The two companies said their alliance is designed to "move advertising sales beyond traditional demographic data" and promote the development of new sales and marketing measures.
NBC Universal will make use of Nielsen's "fusion" product, which includes databases of consumer activity for overall product categories, including package goods, pharmaceuticals, automotive and movies. It was developed by Nielsen's NielsenConnect unit, which is headed by Jon Mandel, the former MediaCom executive.
The pact comes as more advertisers are demanding measurements which take into account the new ways consumers are getting their entertainment and information. As more homes secure broadband connections, consumers' ability to watch TV programs and other forms of video entertainment online is increasing. So media outlets are looking for ways to measure viewing across different media venues, not just that taking place in front of the big screen in the living room. Marketers, meanwhile, are eager to discover just which ads lead consumers to purchase their products.