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Nielsen Is Odd Ratings Company Out in NBC Universal's Olympics Measurement

It sucks to be Nielsen. The TV ratings giant, which has been slapped up side the head recently by advertisers and agencies ticked off that it is advancing its local TV measurement model, has now been passed over by NBC Universal for cross-platform Olympics measurement for the coming February Winter Games. In other words, some companies get really mad at Nielsen when it tries to advance its model, and others take action when it doesn't.

In the NBC Universal diss, the network has asked Nielsen rival Arbitron, Adobe-owned Web analytics company Omniture, and Compete to provide measurement in a collaborative venture that will span across TV and the Web during the Olympics. This news comes only days after Nielsen said it would jump-start its plan to install data gizmos in 7,500 homes that would let it measure TV viewership across TV and the Web. No great surprise that Nielsen is finally getting on the stick -- another looming threat to Nielsen is the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), which launched in September with major support from bigwigs in the advertiser, agency and media business, like, say, Procter & Gamble and News Corp. Hmmmm. What tells me these people aren't happy?

As I've said before, the local TV debacle probably states the conundrum that is being Nielsen best. When it announced a bit ago that it was scrapping providing "live" ratings only in local TV in favor of ratings which include time-shifted viewing, advertisers and agencies squawked, and the squawking continues -- both the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers have stated their opposition, and one major media buyer, which is also part of CIMM, is now pleading with local stations to go back to good ol' live ratings, and issuing threats.

Not that Nielsen does itself any favors. The service, which has served as a virtual monopoly for decades, has been slow and plodding in its attempts to keep up with the times, and in case you haven't noticed, they are a changin'.

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