Media Money with Julia Boorstin

Media Conglomerates Working on a Consortium to Measure Viewers

family watching tv

Nielsen boxes are dinosaurs and despite Nielsen's expansion, the media and advertising business want to have a better sense of how and where people consume content. Sources tell me a major partnership is in the works. All the media conglomerates, top advertisers like Procter & Gamble , and top advertising agencies like WPP'sM Group and Starcom Media Vest are talking about forming a consortium. The goal would be to measure media consumption across all platforms, particularly focusing on new media, like web and mobile video.

This seems like a major threat to Nielsen, but my sources tell me that they would still want Nielsen's data. This new consortium and measurement system would go beyond Nielsen's ratings, measuring viewers that aren't measured right now. It's notable that the sellers, the media companies, would be partnering with the buyers, the advertisers and ad agencies. Advertisers certainly have a vested interest in understanding how and when their ads are being consumed. They also might have unique insight about how and where to measure and use the data.

The consortium, and the list of companies that will be involved, is far from final. Sources tell me that of the media giants NBC Universal (CNBC's parent) and Disney are most likely to be involved if this plan moves forward. Sources close to the negotiations tell me that they'd like to announce the members of the consortium and its plans by mid to late September, but that they wouldn't be ready to start any research or membership by that point.

The Financial Times published a story on this consortium. My sources tell me certain points are misstated, namely that the consortium has already been formed and that participants in the group are committed.

I'll continue to report on this story all day Friday. Stay tuned for updates.

Questions?  Comments?