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BBM and Nielsen to merge TV ratings systems


TORONTO - BBM Canada and Nielsen Media Research announced yesterday that they will merge the portions of their operations that provide electronic measurement of television audiences using electronic meters.

The memorandum of understanding the two organizations have signed says that a new joint venture company "will provide a single consistent measurement system for the television industry in Canada," according to the press release.

The new company will provide initial service using Nielsen People Meters in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Ontario regional, and national. BBM's service will be used in Quebec. BBM expects the Personal Portable Meter (PPM) system will be approved for commercial use in Montreal and Quebec prior to commencement of this new venture.

Nielsen and BBM have agreed on a process to ensure future electronic television audience measurement is provided by the most effective technology and will start consultation with the industry immediately on expansion of electronic audience measurement to at least two additional markets.

Products such as Spotwatch, Media Advisor, CMR, InfoSys, and products offered by third party suppliers will continue to be marketed by each organization. All products will use the single data set produced by the new venture. All data will be released through BBM.

"This is an exciting development that is driven by our mutual desire to serve even better the Canadian advertising industry," said Mike Leahy, president, Nielsen Media Research Canada. "We are pleased that our clients will now enjoy the benefits of a single, improved television currency. Nielsen's value added tools and services will continue to provide the decision support that clients depend on."

"BBM members have been clear that one measurement system is what we need. This move will provide that, and give BBM members more electronic measurement than today, with wide ranging input and governance from advertisers, agencies and broadcasters," adds Jim Macleod, president of BBM Canada. "This ensures Canada has high quality measurement with current technology today and in the future."

Completion of this transaction is subject to the execution of final definitive agreements between Nielsen Media Research and BBM Canada, and is subject to regulatory approval.

Following the close of the transaction, Nielsen Media Research in Canada will continue to provide its advertising information services, as well as audience measurement software products like Media Advisor and Media Master - value added information tools advertisers and media companies depend on for their business needs.

BBM Canada will continue to provide audience measurement software products such as InfoSys and CMR. Television markets that are not measured electronically will continue to receive service from BBM's diary based service.

BBM radio measurement is not affected by this new venture.

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