Friday, July 22, 2005

Positives for VNU from Arbitron and IMS

According to a study by Forrester Research, introduction of Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) to replace the diary system, will expand the radio advertising markt in the US by $696m. Greater accuracy and higher ratings will drive the value of radio commercials (and by implication: the value of the currency that PPM data will represent). This is particularly good news for the PPM trial that Arbitron is conducting in Houston. And also for VNU, being Arbitron's partner in 'Project Apollo' (for use of the PPM in measuring both radio and TV listener/viewership, to be coupled with consumer spending data from ACNielsen). Earlier positive news was the establishment of the 2,100 people panel for testing the PPM in Houston. Arbitron is on track to expanding the panel to 15,000 by year end. Also, in its Q2 report yesterday, Arbitron says the costs of Poject Apollo were less than anticipated.

Earlier this week merger partner IMS Health reported better than expected Q2 numbers.

Of course, in the case of VNU, bad news is never hard to find. Now the National Association of Broadcasters decided to support Senator Burns' bill, requiring MRC accreditation before a rating service could be introduced as the market's currency. Aimed squarely at Nielsen Media's Local People Meter (LPM), developments have less and less of an impact, as the market roll-out of the LPM continues. Just like the above PPM, it replaces paper diaries, thereby enhancing the value of the ratings because of greater accuracy. It might also expand the TV market, as it simply counts more viewers than paper diaries. Thus the value of a 30 second spot increases.

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