NEWS27 July 2005

AGB Nielsen blames merger as it closes Singapore TAM ops

Overnight ratings to cease at the end of July – but TAM panel remains in place

AGB Nielsen Media Research says it is pulling out of the TV ratings market in Singapore after a shake-up in the TV industry saw its major broadcasting client swallowed by a bigger rival.

The agency said its TV audience measurement (TAM) service was no longer “financially viable” following the merger of its client, MediaWorks, with TV and radio giant MediaCorp.

The deal left MediaCorp with two ratings providers: it had its own deal with TNS to provide ratings from a panel of 750 homes, as well as MediaWorks’ existing arrangement with AGB Nielsen.

According to an AGB Nielsen spokesman, both companies were invited to, and submitted bids to become MediaCorp’s sole ratings provider. AGB Nielsen decided to halt its service ahead of a final decision from MediaCorp, according to the spokesman.

MediaWorks was an influential and important client for AGB Nielsen. Its support allowed the company to almost double the size of its Peoplemeter panel in the island state, which launched with 350 homes in 1994 and was increased to 600 in 2001.

Malcolm Spry, AGB Nielsen’s regional director, said: “It is disappointing to have to withdraw the service, but with the recent restructuring of the broadcast industry, it is not financially viable to continue operations.”

Overnight ratings will cease at the end of this month, however the AGB Nielsen spokesman said it would maintain its Singaporean TAM panel – suggesting that the company would restart operations if awarded the contract to be MediaCorp’s official ratings provider.

Spry said it was “possible” that the company might resurrect its TAM service “sometime in the future”, especially given the measurement challenges posed by the advent of digital television.