Coalition Of 14 Companies Launches Nielsen Rival

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A group of major cable and
broadcasting programmers, advertisers and ad agencies -- calling themselves the
Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement -- has officially unveiled its bid to
challenge Nielsen Media Research's stronghold in television
ratings.

The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, or CIMM, will "promote innovation in audience measurement for television and cross-platform media," including identifying new methodologies and approaches to audience measurement through a series of pilot studies with independent measurement companies, the companies said in a joint announcement Thursday.

The group's founding members and
current participating companies are: AT&T, CBS, Discovery Communications,
GroupM, Interpublic Group's Mediabrands, NBC Universal, News Corp., Omnicom
Media Group, P&G, Starcom MediaVest Group Worldwide, Time Warner, Unilever,
Viacom and The Walt Disney Co.

CIMM

CIMM will focus on two key areas:
the current and future potential of TV measurement through set-top-box data, and
new methods for cross-platform media measurement.

The plans for the coalition were
reported last month by The Financial
Times
.
The purpose, one executive involved in CIMM said last month, is "to light a fire
under the ass of Nielsen and create some innovation and
competition."

Nielsen Media Research declined to
comment on the CIMM announcement.

Earlier this week, Nielsen Media
Research said in a letter to clients that viewers who watch shows online through
"TV Everywhere" services from Comcast, Time Warner Cable and others could be
counted toward overall TV ratings -- but that the full implementation of its
system to track such Internet services will not be available until early 2011.

Executives of the participating CIMM
companies each issued statements outlining their
aims.

On the broadcast and cable side
were: Jeff Bewkes, chairman and CEO of Time Warner Inc; George Bodenheimer,
president of ESPN and ABC Sports; Anne Sweeney, president of Disney/ABC
Television Group; Chase Carey, president and chief operating officer of News
Corp.; Philippe Dauman, president and CEO of Viacom; David Zaslav, president and
CEO of Discovery; Jeff Zucker, president and CEO of NBCU; and Nancy Tellem,
president of CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment
Group.

Advertising agency executives
represented were Laura Desmond, Global CEO, Starcom MediaVest Group; Nick Brien,
President and CEO, Interpublic Group's Mediabrands; Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive, WPP, holding company for GroupM; and Page Thompson, CEO, North
America, Omnicom Media Group.

Executives at large advertisers
involved in CIMM's formation are Dina Howell, Procter & Gamble's vice
president of global media and brand operations; Laura Klauberg, Unilever's
senior vice president of global media; and Esther Lee, AT&T's senior vice
president of brand marketing and advertising.

"As we continue to make our content
available across additional and emerging platforms through initiatives like TV
Everywhere, it becomes increasingly important to measure consumer interaction
with our brands," Bewkes said. "Comprehensive and accurate measurement will have
a direct effect on the continued growth of our
industry."

Added Carey, "At News Corp we've
been calling for more accurate television measurement for some time. We're happy
to support this bold industry initiative -- which is the first step in a major
movement by media companies and their advertising partners to explore available
ways to better measure the various platforms that support video
content."

NBCU's Zucker, for his part, said:
"Twenty-first century media needs 21st century measurement techniques. Existing
systems are incapable of accurately measuring the media habits of our audience
across today's multiplicity of platforms. CIMM is an important step in helping
to address this problem. As an industry, we can't afford not to do this, because
if we can't measure our audience accurately, we can't sell
it."

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