Nielsen Up For Sale?
Yesterday rumors started to circulate that Nielsen might be ready to put itself up for sale. This could be welcome news to Nielsen shareholders who have endured a slew of bad news, including a recent revenue dip and the announcement that their CEO Mitch Barnes would step down later this year.
The following comment from an investment firm pretty much says it all. “There’s widespread support in Nielsen actively putting itself up for sale, as investors are generally frustrated with what has appeared to be Nielsen’s inability to monitor (or manage) warning signs in its businesses and in the company’s approach to innovations.” That warning sign about a lack of innovation is particularly telling. Nielsen’s consumers goods business has been lapped by more technologically advanced digital competitors, and their media measurement side is dreadfully arcane. As an example, most Radio Metros still uses paper diaries to measure listening. So yes, something needs to change with Nielsen and maybe new owners can help.
So who might purchase Nielsen? I don’t think anyone knows for sure, but I do have a hunch that it won’t be any of the traditional media companies out there. If one network were to buy Nielsen it’s a sure bet every other network would cancel their measurement contract – who would stand for a competitor owning their ratings service? It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out.