Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

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

Nielsen 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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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work