FTC greenlights Nielsen/Arbitron wedding


Arbitron and NielsenThe $1.3B acquisition of radio ratings giant Arbitron by television ratings giant Nielsen has been granted regulatory approval by the Federal Trade Commission, bring the story that began 12/17/12 closer to its final chapter.

RBR-TVBR has predicted that the deal would survive regulatory scrutiny, since the services of the two companies are not duplicated. It’s not like radio stations or television stations which used to have their choice of two ratings services now can only access one apiece – both media will have exactly the same options that they had prior to the deal.

Nielsen if hoping to leverage the deal into a seamless ratings package that also factors in other media. As Nielsen put it, “Adding Arbitron to Nielsen will enable broader measurement of what consumers are watching and listening to around the world and deeper measurement of multicultural audiences in the U.S. The combined company will expand advertising effectiveness for radio clients and be better able to solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, such as streaming audio and out-of-home.”

“We are pleased to have the regulatory process behind us and are excited to be closing the Arbitron acquisition,” said David Calhoun, CEO, Nielsen. “We are looking forward to providing all of the benefits of the combined company to our new clients in the radio industry and their advertisers, driving incremental value for them as well as our shareholders.”

Nielsen said the FTC order approving the deal does not impinge on any of its strategic objectives. Describing the FTC requirement, Nielsen stated, “The FTC’s order effectively enables the continuation of a cross-platform project measuring TV, radio, PC, mobile and tablet engagement which was announced by Arbitron in concert with ESPN and comScore, Inc. in September 2012. In the event that an FTC-approved third-party elects to agree to licensing terms and other requirements, Nielsen would make available for license Arbitron PPM and related data as well as software and technology currently being used in the ESPN project for the sole purpose of cross-platform measurement for up to eight years.”

“We are very pleased with the FTC action, which meets our original expectations at the time of the merger agreement. This is a highly acceptable outcome for us as it doesn’t change the market landscape and allows us to proceed with the deal,” continued Calhoun. “The area of cross-platform measurement is still in its early stages and its value is yet to be determined by the market. We at Nielsen look forward to pursuing the value of cross-platform services through our own unique offerings and expect that with our resources, our deep knowledge of video and our commitment to innovation, we will help the market ultimately define what cross-platform represents.”