Third Party Data in the Media Business

This past week, Google reported "better than expected earnings." Just a few weeks ago, a reputable third party data company reported that Google's paid click growth sharply declined from 12% in December to 0% in January and 3% in February...

Well - it turns out that those third party numbers were WAY off (I think Google came out and said click growth was 20%) - and so the market was surprised when Google reported it's numbers...

I geniunely don't have an issue with ComScore. They tried downplaying their numbers when they came out - but Wall Street Analyts felt it was more fun to jump on the "Google is sinking" bandwagen.

My burning issue has nothing to do with Google or ComScore or Wall Street Analysts. Well, it sort of does, but not directly. You see, in the Television market - for decades - Neilsen Ratings is THE third-party barameter of television viewership. It is the source of information that values and compensates television networks. It is the deciding factor if a television production is successful. They SWEAR - much like ComScore swears - that their data is accurate given statstical modeling...

I have a HUGE issue with this. I think I've blogged about this several times -- and will continue to do so. The cable companies have the REAL data, but for some reason - they don't release it. In the online model -- Google had the real numbers -- released it -- and proved that 3rd party data can (and probably is) way off base.

In the online world - the value and accounting of billions of dollars isn't based off the third party data, however... In the TV and Radio and Print worlds .... THEY ARE! Why are companies so scared to release the real data?

When will it change????? I have no idea...but it drives me nuts!

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