Nielsen president of global media products Steve Hasker told Bloomberg that among Nielsen's intentions in acquiring Arbitron is to begin measuring online radio services like Pandora.
Bloomberg writes Nielsen "wants to offer its advertisers a unified system that measures audiences across multiple forms of media, making it easier for them to make ad-buying decisions -- whether on TV, radio or the Web."
StreetInsider credited the news for a Pandora stock price bump after speaking to analyst Rich Tullo. Tullo thinks the webcaster could likely profit from rising ad volume as large media buying agencies adopt this new Nielsen integrated media platform.
Arbitron's history with webcasting, and Pandora in particular, hasn't been entirely smooth. Since the dawn of Internet radio, Arbitron has repeatedly entered, then exited, net radio audience measurement. Pandora last year (with Edison Research, here) began releasing its own listening stats, using Arbitron's common broadcast radio metrics (Pandora is also measured by Triton Digital's Webcast Metrics, using Internet radio's slightly different metrics). Arbitron (more in RAIN here) and many of its broadcast clients (from Inside Radio via NPR Digital Services here) criticized the stats, calling them unreliable and nonsensical.
Arbitron meanwhile has long had ready -- but never released -- a cross-platform radio ratings service (more here), and as recently as its Q3 conference call told shareholders the service "would use online logs to measure Internet radio listenership and include all types of Web radio, from terrestrial stations' streams to services such as Pandora" (more here). Presumably for this service, Arbitron partnered with AdsWizz (here). It's been suspected that pressure from its broadcast radio clients, who likely wouldn't welcome competition from webcasters and broadcasters around the world, has prevented Arbitron from launching the service.
But it may not be too late for Arbitron to get back into the Internet radio ratings game. Pandodaily's Erin Griffith wrote yesterday, "It’s a market that’s still young enough to be figuring things out. With a new owner and possibly new attitude, Arbitron could be there on the ground floor."