NEWS23 October 2012

Nielsen says OCR making real progress, XCR too

Financials North America

US— Nielsen has used its Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) service to evaluate 1,800 campaigns provided by 100 advertisers, agencies and ad platforms, CEO David Calhoun told analysts in an earnings conference.

In a transcript of the call posted by Seeking Alpha, Calhoun said the firm was not yet at an “inflection point” with OCR, but the product – recently launched in the UK – was making real progress.

Nielsen says it is planning to launch OCR in five more overseas markets and the company is confident that it could overcome concerns from rival ComScore over the validity of its viewability data.

“I understand that our competitor has tried very hard to make [viewability] a big deal,” said Calhoun. “It’s not. We have viewability already embedded in OCR. It is a perfectly adequate measure of it and it might get better over time. But viewability as something that’s sort of a tradable part of what we do… I just don’t see that as a big differentiator in any way, shape or form – now and even less in the future.”

Turning to Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings (XCR), Calhoun said the product had received “a lot of strong interest” – with investments from ESPN, Facebook, Unilever, Hulu and Group M. But it’s still in its early stages and more education is needed to push awareness, he said – adding that WPP’s Group M media consortium may offer this through its pilot study results.

“XCR, [is] going to take a while because you need all the agencies to understand what it is and have it line up against the TV ratings today and have to be delivered similarly. So there’s months before we can get it distributed in such a way that it could become a standard. But I feel good about the prospect. If Group M’s early runs are indicative, I don’t think the others will hesitate.”

Yesterday, Nielsen posted a 1% increase in revenue for the third quarter of 2012, up from $1.413bn to $1.423bn. The firm also announced a $3m rise in net income for the period from $103m to $106m, a 2.9%increase on the same quarter last year.