Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Old Media, Big Dollars: Nielsen Adds Radio Measurement With $1.3 Billion Arbitron Buy

radioNielsen owns the TV ratings market. Now it wants radio, too. Nielsen plans to pay $1.26 billion, or $48 per share, for Arbitron, the company that measures radio listening in the U.S.

The deal will give Arbitron shareholders a 26 percent bump on yesterday’s closing price, and both boards have signed off on the transaction.

Here’s Nielsen’s pitch to shareholders, in slide form; the deal will need regulatory sign-off.

Measuring radio and TV is a slow-growth business, but it’s still a big business. The two companies do a combined $6 billion a year in revenue.

And both companies have been impervious to attempts to break their locks on their respective businesses — Nielsen, for example, has tried and failed to make headway in the radio market itself.

What about Web measurement? Isn’t that a big deal, too? Sure, and it will get bigger. And Nielsen already does some of that, too.

But comScore, the dominant digital-measurement company, did just $232 million last year, and shareholders value it at less than $500 million. Old media habits die hard.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock/icearnaudov)

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik