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Nielsen, Arbitron Deal Being Vetted

Confirms company plans to measure streaming “on all devices”

Nielsen is still excited about its agreement to purchase Arbitron and so far there’ve been no surprises in the vetting process.

Speaking to Wall Street analysts as the TV ratings company announced its fourth quarter and year-end earnings, Nielsen CEO David Calhoun said the Arbitron purchase remains under regulatory review.

Nielsen last week voluntarily withdrew the paperwork to buy Arbitron for approximately $1.3 billion to give the Federal Trade Commission more time to scrutinize the agreement. Nielsen plans to refile, triggering a 30-day shot clock under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. The Justice Department will review the agreement as well.

“We still love the deal. We made a conscious choice to refile to give us another 30 days” to work on details, according to Calhoun. “We negotiated this deal believing it’s a really good deal for Nielsen. We still think so.”

Asked for client reaction, he said “We’ve gotten good feedback from the marketplace, particularly on the radio side. We think we can give good value to radio clients”… particularly the “ROI that demonstrates the effectiveness of radio as an advertising medium.”

Calhoun also confirms Nielsen intends to measure streaming on “all devices.” The technology end of that is not hard, he adds, saying what is difficult is getting industry interests “to align themselves as to who gets credit.”

Cautioning that streaming measurement is not going to happen in one day, he tells Wall Street Nielsen plans to be on the leading edge of that type of audience measurement.