Nielsen and WPP’s GroupM combine for TV and online research juggernaut

Nielsen is the world’s biggest research operation, chiefly through its giant US TV contract, while WPP owns Kantar, the second-placed researcher. WPP also owns numerous media agencies under the GroupM banner.

So both friends and foes will be intrigued (and, in the latter case, possibly alarmed) by the following announcement made yesterday:

NEW YORK – GroupM and Nielsen today announced a pioneering collaboration to create a new measurement service that will integrate media planning and measurement across television and the Internet.

The goal is to overcome challenges posed by separate media planning, buying, and analysis processes for TV and the Internet, and to answer a growing demand by advertisers for cross-platform measurement tools that help them streamline their marketing strategies.

The new service, dubbed Nielsen Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings, will leverage the Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings product, as well as its existing television audience measurement capabilities, to provide clients with total and overlapped reach and frequency of their marketing campaigns. Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings provides reach, frequency and GRP measures for Internet advertising.

The effort calls for GroupM, the world’s leading media investment management company, and Nielsen, a leading global information and measurement company, each to contribute resources and expertise to create Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings and make it available to GroupM clients. The two companies will also work together to develop innovative new measurement tools that extend beyond TV and online to other platforms.

“Our advertiser clients increasingly recognize that traditional television advertising and online video advertising must work together,” said Rino Scanzoni, GroupM’s Chief Investment Officer. “It’s vital that we have consistent measurement, and that’s our goal in working with Nielsen.”

Executives from both companies said consistent measurement across TV, the web and beyond is critical in order to calculate the total reach and frequency of a cross-platform campaign-a goal previously unattainable because TV and web measurement traditionally employ different metrics.

“Cross-platform metrics are essential to both buyers and sellers of advertising,” said Steve Hasker (pictured), president of Media Products and Advertiser Solutions for Nielsen. “Every day, we’re hearing from advertisers, online publishers, TV networks and agencies that a better system of measurement is required. Through working closely with GroupM and others in the industry we believe we can help create best practices that will benefit the entire ecosystem.”

Maybe the key phrase in the latter quote is “working closely with GroupM and others in the industry.” But do the others include the likes of Omnicom (which doesn’t have its own proprietary digital products), Publicis Groupe (which through Digitas and Razorfish certainly does) and Interpublic (which is trying desperately to catch up in media through its MediaLab operation).

Nielsen seems to have recognised that it needs to embrace online to keep its dominance in broadcast. But what exactly is WPP up to?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.