How much is Nielsen’s domination of the online ratings business worth? According to an influential analyst following the sector, $200 million. That’s the figure Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser put on the amount of annual revenues he predict Nielsen will reap by 2017 from broad industry acceptance of Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings as the “currency” for online media buys, especially video.
While the note, which was sent to investors this morning, does point out that some marketers and agencies continue to prefer rival comScore’s vCE ratings to plan, buy and validate their online advertising buys, Wieser has been among the analysts predicting that Nielsen will ultimately dominate the online ratings game -- largely because of the strength of the Nielsen brand in other media and its ability to leverage it into so-called cross-platform ratings.
In fact, another Wall Street analyst, J.P.Morgan’s Doug Anmuth, released a comprehensive outlook on the Internet sector this morning, singling out the adoption of Nielsen’s OCR ratings as a major catalyst driving ad budgets from traditional media -- especially TV and radio -- to digital.
“We think 2014 is going to be a breakthrough year for traditional media measurement shifting online given YouTube adoption of Nielsen OCR, Nielsen’s likely measurement of Internet radio, and social audience measurement with key partners including Twitter and Facebook,” Anmuth opines in his annual “Nothing But Net” report released to investors early this morning.
In particular, Anmuth said Google’s decision last November to allow Nielsen to place its OCR tags on YouTube “could drive material change in TV buyer behavior.”
Anmuth predicted an equally significant impact on the behavior of radio advertisers as Nielsen rolls out its streaming audio measurement, which follows last year’s acquisition of radio ratings giant Arbitron.
“Just as we are seeing a shift in digital video measurement with YouTube, we expect streaming music providers including Pandora to gravitate towards partnerships with traditional measurement providers,” Anmuth predicted, adding that Nielsen, “is deeply engaged in developing the technology to measure streaming radio and it is working to fully integrate Nielsen Audio.”
As part of his rationalization for the dominance of Nielsen’s OCR ratings as the online ad marketplace currency, Pivotal’s Wieser opined, “It seems realistic to assume that a large share of video buying on the web is driven by advertisers who also buy television advertising, and thus would potentially desire the broadly comparable metrics that Nielsen’s OCR and comScore’s competing vCE product provide. OCR will probably be the preferred tool for online advertisers who also buy television advertising. However, we would guess that a meaningful share of online video advertising is driven by advertisers who do not buy traditional TV are endemic to the Web.”