This paper explores how firms within the audience measurement industry, specifically its radio and television markets, have navigated myriad market and nonmarket challenges. The market strategies and the nonmarket forces that constrain those strategies are largely defined by two features: the delineation of its geographic markets by political boundaries and markets that have natural monopoly characteristics. While the pre-monopoly stage or periods of competition may be comparatively short-lived, they are still telling. Monopolists undertake market strategies designed to ensure that they are not supplanted and nonmarket actions geared to avoiding undesirable constraints and reputational damage. Depending on their legal and regulatory environment, customers of the measurement services have used both market and nonmarket actions to mitigate the market power of the audience measurement firms. This paper focuses primarily on the U.S. radio and television audience measurement markets that Arbitron and Nielsen, respectively, have dominated for decades. Non-U.S. markets, which frequently feature America’s foremost firms, illustrate alternatives to America’s largely laissez-faire approach.
The authors thank Young Hou and Lydia Kim for research assistance and Erin Rubin for editorial support.
Greene, H. and Yao, D.A. (2016), "Navigating Natural Monopolies: Market Strategy and Nonmarket Challenges in Radio and Television Audience Measurement Markets", Strategy Beyond Markets (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 34), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 367-411. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0742-332220160000034011
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