Nielsen Buys Into NeuroFocus

NEW YORK Who needs people meters to measure TV viewing when you can monitor brain waves?

That scenario may not be all that far off with the Nielsen Co.’s announcement today that it has made a strategic investment in NeuroFocus, a firm that specializes in applying brainwave research to advertising, programming and messaging. Terms were not disclosed.

The two companies will work together to develop new forms of measurement and metrics based on the latest advances in neurosciences. David Calhoun, CEO of Nielsen, will become a member of NeuroFocus’ board of directors to guide the alliance.

“This alliance will enable us to gather truly unique insights about consumers’ attitudes and behavior about which they themselves may not even be fully aware and will complement our other measures of consumer behavior,” said Susan Whiting, evp at Nielsen.

Initially, the alliance will focus on bringing to market new science-based products, services and metrics to clients in consumer packaged goods, television, film and emerging media. Nielsen also intends to use NeuroFocus’ techniques, as part of Nielsen’s Digital Labs research centers, to better understand consumer engagement.

Based in Berkeley, Calif., NeuroFocus uses electroencephalography (EEG) technology to directly measure the brain’s reaction to stimuli. To do that, consumers wear a specially designed baseball cap embedded with sensors that track brain responses. NeuroFocus also uses eye tracking, galvanic skin response and other physiological techniques.

Nielsen is the parent company of Adweek.

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