Nielsen Radio, set to release its first ratings in August, continues to chip away at the Arbitron-dominated radio ratings business by signing more of its customers. On Thursday (June 11), the TV ratings goliath signed New York-based TargetCast, Nielsen Radio's largest agency client to date. In addition, Nielsen signed a longterm contract with Westport, Conn.-based Maverick Media, which will receive Nielsen radio ratings for Rockford, Ill., one of the 51 smaller markets measured by the new Nielsen radio service.
The new clients join a number of broadcasters and agencies that have signed for the Nielsen radio measurement service including ESPN Radio, Cumulus Radio, Clear Channel Radio and agencies Schnucks Creative Services in St. Louis, Mo. and Meridian-Chiles in Lexington, Ky.
While TargetCast still subscribes to Arbitron, the agency plans to "look at" the Nielsen ratings when purchasing those markets for its clients.
"We like to encourage competition. It can only improve either or both services," said Michele Buslik, senior vp and director of media research for TargetCast. "This gives Nielsen the potential to become a single source for measurement of both television and radio behavior," she added.
With deeper financial coffers than Arbitron, Nielsen could pose a substantial challenge to Arbitron, if Nielsen decides to go after the business beyond the 51 smaller markets it is currently measuring. Both research firms use diaries in the smaller markets, but Nielsen's diary asks survey participants to indicate their listening with pre-printed stickers.
"Arbitron remains committed to providing small markets with data from multiple surveys per year that customers can use with confidence as currency in their transactions. We proudly continue to serve the Rockford, Ill. market and will work closely with stations and agencies/advertisers," Arbitron said in an emailed statement.