ACNielsen expands in China

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HONG KONG -- ACNielsen (China) announced a new two-year program to expand its television audience ratings service in China, where its peoplemeter service will be extended from one city to 10.

China is considered the world's fastest growing ad market. with more than 300 million TV households and more than 900 television stations.

ACNielsen established its peoplemeter system in China's largest city, Shanghai, in 1996 and is scheduled to expand service to Guangzhou later this month, according to Vice Chairman Michael Connors.

"Total spending on television advertising doubled last year and is expected to repeat that growth again this year," he says.

As a result of this growth, Mr. Connors sees "booming demand" for television audience measurement in China, which in recent years has commercialized many of its television networks and attracted "a slew" of new advertisers.

"Around two-thirds of China's TV advertising dollars are spent in the 10 cities we plan to cover," says Mr. Connors. "By the end of this year, when we begin service in Beijing, our third major market, we will cover some 40% of China's total advertising spending."

In addition to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing, ACNielsen is expanding in HangZhou, ShenYang, FuZhou, Tianjin, ChengDu, Nanjing and WuHan. When that expansion is complete, ACNielsen will have more than 3,000 peoplemeters in operation across China.

ACNielsen already provides television audience measurement in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and India in Asia Pacific.

Meanwhile, ACNielsen (China) Media Director Steve Garton has returned to New Zealand after six years in Hong Kong, from where he says he will "continue to play a regional development role" as well as run the Auckland office.

Mr. Garton has been active in operating the Media Index, ATMS and radio measurement currencies while in Hong Kong and says he will "assist in the further enhancement" of these services. He has spent considerable time in New Zealand and regards it as "home" more than his native U.K.

Mr. Garton has not yet been replaced. ACNielsen Executive Director Doug Peiffer, who replaced Tim Foley when Mr. Foley joined Optimum Media Direction in late March, says the media director position is "a tough animal to replace" and the search is still underway.

Copyright May 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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