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Yes! Arthur C. Nielsen Sr. 1918, the son of two accountants, was a natural number cruncher. In 1923, he founded a consumer data company, A. C. Nielsen Co., with a loan from his old fraternity brothers. It wasn’t the last time Nielsen incurred debt — the company nearly went bankrupt twice, and he once had to fund a business trip with $56 taken from his 13-year-old son, Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. ’41. At first, the Nielsen Company measured retail food and drugstore sales, but in 1936, it obtained the patent for the audimeter, a device that attached to radios and tracked which stations a consumer listened to most. The technology allowed Nielsen to rate the popularity of radio shows and, later, television programming. Today, the company can also offer insight on modern media, which is how we know that Netflix carried most of the top-10 streamed movies and shows in December and that gamers are clamoring for Grand Theft Auto VI.

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