New Nielsen Pacific CEO Justin Sargent on the future

The media business accounts for just over half of revenues for Nielsen in this market

Justin Sargent

After 24 years with Nielsen, the new leader of the business in the Pacific region knows his way around the company very well. He has seen massive change in his time and worked in many parts of the world, including a previous stint in Australia at the turn of the century. 

“Australia/New Zealand is now part of a cluster of countries that includes Western Europe and North America”

During that time Justin Sargent applied for an Australian passport and became a dual citizen. He started his second tour of duty here earlier this year to look after the Australia and New Zealand business.

“It was pretty good timing. There was a change under way in Nielsen as the countries used to be part of South East Asia,” Sargent told Mediaweek. “Coincidentally with me moving back, this territory has become part of what  we call the lead markets and Australia/New Zealand is now part of a cluster of countries that includes Western Europe and North America. The good thing about that is there are more similarities between this market and the US, Canada and Western Europe than there are between Australia and markets like Vietnam or Indonesia.”

Sargent reports back to head office in New York and he noted the change allows the Pacific business to fast-track innovation a lot more easily and faster.

“Nielsen recently acquired a company called Pointlogic which has some very interesting front end capabilities”

Sargent’s brief from head office this year was to link up with other parts of the world and continue to drive a dynamic and innovative organisation here. “It was about keeping pushing the products and services forward to get a very client-driven mindset – to increasingly make the organisation more agile. We are already taking steps in that direction, but there is also a lot more we can do as well.”

As to the makeup of Nielsen in this market, Sargent explained the media business accounts for just over half of revenues. “We do the TV measurement in this country in conjunction with OzTAM and Regional TAM plus we do a lot of work in digital working with the IAB Australia. We track ad spend and spot verification in this market and how companies are changing their advertising strategy.

“[Daily Digital Content Ratings] is being referred to as ‘the holy grail’ by the industry”

“Nielsen recently acquired a company called Pointlogic which has some very interesting front end capabilities. They have a product we are calling Nielsen Media Impact to help advertisers understand audience and ROI.”

When it comes to analysing data, Nielsen has global data centres around the world, but also a sizeable setup in Australia. “Because of the difference between markets, we think it is important to have an operations footprint here as well. Some of the data we measure has no boundaries these days, social media being the ultimate example.”

As digital disruption has wreaked havoc in some sectors and markets, the Nielsen brand seems to have thrived. “We have built our brand around quality, independence and authenticity. As the world gets more complicated as more and more datasets become available, particularly as the world gets more digital, we feel there is an even bigger need for what we call truth sets.”

Digital media measurement has opened all sorts of opportunities. Digital Ratings Monthly launched earlier this year and the launch of Daily Digital Content Ratings is not too far away. “That is what is being referred to as ‘the holy grail’ by the industry and it will provide even more clarity for our clients. Our role is to help our clients grow and giving them clarity about the insights will help them grow.”

Sargent said there are versions of daily digital content ratings in some international markets, but what will be ultimately unveiled here should be world’s best class.

“Daily ratings are currently in beta mode.” There is no firm date yet with Nielsen and IAB reviewing the system to make sure it is robust.

“We are also spending time on the retail side of our business to look at how we could better capture the emerging channels, particularly ecommerce, and we are also looking at ways to enhance the measurement of discount retailing.

“We are looking at other areas we could play in and one of those is sport. Nielsen recently acquired Repucom which was renamed Nielsen Sports. They do a lot of work looking at the value of sponsorship and we are building our sports vertical.”

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