Arthur C. Nielsen Jr., who turned the practice of measuring tangible results for marketers and media outlets into a viable empire, died Monday in Winnetka, Ill., where he lived. He was 92.
Born in 1919, Mr. Nielsen became president of his father's firm, A.C. Nielsen, in 1957, and continued to expand its measurement and research capabilities. Today Nielsen is best known as the most definitive measurement of the broad audience for TV programs. Even though technology has changed the way people watch TV and spurred the rise of new metrics, the "Nielsens" remain the central way that TV executives and even average viewers understand TV programs' reach.
Nielsen would gain more power as the cable industry developed and grew. To this day, having an audience broad enough to warrant a Nielsen rating is a signal that a cable operation has become more than a narrow start-up and has entered the mainstream.
"He was a true leader in the field of market research who set the standard for integrity and professionalism in the field," said David Poltrack, chief research officer for CBS Corp., in a statement published on Nielsen's web site. "While Nielsen today is a major public corporation, it is still imbued with the spirit of a proud family-owned business dedicated to the best principles and practices of the research profession."