Nielsen, Arbitron Consent Said To Be Imminent: Would License PPM To comScore, Not Necessarily Others

Media research sources have been buzzing this week on speculation that a deal with the Federal Trade Commission on Nielsen's proposed $1.26 billion acquisition of Arbitron is imminent, and could be announced as soon as today.

The executives, who are not at Nielsen or Arbitron, reiterated earlier reports that the deal would likely involve some form of consent decree in which Nielsen agrees to license Arbitron's portable people meter technology to competitor comScore, but not necessarily to other research companies competing in the media ratings marketplace, such as Rentrak or TiVo's TRA.

Among the reasons cited by these executives was the fact that comScore is believed to be the only Nielsen competitor asked to come back to meet with FTC regulators during its second round of reviews in its investigation.

Another reason is that Walt Disney's ESPN, which has underwritten an ambitious multiplatform research initiative developed by Arbitron and comScore, objected that Nielsen's acquisition could jeopardize that program and stifle future competition.



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