What is the Nielsen Corporation

The Nielsen Corporation is a global provider of market research and analysis of media and viewer interaction. It attempts to provide its clients with valuable insights into consumer behavior and marketing information. This is done through data collection and measurement methods that evaluate what consumers watch and what they buy. The Nielsen Corp. is best known for its Nielsen ratings, which measure audiences for television, radio and newspapers in media markets.

Breaking Down Nielsen Corporation

The company was founded by Arthur C. Nielsen Sr. in 1923, and was incorporated in 1929. It has its headquarters in New York and is part of Nielsen Holdings PLC of the United Kingdom. It has operations in several countries. It is also known as The Nielsen Company, and was formerly referred to as ACNielsen and AC Nielsen. Investors and companies use Nielsen's ratings to predict consumer trends. It serves a number of industries including television, radio, consumer packaged goods & retail, advertising agencies, internet companies, music, video games and sports.

Nielsen Corporation and Nielsen Ratings

The Nielsen ratings were developed by Nielsen Media Research to measure audience size and makeup of U.S. television programming. It started in the 1920s with brand-based advertising analysis and extended to radio market analysis in the 1930s, providing radio show market analysis. It first provided ratings for radio programming in 1947 with market analysis for the top-20 shows based on total audience, average audience, cumulative audience, and homes per dollar spent for time and talent. The Nielsen ratings extended to television in 1950 using the same techniques used for radio programming evaluation. It is now the standard for television audience measurement around the world.

Nielsen Corporation: Other Research

Nielsen also measures the shopping and media behavior of millions of consumers around the world through its market research tool Homescan. It tracks all retail and grocery purchases, which allows researchers to link purchasing habits to household demographic data.

In 2005, ACNielsen (as it was named then) began its Media Voice Panel (MVP) program, which worked by having panel members carry around an electric device that collected station and program identification codes embedded within radio and television broadcasts they encountered. At the end of the day the monitoring device was placed in a cradle that downloaded and transmitted the collected data back to Nielsen using the home's electrical wiring as a home network via a telephone relay, one of the first applications of its kind at the time.