Arbitron Inc. (NYSE:ARB) and The Nielsen Company announced today that the two companies have terminated the development of “Project Apollo,” the proposed single-source, national research service. The two companies had been working on the pilot project since early in 2005. The announcement was made by Susan D. Whiting, executive vice president of The Nielsen Company, and by Steve Morris, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Arbitron Inc.

“Despite a promising level of interest, we did not secure sufficient client commitments to make Project Apollo a sustainable venture for our two companies,” Arbitron and Nielsen said in a joint statement.

“We are grateful to the companies, consultants and to the marketing and advertising agency executives of the seven Project Apollo Steering Committee members who helped us explore the cutting edge of media and marketing research,” the statement continued.

Said Steve Morris: “Everyone recognized from the outset what an ambitious effort we were undertaking: harness the best in modern research technology and methodology to see if we could finally fulfill the promise of a single-source media and marketing research service.”

Said Susan Whiting: “We have learned a great deal from ‘Project Apollo,’ and I am confident that this work will enable us to provide even higher levels of quality service to our clients."

About ‘Project Apollo’ 
“Project Apollo” was designed to be a single-source, national market research service based on Nielsen's Homescan technology for measuring consumer purchase behavior, combined with Arbitron’s Portable People MeterTM system, measuring electronic media exposure. In January 2006, The Nielsen Company and Arbitron Inc. completed the deployment of a national pilot panel of more than 11,000 persons in 5,000 households. The pilot panel was intended to show advertisers how ‘Project Apollo’ might enable a better understanding of the link between consumer exposure to advertising in multiple media and their shopping/purchase behavior.

Seven advertisers signed on as members of the “Project Apollo” Steering Committee. The Committee worked with Arbitron and Nielsen to evaluate the utility of multi-media and purchase information from a common sample of consumers. 

Individuals within the sample were given incentives to voluntarily carry Arbitron’s Portable People Meter, a small, pager-sized device that collects the person’s exposure to electronic media sources: broadcast television networks, cable networks, and network radio as well as audio-based commercials broadcast on these platforms. Consumer exposure to other media such as newspapers, magazines and circulars were collected through additional survey instruments.

Information on consumer preference and purchases for a wide range of services and products were collected from panelists, via ACNielsen’s Homescan technology, which tracks packaged goods purchases. Data were then collected in aggregate to provide a more complete understanding of participants’ media interactions and their resulting shopping and purchase behavior.

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