Outdoor Breeds Strange Bedfellows: Arbitron, VNU Team For Media Planning
The new product, dubbed Outdoor Navigator, was developed by VNU's IMS unit, the largest supplier of media planning software to the advertising industry. Arbitron had been alluding to the development of its own outdoor planning system, but apparently felt it was smarter to collaborate.
The collaboration is not the first between the two companies. Arbitron and VNU have been jointly marketing Apollo, an ambitious project to develop a single-source media and marketing measurement system, and VNU's Nielsen Media Research unit has been a tacit supporter of Arbitron's effort to develop a TV and radio measurement system based on Arbitron's portable people meters, which Nielsen has an option to join venture on.
But both Arbitron and Nielsen had been competing on the development of an outdoor audience measurement system utilizing global positioning satellite technology. Arbitron has since dropped out of that race, but a company insider wouldn't rule out Arbitron making a bid when the Traffic Audit Bureau officially releases a request for proposal for a new outdoor audience ratings system.
Nielsen is expected to made a bid, along with Navigauge, a company that measures both outdoor and radio audiences. Navigauge recently aligned itself with erinMedia, an upstart TV ratings firm that is suing Nielsen for alleged antitrust violations.