Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The battle to become the premier cross-platform measurement firm is heating up between Nielsen and Comscore as, ahead of CES, Nielsen debuted updates to a new tool to rival one Comscore launched in beta last September.

Why it matters: Nielsen has long been painted by much of the TV industry as being antiquated and slow to evolve. Part of that, experts argue, is because the company lacks real competition that could pressure it to innovate faster.

  • "Cross-platform" means measurement of an ad campaign across various types of media — like digital, TV, mobile, etc. It's one of the hardest things for marketers to measure but one of the most important things for them to get right.
  • "This is good news and a good step. Nielsen doesn't move fast enough without competition. It’s the only way you’re going to get continued technological improvements," Jane Clarke, CEO and managing director of the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement told Axios.

Driving the news: Nielsen announced Tuesday that it will expand its cross-platform ad measurement tool to include OTT (over-the-top streaming TV) and mobile viewing — as well as YouTube for mobile audiences. 

  • Nielsen already includes Facebook in its data set, so adding YouTube helps to close the digital gap.
  • It also says the new measurement tool de-duplicates audiences so that it doesn't count the same person more than once on different devices, which Comscore has also done. The two companies have different data sets for TV and digital.
  • Sources say they are a bit skeptical about the de-duplication methodology used by Nielsen, but acknowledge that there really isn't another perfect solution.

Be smart: Nielsen is considered something of a monopoly in the TV measurement business. But, despite some threats from networks to cut Nielsen, most of them still use Nielsen ratings for both live TV and digital TV measurement.

  • An ongoing standoff between CBS and Nielsen over a contract renegotiations got some buzz on Twitter recently, but sources say it's mostly a pricing disagreement and analysts don't foresee the spat as permanent.

The bottom line: Despite these woes, Nielsen's media business is doing just fine. It's the retail side of the company, which sells insights to consumer packaged goods companies about marketing effectiveness, that's taken a hit in recent months.

What's next: Reports have bubbled that Nielsen is seriously considering going private under its new CEO and could use some private equity cash to make investments to improve both sides of its business.

  • If it does go private, it would be a massive buyout, rivaling that of Thomson Reuters' sale of a big chunk of its financial and risk division to Blackstone Group last year.

Go deeper: A standard for cross-platform video measurement

Go deeper

Two officers shot in Louisville amid Breonna Taylor protests

Police officers stand guard during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Ben Hendren/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Louisville Metro Police Department said two officers were shot downtown in the Kentucky city late Wednesday, just hours after a grand jury announced an indictment in the Breonna Taylor case.

Driving the news: Metrosafe, the city's emergency services, said it received reports of a shooting at South Brook St. and Broadway Ave., near the area where protests were taking place. A police spokesperson told a press briefing the injuries of both officers were not life-threatening. One officer was "alert and stable" and the other was undergoing surgery, he said.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 31,778,331 — Total deaths: 974,436 — Total recoveries: 21,876,025Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,943,078 — Total deaths: 201,930 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  7. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.
  8. Future: America's halfway coronavirus response

Biden: Breonna Taylor indictment "does not answer" call for justice

Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned the grand jury indictment of a Louisville police officer who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March in a botched drug raid that led to her death, saying in a statement the decision "does not answer" for equal justice.

The big picture: Biden called for reforms to address police use of force and no-knock warrants, while demanding a ban on chokeholds. He added that people "have a right to peacefully protest, but violence is never acceptable."

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