Nielsen looks to sell off software

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is asking the public to weigh in on Nielsen’s attempt to license off some of its audience measuring services to comScore.

The ratings analysis firm is required to sell off its LinkMeter software and license other technology after buying Arbitron, another consumer research company, last September.

Both Nielsen and Arbitron were developing services to measure people's engagement as they switch between platforms like TV, radio and the Internet.

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The FTC charged that the $1.3 billion purchase would reduce competition for measuring audiences across different media platforms.

Without government intervention, Nielsen would “exercise market power and likely cause advertisers, ad agencies, and programmers to pay more for national syndicated cross-platform audience measurement services,” the FTC said on Friday.

Under the terms of the proposed order, Nielsen has to sell and license some of Arbitron’s cross-platform analysis services to an FTC-approved buyer for at least eight years.

In an application filed with the FTC last week and released on Friday, Nielsen called comScore “a qualified and viable competitor” and said that the proposed deal “will promote competition in the development of Cross-Platform Services and a national syndicated cross-platform audience measurement service.”

The FTC is giving the public until Feb. 24 to weigh in on the deal. After that, it will decide whether or not to approve it.

-- This story was updated at 10:14 a.m. on Jan. 25

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