Nielsen Holdings said it has agreed to acquire Arbitron
Inc., its long-time research rival in the U.S.
Nielsen is paying $48 in cash per share for Arbitron, making
the deal worth $1.26 billon.
At one time, Arbitron competed with Nielsen in providing
local television ratings. More recently, Arbitron has focused on radio ratings
and measuring out of home media consumption. Nielsen still has a competitor in
Rentrak, which is using data from cable and satellite set-top boxes to generate
national and local TV ratings.
"U.S. consumers spend almost two hours a day with
radio. It is and will continue to be a vibrant and important advertising
medium," Nielsen CEO David Calhoun said in a statement. "Arbitron
will help Nielsen better solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption,
including streaming audio and out-of-home. The high level of engagement with
radio and TV among rapidly growing multicultural audiences makes this central
to Nielsen's priorities."
With Arbitron assets, Nielsen said it intends to further expand
its audience measurement across screens and forms of listening. "These
integrated, innovative capabilities will enable broader measurement of consumer
media behavior in more markets around the world," said Steve Hasker, president
of global media products and advertiser solutions at Nielsen. "We will
also bring local clients greater visibility to empower more precise advertising
placement and campaign effectiveness."