Nielsen, the market research company known primarily for its TV rankings, announced earlier today that it is acquiring leading radio research company Arbitron in a move to offer a more complete profile of customers across multiple mediums. As part of that, the two companies — should the merger be approved by regulators — will begin to pay more attention to web data and internet-based radio stations. Steve Hasker, Nielsen’s president of global media products (who'll be leading Arbitron after the merger), told Bloomberg that "we want to cover as much of the media landscape as possible," and continued on to say that the company plans to start monitoring internet radio services like Pandora.

That should be good news for Pandora, which has maintained that for it to be competitive with traditional radio broadcast in the fight for advertising dollars, it needs to be ranked equally with them by services like Arbitron. Last year, in Arbitron's absence, Pandora released its own statistics, and a spokesperson for the streaming media company told AdWeek in January that "broadcast radio companies are clearly afraid of what an accurate apples-to-apples measurement with Internet radio will show." While details on how online radio will be ranked are scarce, it's clear that the companies are addressing the impact of the internet — news of the merger comes just a day after Nielsen announced a partnership with Twitter to measure the effect of programming on social media conversations.