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The Nielsen Company said Friday that it is suspending its PRISM initiative, which was designed to provide syndicated data about in-store shopper traffic and marketing activity. The company blamed the uncertain economy for the move, saying that “given the nation's serious economic state, Nielsen and its clients have decided this is not the right environment to launch a national syndicated service. While the industry as a whole is very supportive of a syndicated service, many clients, in the face of the current economic environment, are not in a position to fully fund a syndicated service at this time.

The PRISM project was launched in 2006, spearheaded by the In-Store Marketing Institute and supported by a number of retailers and CPG companies, and it was originally expected that it would be rolled out by the end of 2007. In addition to delays, Walmart, which had supported PRISM from its inception, announced last month that it would not participate in the program from that point on.

KC's View:
It can’t help when the biggest retailer in the world decides to drop out of a new program. But the instinct here is to take Nielsen at its word when it blames the economy for suspending PRISM, if only because it seems entirely credible considering the economy is doing so much other damage.