Nielsen CEO hopes company will emulate Israel operations

One of the reasons Nielsen needs cutting-edge technology is the change in viewing habits.

TV Remote (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
TV Remote
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns hopes the global company most famous for television ratings will follow the lead of its Israeli operations.
“I see what I hope to be the future of Nielsen all over the world in some of the qualities and characteristics of our team here in Israel,” he told The Jerusalem Post as he concluded a recent visit to Israel on Tuesday.
The company has three units in Israel: the local Nielsen group that offers consumer market research; the recently acquired ad-tech company eXelate; and a start-up incubator it founded in 2013, which is currently running its second class of 12 companies.
“I don’t go to every country in the world, but I’m here in Israel, and many of our senior officers have been here this year as well,” Barns said. The company has been making disproportionate levels of investment in Israel, he said.
One of the reasons Nielsen needs cutting-edge technology is the change in viewing habits, Barns said.
“We obviously still are in the TV measurement business, but we think about it differently today, because it’s really not going to be enough going forward,” he said. Instead, Nielsen focuses on measuring video more generally, regardless of the source.
Yet, surprisingly, viewers under 30 still watch 80 percent of their video content on television screens – even if that content is downloaded from a video-on-demand site such as Netflix.
Israel’s tech isn’t the only thing noteworthy; its consumers also stand out, Barns said.
“Probably the one thing that’s different is that they’re incredibly value conscious, and on the other hand very advanced in terms of what they’re looking for in brands and brand performance,” he said.