Apollo Bites The Dust: Arbitron, Nielsen Pull Plug On Ambitious Single Source Initiative

by , Feb 25, 2008, 8:00 AM
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After years of pitches and millions of dollars in development, Arbitron and Nielsen this morning pulled the plug on an ambitious single-source measurement venture. The companies have been collaborating on the venture, dubbed "Project Apollo," since early 2005, and convinced some major marketers and media outlets to participate in the test, but failed to sign any long-term commitments for the highly expensive research.

"Despite a promising level of interest, we did not secure sufficient client commitments to make Project Apollo a sustainable venture for our two companies," Arbitron and Nielsen said in a joint statement. "We are grateful to the companies, consultants and to the marketing and advertising agency executives of the seven Project Apollo Steering Committee members who helped us explore the cutting edge of media and marketing research."

Apollo was one of several attempts to develop a so-called single source study that measured both the media and advertising consumers are exposed to and the way it influences the products they buy. Years ago, a former Nielsen parent, Dun & Bradstreet, tried and failed. And Arbitron also invested more than $100 million during the 1980s on its so-called ScanAmerica initiative, before pulling the plug on that.

Apollo was championed by some big marketers, especially Procter & Gamble, but in the end, failed to muster significant long-term commitments from advertisers, agencies and media companies to fund the expensive costs associated with maintain a massive consumer sample.

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