The rise of programmatic ad buying is directly influencing the growth of Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings product, Barns said. He’s hopeful the company’s recent acquisition of eXelate, a data company that also owns a data-management platform (DMP), will further facilitate that expansion.
“We see two great sources of value from this acquisition,” Barns said. “One is the business itself, but the second are the capabilities that reside inside of eXelate.” He mentioned that the company’s DMP technology is “the perfect environment” to enable marketers to connect their first-party data with third-party data.
Nielsen Audio (née Arbitron) is growing in the low single digits because the company is focused on international expansion.
“Contracts for audio measurement around the world only come up every few years, so it’s a slower ramp,” Barns said, adding he hopes to capitalize on the opportunity to bring analytics capabilities to the audio industry. As with video, audio measurement has a consensus problem. Digital radio, terrestrial radio and the agencies that represent still haven’t agreed on what audience metrics should look like.
In terms of partnerships, Nielsen hopes its non-exclusive integration with Google’s DoubleClick (rival comScore also has a similar partnership) will help it gain a toehold on the highly competitive cliff of text-based digital advertising. And Nielsen anticipates its partnership with Adobe will bear fruit mid-year in the form of a beta deployment of Digital Content Ratings. A full-scale commercial launch will hopefully follow Sept. 30.
Barns sees the prospective Digital Content Ratings product as a complement to Digital Ad Ratings. The former will complete the latter and clients, he said, will use the two together.
In terms of financials (we can’t forget that!), foreign exchange rates reared its ugly head again, casting revenue down 2.1% YoY to $1.46 billion, below analyst expectations of $1.5 billion. Without those rate fluctuations, revenue was up 4.4%.