David Calhoun did a lot of good turning around Nielsen‘s fortunes when he joined as CEO of the ratings company in 2006 after being a top lieutenant at Jack Welch’s GE. (In this town, that success did not trickle down to one of Nielsen’s holdings, trade mag The Hollywood Reporter, which continued to bleed money and staff under Nielsen control until it was sold off with other publications for a song three years later.) Calhoun, already set to step down as Nielsen CEO on January 1, will join Blackstone Group to head its portfolio-operations group, the Wall Street Journal is reporting today. He will be tasked with boosting some of the company’s 77 holdings while also consulting on new buyouts. He will retain the executive chairman title at Nielsen as part of the deal. Earlier this month, Nielsen said company veteran Mitch Barnes would succeed Calhoun as CEO; the ratings company has been taking steps to update its business, acquiring Arbitron for $1.3B as it wades into the cross-platform measurement game including for mobile TV, and striking a deal with previous dark horse Walmart to shepherd previously private data on the giant retailer’s sales. Blackstone was one of the PE firms who bought Nielsen, then known as VNU, in 2006, with Calhoun contributing a sizable amount of his own money into the deal. Nielsen went public in January 2011 and under Calhoun’s nearly seven-year run as boss has seen its operating income more than double to $1.7B, according to the WSJ. At Blackstone, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, he will employ the operational efficiency standards he learned under Welch at GE. His target will be companies including the Weather Channel in Blackstone’s portfolio, which in total employs more than 600,000 and generates around $85B in annual revenue. There is no word on his compensation package for the new gig.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone following the recent Nielsen studies including ones in March and in August that showed the volume of tweets about a television show provide an early indication of how well it might perform. The new Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings will consider the number of people who read TV-related tweets, not just the number of writers, the companies said today. The effort could help Twitter‘s plan to go public: It said last week in an SEC filing that while the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating won’t “directly generate revenue” for the social network company it “will enhance our attractiveness to users and advertisers.” Twitter added that it has value as “a second screen for television programming” and that ads on Twitter complement “offline advertising campaigns, such as television ads.” Here’s today’s announcement:
NEW YORK — March 5, 2013 — ABC, ABC Family and ESPN have adopted Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings to manage demographic guarantees for online video campaigns. Each network is using Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings audience composition data in conjunction with total delivered impression counts from ad servers to calculate viewer demographics.
Nielsen will begin measuring viewers who watch TV programming via broadband Internet connection, the company confirmed today. Long criticized by broadcast TV networks for what they believe is significant viewership that regular ratings miss or exclude, Nielsen said its research …
This is the first time that Nielsen has looked at how many people use their DVRs or VOD to watch TV shows more than a week after they first run — and it’s easy to see why. Only a …
Arbitron shares are up 25% in pre-market trading after Nielsen Holdings said it would buy the rival ratings company best known for its measurement of radio audiences. Nielsen said it will pay $48 a share, a 26% premium over yesterday’s closing price, for a total of $1.26B. ”Arbitron will help Nielsen better solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, including streaming audio and out-of-home,” Nielsen CEO David Calhoun says. “The high level of engagement with radio and TV among rapidly growing multicultural audiences makes this central to Nielsen’s priorities.” His company also says it will expand Arbitron’s “Watch” segment’s audience measurement across screens and forms of listening. “These integrated, innovative capabilities will enable broader measurement of consumer media behavior in more markets around the world,” Nielsen President of Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions Steve Hasker says.
The timing of the announcement is surprising: Last week, Arbitron said that Sean Creamer would become CEO on January 1 when the current chief, William Kerr, retires. Arbitron shares have appreciated 7.4% over the last 12 months.
Here’s today’s release:
For all the talk about cord-cutting in the digital era, movement in that direction is relatively slow, as many viewers switch from cable to satellite or telepone providers rather than drop multichannel service altogether. Nielsen reports that 98% of viewing remained on traditional TV in Q4 2011. Cable lost more than 2.9 million subscribers as viewers switched to telephone or satellite providers. U.S. homes subscribing to cable, satellite or telephone providers for their TV service declined 1.5% or about 1.5 million last year, according to figures Nielsen released this week. Subscribers adding telco (about 1.9 million) or satellite service (roughly 280K) weren’t enough to make up the difference.