Nielsen, Arbitron to expand Apollo service

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Arbitron and The Nielsen Co. announced Thursday the companies have formed a jointly-owned limited liability company to expand and potentially commercialize Project Apollo, the national marketing service in development since May 2005. Apollo LLC plans to make a decision by mid-year whether or not to commercialize the service.

The proposed service combines Arbitron's portable people meter and ACNielsen's Homescan technology to provide advertisers with research that links consumer exposure to advertising from multiple media and their shopping and purchase behavior.

As part of commercialization of the service, the panel would be increased from a panel of 11,000 consumers in 5,000 households to as many as 30,000 consumers, the originally-stated size of the service.

Seven of the nations largest advertisers, representing more than $6.8 billion in spending on measured media are participating in the pilot panel, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Kraft, Pfizer, SC Johnson, Pepsi-Cola, and Wal-Mart.

"This agreement between Arbitron and The Nielsen Company will help make real the industry's long-standing dream of a true, 'single-source' consumer research service," said Steve Morris, president and CEO for Arbitron.

Current media included in Project Apollo are all the TV networks, more than 50 cable networks, network radio, and commercials airing on radio. Consumer exposure to other media such as newspapers, magazines and circulars is also being collected through additional survey tools.

"Project Apollo has been well received by the seven charter advertisers who are helping us develop the service," said Susan Whiting executive vp of The Nielsen Company (parent company of The Hollywood Reporter), and CEO of Nielsen Media Research. "Together, our companies and our charter supporters in the advertising industry will work to make Project Apollo the most advanced marketing service service of its kind."

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