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Nielsen, MRI Each Buy 25% of Media Behavior Institute

Research giants GfK MRI and Nielsen have each acquired 25% of Media Behavior Institute, which plans to launch a cross-media research service called USA TouchPoints.

The deal marks the first time MRI and Nielsen have invested in the same company. Kathi Love, president and CEO of MRI and Matt O'Grady, executive VP of media audience measurement for Nielsen, will join the board of Media Behavior Institute.

USA TouchPoints will give advertisers new information about consumer media use, including where they are, who they're with and the moods and emotions they're experiencing. The program will equip 2,000 consumers with smartphones containing a special app that records media use every half-hour. USA TouchPoints will be able to target purchasers of specific product categories and brand because its sample is drawn from respondents to MRI's annual consumer survey.

Media Behavior Institute made news when it was selected to conduct a proof-of-concept study for the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), a group formed by some of the country's biggest advertisers, agencies and media owners.

"These investments from some of the biggest players in the international analytics business are ringing endorsements of the strategy we've pursued since conceiving Media Behavior Institute," MBI CEO Jim Spaeth said in a statement. "No one understands our industry's need for innovative cross-platform measurement better than GfK MRI and Nielsen. We couldn't be more pleased that they've seen fit to take this step."

"In today's dynamic media environment, providing our clients an ever-greater level of understanding of how consumers watch, buy and connect anytime, anywhere and across a multitude of devices is more important than ever," said Nielsen's O'Grady. "USA TouchPoints represents a significant advancement in cross-platform research and a fitting complement to Nielsen's far-reaching cross-platform metrics."

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.