Eastlan weighs in on Nielsen’s proposed ratings service


In response to Nielsen’s proposed entry into the radio ratings business announced yesterday, Eastlan Ratings President/CEO Mike Gould suggests, “the announcement is absolutely inconsistent with what we are hearing daily from small and medium market broadcasters nationwide. Stations want and deserve quality research at an economic price, one that allows them return on investment in these challenging financial times. They are fighting like hell to save jobs because we all know great people are going to be the salvation of radio stations not continued expensive diaries-sticker book or otherwise.”

“While we welcome any service that gives small & medium market broadcasters more choice expensive, once-a-year sticker book diaries are not the answer. Eastlan is emboldened by today’s news. Broadcasters are clamoring for a quality, low-cost ratings alternative and we will continue to be alone in that arena. The simplicity and economy of Eastlan will save hundreds of radio jobs in the coming months, in fact, we’ll have a series of announcements in the next few weeks of companies opting to saving jobs rather than subsidizing huge ratings experiments.”

Gould tells RBR he thinks the methodology that’s being proposed in the Nielsen-Cumulus solution is expensive. “And that’s just not consistent with what we hear is going on in broadcasting. The big difference from what is being proposed and what we could have done is cost-effectiveness. A significant amount of difference in price. We would have been able to continue to provide them service twice a year instead of once a year. The huge bit of irony that our Top 50 markets were going from measuring them four times a year to basically measuring them in a way that we’re going to be able to see data daily, hourly. So we’re going to do more analysis. But in markets 51 and down, according to this idea, we’re going to go from measuring twice a year to just annual measurement. That seems backwards. Why is part of the industry going to be measured daily/hourly and the other part is going to go to being measured half as frequently? That doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

RBR/TVBR observation: Remember, just because they are going to one book doesn’t mean it will be less expensive. It will be a larger sample size. Cumulus had asked for no diaries in its RFP, as well. So that is a bit confusing. But bottom line, look for Arbitron and Nielsen to begin to wage a battle royale in many markets—and a potential purchase is not out of the question. Where Eastlan will land in that process should be interesting because as of right now they are smake in the middle of this fight.

Interview from the 2008 NAB Show in Austin, TX.

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