Experts: FTC Considering Advertising Implications Of Arbitron-Nielsen Merger
April 26, 2013

With the FTC currently studying Nielsen's acquisition of Arbitron, the Commission is expected to consider its implications on new media and advertising. According to a panel of experts polled by Reuters, the FTC is likely looking at the deal while focusing on "cross-platform data designed to tell advertisers in a holistic way what customers watch on television, listen to on the radio, look at online and see on their mobile devices."

Six of the eight antitrust experts surveyed by Reuters believe the FTC will give the deal a thumbs-up, with one expert suggesting a challenge to the deal is possible.

Nielsen's expansion into radio measurement could be an issue with approval. "It's putting a lot of eggs in one basket. That's the biggest concern," said Brad Adgate, VP of Research at Horizon Media, Inc. told Reuters. He added that, "The feeling is that Nielsen is buying Arbitron to get a better grip on measuring mobile. Nielsen doesn't have anything similar. Not for mobile they don't. ... This will not be rubber-stamped [by the FTC]."

"My area of concern would be foreclosure of potential (cross-platform) competition to Nielsen in particular," said Ankur Kapoor, an antitrust lawyer with Constantine Cannon LLP. "If you think about where and how people consume media, it's literally everywhere. To get a meaningful measurement, you have to be cross-platform."

Speaking on yesterday's earnings call, Nielsen CEO David Calhoun gave an update on the status of the company's acquisition of Arbitron. According to Media Daily News, Calhoun said it will take between 60 days and four months before the FTC finishes its review of documents related to the deal.

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Mark Adams
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