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The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on an application by Nielsen Holdings N.V. and Nielsen Audio, Inc. (collectively, Nielsen) requesting FTC approval to sell its LinkMeter cross-platform audience measuring services to comScore, Inc., and to enter other arrangements supporting the divestiture. The divesture is required under the proposed FTC order settling charges that Nielsen’s acquisition of Arbitron, Inc. would lessen competition in cross-platform audience measurement services.

According to the FTC’s September 2013 complaint, at the time of the acquisition, Nielsen and Arbitron were both developing national syndicated cross-platform audience measurement services, which allow audiences to be measured accurately across multiple viewing platforms, such as TV and online. The complaint alleges that the elimination of future competition between Nielsen and Arbitron in this market would increase the likelihood that Nielsen would exercise market power and likely cause advertisers, ad agencies, and programmers to pay more for national syndicated cross-platform audience measurement services.

The proposed order requires Nielsen to sell and license, for at least eight years, certain assets related to Arbitron’s cross-platform audience measurement services to an FTC-approved buyer. Accordingly, in its petition Nielsen is seeking FTC approval to divest the LinkMeter assets, license certain assets and capabilities, and provide equipment and services, to comScore. The petition details why Nielsen believes that comScore would be an appropriate party to acquire these assets.

The Commission will decide whether to approve the proposed divestiture after expiration of the public comment period. Public comments may be submitted until February 24, 2014.  Written comments should be sent to:  FTC Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Comments can be submitted electronically. Copies of the application can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release. (FTC File No. 131-0058; the staff contact is Naomi Licker, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2851)

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20001. To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs