Battle of the media ratings titans


The Nielsen Company is invading Arbitron’s turf, US radio ratings, so Arbitron is threatening to fight back by offering TV ratings with its Portable People Meter (PPM). If it comes to a showdown, who is likely to come out on top? Harker Research decided to survey media buyers on how they rate the two companies. The results are not good news for Arbitron.

Key radio media buyers were asked three questions.

Harker asked media buyers which company they thought was more professional. It found that media buyers believe Nielsen is more professional by a 32% to 21% margin. (The numbers do not add up to 100% because of "same" and "don’t know" responses.)

The research company then asked which company provided more credible rating information. The media buyers surveyed believe Nielsen provides more credible rating estimates by a two to one margin, 36% to 18%.

And since Steve Morris of Arbitron threatened to begin measuring television, Harker asked which service they would use if the two companies both offered radio and television ratings. Once again, the winner was Nielsen. If both companies offered television and radio ratings, the media buyers would choose to use Nielsen rather than Arbitron, 43% to 32%.