Advertising and network execs say that they’ve already waited too long for the ratings colossus to figure out how to measure the growing number of people who watch TV shows on smartphones and tablets. No surprise, then, that many clients — and investors — are eager to hear the details next week when, according to the Wall Street Journal and Variety, Nielsen will disclose plans to start measuring mobile viewing in fall 2014. Some answers may depend on Nielsen’s negotiations with the Federal Trade Commission to win its approval for the company’s $1.26B deal to buy Arbitron. Nielsen said that Arbitron has assets that could help with out-of-home measurements, including the Portable People Meter that enables networks led by ESPN to account for viewers who aren’t planted in front of the living room TV. READ MORE »
The deals close the FTC’s nearly 20-month investigations and fall into two categories. In the first case, Google says it will no longer try to block other providers of wireless devices including smartphones from using patents that the search giant acquired last year when it paid $12.5B for Motorola Mobility. “These essential patents and others like them are the cornerstone of the system of interoperability standards that ensure that wireless internet devices and mobile phones can talk to one another,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz says. “Over half of American consumers own and use one of these devices — including iPhones, Android phones and Xboxes.” Google agreed to drop injunctions, and license its patents to any company on what the FTC calls “fair and reasonable terms.” In a separate case, Google agreed to stop taking and misidentifying content from rival content companies. For example Leibowitz says that Google took user-generated restaurant reviews on Yelp “and led consumers to believe that these reviews were its own.” When the content owners complained, he adds, “Google allegedly threatened to remove them entirely from Google’s search results.” As part of its deal with the FTC, Google also agreed to remove restrictions that made it hard for advertisers that use its AdWords service from coordinating campaigns on other platforms.