BigChampagne Challenges Nielsen With New Ratings Service

By Richard Menta 8/5/09

Think of media ratings services and the name that comes to mind first for most people is Nielsen. Whether it is the Nielsen ratings for Television or Nielsen Soundscan for record sales the brand is the one that the major media has relied on for years when pricing ad revenue and tracking what products move best. BigChampagne hopes to change that in the near future.

Seeing opportunity, BigChampagne announced the beta of the updated BC Dash, a service that will give access to the live data sets measured from a legion of delivery platforms for audio and video including; YouTube, MySpace, the P2P networks, iTunes, online and terrestrial radio etc. Customers will have direct access into the BC Dash platform that will allow them to track the consumption of any song or video file they choose. "We're rebooting the charts," BigChampagne CEO Eric Garland told Digital Music News. "The new BC Dash is a platform for managing information in the real-time age and turning data into actionable insight". BigChampagne is also creating a news and data portal that will feed its own charts and newsworthy observations to the press.

BigChampagne takes its data from large crossections, which improves the accuracy of the data. But can it compete with a stallwart like Nielsen?

Despite its familiar branding, Nielsen's techniques for accumulating this data has been suspect for decades. Back in the 1970's and 80's Nielsen still rated national television viewership from what they called a statistically significany crossection of only 1,200 households. As for Nielsen Soundscan the Net is full of articles listing its limitations. For example, Nielsen Sounscan never used to measure albums sold by one retailer. They had to amend that policy when it became apparent that The Eagles, with 711,000 copies sold in a single week through an exclusive with Walmart, would not be recognized on their charts, thus leaving Britney Spears with 290,000 copies sold to top it.

BigChampagne's biggest job with BCDash is to convince long time Nielsen Media Research customers that its service is the superior one now that more and more users turn to the Internet for their entertainment.

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