VNU, parent company of Billboard.biz, is beefing up its European presence in the airplay-monitoring business by acquiring full ownership of Music Control and Aircheck.

VNU, parent company of Billboard.biz, is beefing up its European presence in the airplay-monitoring business by acquiring full ownership of Music Control and Aircheck.

Music Control, the leading pan-European radio airplay-monitoring service, monitors more than 600 stations in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Ireland, Scandinavia, Greece and Mexico. It provides Billboard with the weekly European Radio Airplay Top 20 chart.

Music Control, established in 1995, was a partnership between VNU's Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems and German data company Media Control.

Aircheck monitors the airplay of 20 Dutch radio stations. Prior to the purchase, VNU had a majority stake in the company, which was a partnership with Dutch collecting society Buma/Stemra.

Both transactions have been approved by the relevant regulatory authorities.

In 2003, the combined revenues of the two companies exceeded €6.5 million ($7.76 million).

The companies will be integrated into VNU's Nielsen Entertainment, which includes Nielsen BDS and Nielsen SoundScan for the U.S. market.

"The acquisition of these two radio airplay-monitoring businesses helps bolster Nielsen Entertainment's international reach and Nielsen Music," says Michael P. Connors, chairman/CEO of VNU's Media Measurement & Information Group. "It is another step in providing our clients with a wider array of information to help their businesses."