saw that we don’t watch broadcast or cable TV (we do online, but not via the tube) 🙂

changer1701 on December 19, 2012 at 1:22 PM

I doubt Arbitron would want me to have one of those PPP’s. I almost always change the station the minute commercials start playing.

Bitter Clinger on December 19, 2012 at 1:44 PM

changer1701 on December 19, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Same – though not having been a Nielsen house.

Sure, we watch plenty of videos and a rare show on the internet, but it’s a very rare occasion that our tv is on for “tv”, and then it’s usually to watch the weather radar during a storm. We stopped watching tv with any regularity about 6 years ago. Too much other stuff to do. TV takes away so much time… the internet is bad enough for that already – and that’s my news source.

Arbitron probably wouldn’t be too bad, but then again, I tend to listen to two Christian radio stations that are listener supported… so no commercial ads.

Logus on December 19, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Same – though not having been a Nielsen house.

Sure, we watch plenty of videos and a rare show on the internet, but it’s a very rare occasion that our tv is on for “tv”, and then it’s usually to watch the weather radar during a storm. We stopped watching tv with any regularity about 6 years ago. Too much other stuff to do. TV takes away so much time… the internet is bad enough for that already – and that’s my news source.

Arbitron probably wouldn’t be too bad, but then again, I tend to listen to two Christian radio stations that are listener supported… so no commercial ads.

Logus on December 19, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Yeah, there’s just not much on that we’re interested in, even when there is time for it. Plus, via streaming online, you can find a lot of it anyway.

changer1701 on December 19, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Plus, via streaming online, you can find a lot of it anyway.

changer1701 on December 19, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Some pointers, please? I do Hulu, but a lot of stuff on there is premium content. Some of the channel sites I’ve been to either make it very hard to find their programming or require a subscription to their tv service.

GWB on December 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM


HotAir — Politics, Culture, Media, 2017, Breaking News from a conservative viewpoint
Top Pick

I could think of someone else you might want to ask about…

“You can ask a hundred people what hate speech is and you get a thousand different answers”

Trump: I never made any recordings of Comey

Allahpundit Jun 22, 2017 2:01 PM

Bluff.

Hackers stole private data from election databases

John Sexton Jun 22, 2017 1:21 PM

“90,000 records stolen by Russian state actors contained drivers license numbers”

Failure to protect the city

Big man on the Middle Eastern campus

Biased Americans see media as biased.

Tough times down on the liberal ranch

Will Nancy Pelosi survive this latest Dem disaster?

Andrew Malcolm Jun 22, 2017 8:41 AM

Eat quick, before it’s gone.

Slow your roll, boss

“I’m bothered by the lack of emerging evidence…”

FIrst look at the Senate health bill

John Sexton Jun 21, 2017 9:21 PM

“the Senate bill would go farther than the House version in its approach to cutting Medicaid spending.”

Divide and conquer?

“If we do nothing, more companies will back out and more people will lose coverage.”

You know, I may have cracked the case for you, guys

“They’re still running against her and still winning races.”

“…the suspect is from Quebec and has a Canadian passport.”

When the Left lost their way on immigration

Jazz Shaw Jun 21, 2017 2:41 PM

It wasn’t all that long ago, really

“I personally watched some of these students go up to Chief Brown, right up to her face, and call her all kinds of names, cursing at her.”

Did the Queen “nix” a Trump visit to London?

Jazz Shaw Jun 21, 2017 12:41 PM

More like wishful thinking on the American left

Sometimes it’s hard. This was the hardest part

Did the polls get the Handel/Ossoff race wrong?

Allahpundit Jun 21, 2017 11:21 AM

Nah.

Physician, heal thyself

Maybe we’ll stay home and watch.

Good lack of work if you can get it

GOP takes 2 more special House races, meaning what?

Andrew Malcolm Jun 21, 2017 8:41 AM

Two more demoralizing moral victories for Dems.

Not a murder, but nearly as awful

GA Election results thread Update: Handel wins!

John Sexton Jun 20, 2017 7:10 PM

Late night?

7 p.m. ET: The election to end all elections

Allahpundit Jun 20, 2017 7:01 PM

Endgame.

Dashcam footage: The shooting of Philando Castile

Allahpundit Jun 20, 2017 6:31 PM

“Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me.”

“Military personnel had to neutralize an individual.”

Because that’s pretty much the same thing, you see