The day-long meetings, which are set to take place later this month in New York (Oct. 19th) and Los Angeles (Oct. 21st), are intended to bring Nielsen's national clients up-to-date on key initiatives, trends, and research developments. Of the five sessions outlined in the agenda circulated by Nielsen on Wednesday, two of them deal explicitly with measuring video on multiple screens, one of them deals specifically with online video, and a fourth deals with utilizing digital set-top data to measure TV viewing, a subject that also is expected to be one of the projects fielded by the new coalition - the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, or CIMM - when it officially issues formal requests-for-proposals later this month.
The regional meetings are the first time Nielsen will meet collectively with its national clients since scrapping its annual national client meeting earlier this year due to the recession. When it canceled its annual meeting, Nielsen cited the fact that many clients were reluctant to travel during the current economic climate, and because its annual meeting is generally considered a boondoggle that is more about getting together and entertaining the broader cross-section of its client base, than it is used to advance important research agenda items, which are typically dominated by a few big and influential Nielsen clients.
But in the months since Nielsen abandoned its annual meeting, CIMM has gained traction, and even though its organizers have repeatedly vowed that CIMM is not intended to compete with Nielsen, some see the potential that it could evolve beyond the initial "primary" research projects it is expected to field when it officially announces its RFPs.
And as one time Nielsen rival Gale Metzger, former CEO of Statistical Research Inc., and the key force behind the TV industry's SMART TV research initiative, wrote in a guest column in Wednesday's edition of MediaDailyNews , much of CIMM's mandate appears to be redundant with another project being underwritten by Nielsen, the Council for Research Excellence.