Nielsen shareholders vote 'yes' on Elliott Management $16B acquisition

Nielsen shareholders voted today to approve Elliott Management’s $16 billion acquisition of the TV measurement company. But what this means for Nielsen’s standing in the media industry is to be determined.

The shareholders’ decision comes about a month after Nielsen and Elliott Management secured regulatory approval for the transaction – scheduled to close sometime in October.

Nielsen, which had long been considered the standard for audience measurement, fell under scrutiny after the Media Rating Council (MRC) last year suspended the company’s TV ratings accreditation.

Since then, Nielsen has sought to improve its measurement strategy, such as pushing towards impressions-based buying and selling in local markets. Nielsen One, the company’s cross-platform measurement product, is expected to go to market next year.

In Nielsen’s latest earnings report, CEO David Kenny stated the company has completed “the vast majority of success criteria required” for re-accreditation.

But Nielsen seems to be facing another hurdle from the MRC. NextTV last week reported the MRC postponed an audit meeting to review Nielsen’s ‘big data’ methodology.

That data, which would be included within the Nielsen One platform, comprises of national audience insights from set-top boxes and smart TVs. The audit would ensure the new data complies with the MRC’s standard, should Nielsen regain accreditation.  

“As we work to ensure the best quality and stability of the data during this transition, we have made the decision to delay using this data for transaction purposes,” Nielsen told NextTV.

“This decision does not impact our plans for full transition to panel, plus big data, in September 2023, or our path to accreditation for our National TV measurement service,” the company added.

Nielsen in June announced it would add advanced audiences and outcomes measurement to Nielsen One’s alpha version. The company said those features will help marketers gain insight into a campaign’s reach and frequency, as well as its overall effectiveness.

Despite media scrutiny, Nielsen recently scooped up some notable partnerships. Amazon has tapped Nielsen to measure audiences for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football. Prime Video will stream the first match of the season beginning September 15.

Google meanwhile is leveraging Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings to improve ad buying within its digital advertising platform. Nielsen data would allow advertisers to gauge how many unique viewers they reached within a campaign – including those that ran on connected TVs.