Nielsen Upbeat About FTC Review, Cross-Platform Ratings Response


Nielsen is nearing completion of the Federal Trade Commission’s request for more information regarding its proposed merger with Arbitron, CEO David Calhoun said Thursday.

The Nielsen chief declined to speculate how long it will take the regulators to review the documentation, but offered up “somewhere between 60 days and 4 months” before the FTC responds.

“We’re just going to do our best (to) respond,” Calhoun said according to a transcript. “There’s nothing about the documentation that we’ve organized and prepared that scares us.”

The FTC requested more information from both Nielsen and Arbitron in early March as it reviews the matter.

Calhoun spoke on an earnings call and noted growth opportunity with Nielsen’s single-source products that look to link media exposure with purchases. He said Nielsen Catalina Solutions has done well in the last three months and cited success with a product that matches TV ratings with credit card and other purchasing data.

The CEO also said clients continue to sign up for Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings and Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings. He mentioned Omnicom Media Group, saying agencies can speed wide adoption of the products.

“We are not yet a standard in the industry,” Calhoun said. “We are becoming one in the video advertising space, which is the rich part of the space, and a space that in our view was the most important one to capture.”

Calhoun was asked by an analyst about how Online Campaign Ratings might suffer without the endorsement of Google. “We believe it’s in their best interest and the market’s best interest to have the objective measure,” he said. “They’ll be one of the biggest beneficiaries of that measure."

For the January-March period, Nielsen said revenues rose 4% on a constant currency basis to $1.38 billion. Profit rose $10 million to $35 million.



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