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MEDIA MEASUREMENT

Television ratings giant Nielsen agrees a US$16-billion buyout deal

By our News Team | 2022

Is this a new dawn for the media measurement industry, where traditional TV measurement is being challenged by new consumer viewing habits?

TV measurement firm Nielsen has been bought out by a consortium of private equity firms in a US$16-billion cash transaction that comes just a week after its board rejected a slightly lower buyout offer.

The Nielsen ratings measurement business is not to be confused with NielsenIQ, the market-research operation that measures retail and consumer behaviour in various countries, including several in Africa. The latter is owned by the private-equity firm, Advent International Corp.

While they were initially one business, they were spun off into separate public companies several years ago.

This sale is indicative of changing times in the measurement of ratings, which are vital to media buyers and media planners serving the TV advertising industry. However, in recent years, traditional viewing habits have evolved as a result of streaming, and new players have entered the audience measurement business to take advantage of this.

Media Measurement

Image by ADMC from Pixabay

Nielsen’s hold on ratings has been loosened

“Its (Nielsen’s) hold has been loosening as streaming gains steam and traditional broadcast and cable TV lose viewers. While the New York-based company has introduced metrics for streaming in recent years, it is one of many players in that field,” the Wall Street Journal reported. 

At last year’s conference of the Pan African Media Research Organisation (PAMRO), delegates heard that marketers and media planners are in an environment where groups of viewers around one screen are making way for more personalised content and individualised viewing experiences.

The consortium that has bought Nielsen is led by Elliott Management’s private equity arm and Brookfield Asset Management. They agreed to pay $28 a share for the company, or $16-billion including debt.

The deal includes a 45-day ‘go-shop’ period, which allows Nielsen to solicit offers from other bidders during that timeframe.

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