Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Why didn't someone else cut a deal with Nielsen?

Here's the thing I don't understand about the alliance announced today by Google and Nielsen to, as The New York Times put it, "give advertisers a more vivid and accurate snapshot than ever before of how many people are viewing commercials on a second-by-second basis, and who those people are." The thing I don't get is: why did everybody wait around and then let Google—which , on the surface, doesn't have that much of a vested interest in TV measurement—do it? Initially, Google and Nielsen will only be gathering data from some set-top boxes in Echostar's DISH network, but I'm sure that won't calm fears that Google is out to "get" the ad and media industries. Not surprisingly, the Times' version of events (it broke the story), is the most emailed of today's business stories so far—probably being shared by people, who, rather than viewing this as an honest attempt at developing deeper TV measurement, see it as the latest evidence that Google's world domination is at hand. The people in the media industry have no one to blame but themselves for not being first to do this. As it was when ABC first announced it would make its shows available for download on iTunes, expect a rash of similar deals to follow.

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