Nielsen keeps tabs on what people are buying and watching. The world's #1 market research firm, Nielsen monitors consumer habits in the retail and media arenas around the globe on behalf of its customers, which include leading retailers and makers of consumer packaged goods. Active in more than 100 countries, its major business segments include retail measurement services (providing insights on such activities as distribution, pricing, merchandising, and promotion), household consumer panels (monitoring shopper behavior in about 240,000 households), and media measurement giant Nielsen Media Research.
Nielsen operates through three straightforward segments: What Consumers Watch, What Consumers Buy, and Expositions. The Watch segment provides television, online, and mobile viewership data to the media and advertising industries. Its Buy segment primarily provides retail transactional measurement and consumer behavior information. The Expositions unit produces around 40 trade shows each year.
The company has seen its top-line revenue increase in recent fiscal years as clients demand more and more data and analytics in order to set business strategy and focus their operations.
Nielsen plans to continue to take advantage of its extensive geographic reach to attract customers with multinational operations, and it aims to build on its strength in growing markets such as Brazil, China, India, and Russia.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Throughout the years, Nielsen has been busy acquiring businesses that improve its position in the media consumption/consumer purchase behavior arenas. It has also been divesting other businesses that don't align with this strategic goal.
In late 2013 the company paid $1.26 billion for radio ratings giant Arbitron and renamed it Nielsen Audio. The acquisition sizably enhances Nielsen's portfolio and makes it a stronger leader outside its traditional TV ratings operations. Nielsen had been looking to spread its popular audience ratings across all media, including radio, mobile, and streaming devices.
In 2009 Nielsen enhanced its consulting offerings with the acquisition of Chicago-based The Cambridge Group, a firm that advises CEOs and other top management on their growth strategy.