Arbitron sees no enemies when it comes to cross-platform


Folks at Arbitron may be relieved that The Nielsen Company dropped its challenge in the US radio ratings business, but they’re not holding any grudges when it comes to partnering with Nielsen or anyone else for cross-platform measurement opportunities.

“I think in today’s world, particularly in the cross-platform space, there is no benefit to anybody calling anybody an arch-enemy,” said Arbitron CFO/EVP of US Media Services Sean Creamer in response to a question about whether Arbitron and Nielsen would be forever arch-enemies following the radio battle or potentially be able to partner in other areas. Creamer was speaking at the 11th Annual CJS Securities New Ideas for the New Year Investor Conference.

“There is, in my opinion, opportunities to fill gaps in any company’s portfolio through a combination of building it yourself, partnering or acquiring that asset. We certainly have gaps. We’ve been clear in terms of our desire to pursue a cross-platform strategy that you need to be able to measure television. We can do that today. You need to be able to measure Internet. We have capabilities in Internet when it comes to audio content, but don’t have site-traffic. We were able to fill that gap, for example, in the NBC Olympics project, by partnering with companies like comScore and Omniture. I would never say there’s a company we wouldn’t be willing to entertain a conversation around partnering with. In an evolving marketplace I think it makes sense,” Creamer explained. “That doesn’t mean we will, but it does mean we have not excluded anybody from that list of potential partners.”

Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr added that his company and Nielsen have been partners for a long time in owning Scarborough Research. “I would also say, wearing the hat I used to wear running a media company [Meredith], there’s no question that major advertisers are looking for major opportunities in terms of information, whether it’s demographic, whether it’s audience-related, of databases that none of us will have a monopoly on the totality of the marketing effort, so it is going to be incumbent on players in the field to be able to work with others or to make certain that their data is usable by the end user in conjunction with other pieces,” Kerr said.