One of the implications of Nielsen’s proposed acquisition of Arbitron raises for the ad industry, and potentially antitrust regulators, isn’t just the consolidation of two dominant
media research suppliers, but two suppliers of media transaction “currency” data.
“We are teh currency for radio,” noted Arbitron COO Sean Creamer, adding, “Obviously, the marketplace had understood for some time that it needs a single number to conduct transactions on.”
“We like their market position,” gushed Nielsen chief David Calhoun in reference to Arbitron’s dominance as the radio industry’s currency.
That’s not surprising given that Nielsen currently is the currency for the TV advertising marketplace, and has been asserting it is now the currency for the online advertising marketplace vis a vis its new Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings service.
The distinction between simple audience measurement estimates and “currencies,” is that they are what advertisers and agencies actually trade with their media suppliers, and while only audience estimates, are the basis of planning, buying, posting and paying the media. An enviable position to be in for a research supplier, for sure. Effective with this acquisition, Nielsen claims it will own three media currencies: TV, radio and online media.