Gladys Santiago

Project Apollo Fails to Take Off

Posted in Marketing, Measurement, Television by Gladys Santiago on February 25, 2008

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I’m sure the above title will be overly used and isn’t that original, but I couldn’t resist.  Despite having invested $45 million in a single-source measurement attempt, Nielsen and Arbitron have decided to end their Project Apollo program.  The endeavor (another cheesy space reference) began in 2005 with a $20 million investment by Proctor & Gamble and was slated to track 50,000 households.  However after supposed “infighting, politicking, brink-teetering and corporate footdragging,” the January 2006 pilot only covered 5,000 homes.  Project Apollo was slated to be the first national research service to track media consumption both in and out of the home.  Although the information the program could have provided would please any marketer looking to create more effective campaigns, Project Apollo failed to secure enough clients. 

It goes without saying that as the media environment continues to become even more complex, cross-platform data will, as Linda Dupree (Arbitron’s Executive Vice President, Portable People Meter, New Product Development) stated, “bridge the divide of marketing strategy and media planning.”  The media industry is drastically changing and although Project Apollo was positioned to provide the marketplace with the much coveted single-source data, perhaps the concept was lightyears (sorry, another space reference) ahead of its time.  Audience measurement has turned into an extremely competative business, and with the likes of TiVo, DirecTV and Google throwing their hats into the ring, marketers may feel safer investing in the specialized data these companies offer. 

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