Nielsen, Catalina Marketing Form Joint Venture

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Nielsen, Catalina Marketing Form Joint Venture

The Nielsen Company and Catalina Marketing Corp. yesterday formed Nielsen Catalina Ventures to create the next generation of precision media solutions and return on investment (ROI) measurement tools to allow consumer packaged goods (CPG) and media companies to more effectively link the marketing exposures consumers see with the products they actually buy.

“As consumers become more sophisticated and media platforms continue to fragment, advertisers must be able to build more precise and measurable media plans,” said David Calhoun, chairman and CEO at Schaumburg, Ill.-based Nielsen, the parent company of Progressive Grocer. “The only way to get there is with faster, deeper information. Nielsen and Catalina’s combined capabilities provide comprehensive, scalable solutions for clients to better shape their marketing investments and measure their campaign ROI with far greater precision, speed and agility.”

The 50-50 joint venture will integrate information from Nielsen’s TV, Internet and household purchase panels with purchase data from more than 50 million shoppers from a cross-section of retailers in Catalina Marketing’s network.

“Understanding and adapting communications to more accurately reach a brand’s most relevant customers takes a level of granular analysis that doesn’t exist today,” said Dick Buell, chairman and CEO of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Catalina Marketing. “This new company offers a depth of insight that allows for more intelligent marketing campaign development, management and measurement.”

By directly and anonymously linking consumers’ television and online usage with in-store purchase behavior, Nielsen Catalina Ventures will enable CPG marketers and media companies to understand how well media campaigns are driving actual consumer buying behavior. This level of insight will be designed to help marketers shape their marketing and media campaigns for a greater return on investment. The joint venture will build on the success of Nielsen’s Internet ad effectiveness business — and create the industry’s first TV ROI measurement service using data from Nielsen’s National People Meter panel.

“The ability to understand how advertising influences how consumers shop and what brands they buy continues to be an important question for our company,” said John P. Bilbrey, president of Pennsylvania-based Hershey North America.

“Now more than ever, we need new approaches to link Nielsen’s benchmark view of what consumers watch on television with how they spend their time online, and then understand how that attention to advertising translates into real shopping motivations,” said Laura Klauberg, VP, global media at Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based Unilever USA. “This collaboration is another important step forward in bringing these insights directly to marketing and media executives across our industry.”

Nielsen Catalina Ventures will launch its first precision media solutions in the first half of 2010. Nielsen’s existing television and online precision media businesses, which currently use Nielsen’s Homescan purchase panel to match media consumption with purchase behavior, will be integrated with Catalina Marketing’s shopper data. This will allow analyses for many more brand campaigns than is currently possible. And for the first time ever, the television offering will be based on data from Nielsen’s National People Meter panel, the industry currency, to create solutions for measuring the sales impact of TV advertising campaigns.

“The joint venture’s mission is to provide solutions that integrate all major media,” said Mike Nazzaro, CEO of Nielsen Catalina Ventures. “This will empower marketers and their agencies to better plan, manage and execute more accurate and effective media buys based on consumer behavior. We believe that marketers who use this approach will realize a significant improvement in marketing effectiveness and efficiency relative to current performance.”

The joint venture will be a separate legal entity based in Cincinnati, Ohio, with both Nielsen and Catalina Marketing contributing data, talent and other resources. Nazzaro, who was selected by Nielsen and Catalina Marketing to run the joint venture, is a former Nielsen executive, P&G executive and entrepreneur.