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Fourteen companies create TV ratings coalition which may challenge Nielsen company



Coalition-logo After weeks of rumors, it's finally official: 14 different companies across media have created the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, aiming to incubate new methods for figuring out who is watching the world's media.

The list of participants ranges from ESPN, CBS and Disney, to Procter & Gamble, media buying firm MAGNA Global and AT&T. The goal: to find a better way to count who watches media across broadcast networks, cable channels, online sources, mobile media and more.

When news broke of the initiative last month, industry experts wondered whether the coalition might threaten the dominance of The Nielsen Company, which is the sole provider of TV ratings to the industry, using data tabulated at a huge collection facility in Oldsmar.

And while some coalition participants have tried to downplay the threat to Nielsen -- CBS/Paramount television president Nancy Tellem assured "we expect Nielsen, along with other research entities, to be part of the solution" in a statement -- others note that this initiative provides an easy way for other companies to bring new ideas for ratings tabulation to an enormous chunk of the industry at once.

NielsenMedia  For many years, TV industry types have complained about the accuracy of media ratings, especially as viewing has become more fragmented by online video, mobile devices and digital video recorders. Recent glitches with Nielsen's data hasn't helped matters, including technical problems earlier this year which stopped the company from releasing overnight TV ratings for days.

In the past, such dissatisfaction has fueled attempts to build new ratings services from scratch; efforts often thwarted when Nielsen adopted its own versions of ideas advanced by competitors.

But this is the first time so many companies in modern media have banded together to seek solutions.

The coalition has a teleconference set for 1 p.m. today; more answers should follow.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:01pm]


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