Nielsen, DirecTV Explore 300,000 Household Digital Data Panel
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Nielsen said it would fall under its new DigitalPlus division, and would entail testing the development of new research derived by aggregating anonymous clickstream data from a new TV measurement panel comprised of 300,000 DirecTV subscribers.
The goal of the initiative is two-fold: 1) To develop insights that would help DirecTV offer better products and services to recruit new subscribers and reduce churn among existing subscribers; and 2) To develop of more valuable interactive opportunities for advertisers.
The deal comes three months after DirecTV restructured its advertising sales organization, bringing national sales in-house and severing its relationship with News Corp.'s Twentieth Television unit, an affiliated company that had been repping it to national advertisers and agencies.
It also comes at a time when satellite TV services like DirecTV and rival Echostar are pitching themselves to advertisers as a means of deploying advanced TV advertising methods such as interactive TV and addressable TV. The move also suggests that there may be less integration between DirecTV and News Corp.'s advertising properties, which also include Twentieth Television's syndication unit, and Fox's broadcast and cable networks.
While the first deal of its kind under Nielsen's new DigitalPlus structure, Nielsen has had relationships with other digital set-top data providers in the past, including TiVo, though TiVo recently launched its own, competing commercialized measurement service, and has already signed up at least one major advertising agency: Starcom MediaVest Group.
Nielsen has said it has been in discussions with various cable and satellite TV operators for several years, and last year announced a deal with Comcast to develop research based on the cable operator's video-on-demand data.
The moves come as other research providers are trying to launch similar services, especially TNS and erinMedia, the latter of which has a federal antitrust suit pending against Nielsen on the grounds that Nielsen's monopolistic business practices preclude new competitors from entering the market. Earlier this week, erinMedia founder Frank Maggio said Nielsen's DigitalPlus launch was tantamount to a "pre-announcement" and vowed to renew his legal and regulatory battle against Nielsen.