Arbitron, VNU, P&G Team Up

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Arbitron Inc. and Nielsen Media Research parent VNU N.V. are teaming up to develop a new system designed to monitor the messages people hear from television and radio ads both inside and outside of their homes, and how that advertising impacts spending habits.

In collaboration with top packaged-goods firm and major advertiser Procter & Gamble Co., the companies plan to combine data from Arbitron’s “Portable People Meters” and VNU’s “ACNielsen Homescan” service.

The PPM monitors media to which people who wear the device are exposed, while Homescan collects data from users who scan the barcodes from products they buy from stores as they unload their groceries when they return home.

The companies haven’t come up with a name for the service, which VNU spokeswoman Karen Gyimesi said is called “Project Apollo” internally.

“It’s just an exploratory effort right now,” Gyimesi said of the service, to launch next year.

Arbitron wants to build a panel of 30,000 households, or 70,000 people, to participate, spokesman Thom Mocarsky said.

He added that Arbitron and VNU hope to sell the data to major advertisers to help them determine how media spending affects shopping habits, but he stressed that the companies aren’t looking to compete with Nielsen Media Research’s ratings service.

For more on the Arbitron-VNU combination, please see Steve Donohue’s story on page 12 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.