Nielsen moves to fulfill terms of Arbitron acquisition

nielsen canvasIt seems like a done deal, as Nielsen quickly started integrating Arbitron into its operations after a September acquisition, setting up the Nielsen Audio division and making small changes to ratings measurements. But from the start, the FTC‘s oversight of the merger included a mandate to share technology with other companies. The FTC’s concern was, and is, a Goliath-vs.-upstarts situation, that by eliminating competition between Nielsen and Arbitron, and creating a cross-platform behemoth, clients would pay more for consolidated measurement than they did when dealing with separate entities. The solution requires Nielsen to provide intellectual assets and technical assistance to an FTC-approved third party.

Now Nielsen has identified that third party — measurement giant comScore — and the two companies have reached an agreement in principal. IN its submission of the deal to the FTC, Nielsen characterizes comScore as “a qualified and viable competitor.” The FTC has opened the issue to public comments until February 24.

Brad Hill