The Ratings War

By SuperSpy 

Nielsen is getting ready to acquire IAG Research for $225 million. According to Adweek, IAG is a privately held firm that measures consumer engagement with television programs, national commercials and product placements. Meanwhile, AdAge recently asked the question: Can “TV-ratings kingpin Nielsen maintain its dominance as the gold standard by which video advertising is priced?” Competitors abound and the first to provide marketers with real time data will win the rat race.

Tracey Scheppach, senior VP-video innovations director at Starcom USA, pointed out the obvious: “It’s hard for a monopoly to be the force of innovation.”

Big companies lumber along. They can be unwieldy and slow to make changes. Although, Nielsen is looking pretty nimble these days (the company has snapped up Telephia, Audience Analytics and Buzz Metrics, too) they can’t buy the whole lot of ’em including Rentrak, TNS and the pugilistic Group M’s Irwin Gottlieb and his mafia.

Alan Wurtzel, NBC Universal’s president-research, said:

“The digital world has taught us that there can be a couple of guys in a garage somewhere that can topple mighty corporate entities, because some of it is just new ways of thinking and just figuring out a better mousetrap.”

Nielsen is going to fight to the death and our bet is that they hang in their better than anyone is predicting. The entire piece is worth a read, outlining various threats, dilemmas and offering an interview with Susan Whiting (pictured left), Nielsen exec VP who oversees development and sales. Grab your lunch and get to it.