Monday, March 17, 2008

And the score is: Adweek, 19 Nielsen mentions; Ad Age, 16

Ever since the job description for the Adweek editor's post started circulating last week, a tempest has been brewing over whether the ties between the Adweek magazines and their corporate overlords at Nielsen are growing. This because the job posting touts that the magazine is carrying exclusive Nielsen data. And while the debate started fairly reasonabily, it's gotten increasingly silly in the blogosphere. (Yes, for those of you who don't know, I used to work at Adweek.)The magazine group, which includes Mediaweek and Brandweek, hasn't shied away from critical coverage of the conversion to C3, the new ratings currency that was adopted for upfront negotiations last year. You can browse the database and find stories critical of Nielsen's C3 ratings currency, carrying headlines such as "Buyers Debate C3 Ratings" and "Buyers Remorse: Want Make Goods, Not Scatter." The debate reached its silliest in a post at, which trumpets "AdWeek Mentions Parent Company Services Up To 3 or 4 Times A Day”—and then shows a search of the Adweek database which divulges recent Nielsen mentions. I’ve countered with the visual above—which is a screen grab of competitor Ad Age’s recent mentions of Nielsen. Going back a week, I discovered that while Adweek mentioned Nielsen 19 times, Ad Age mentions the company 16 times, and if anyone writes in to say that proves that Adweek is biased toward Nielsen than they … well let’s not go there. With that close a margin, it probably wouldn't take very long to find a week in which Ad Age mentioned Nielsen more than Adweek. Any situation such as the ownership of the Adweek books by Nielsen warrants keeping an eye out for a loss of editorial autonomy, but so far, we’re not there. There’s a reason Nielsen gets mentioned a lot by Adweek and Ad Age, and that’s because it’s Nielsen. Nielsen has a lot of data. Advertising trade magazines print a lot of data. Period.

1 comment:

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