NEW YORK: Project Apollo, the $45 million (€30.36m; £22.87m) research program initiated at the urging of Procter & Gamble, has been aborted by its main investors: The Nielsen Company and Arbitron,

The decision to cut and run comes one week ahead of the March deadline set by Arbitron chairman/ceo Steven Morris to decide on Apollo's future.

Barely two years old, Project Apollo made it off the launch pad in January 2006 after more than a year of infighting, politicking, brink-teetering and corporate footdragging.

Even before launch, the two media metrics specialists were forced to scale back the original plans, from a 50,000-household national program to a pilot covering just 6,000 homes.

P&G also planted seed money into the project in 2005, reportedly to the tune of $20m – although a P&G spokesman, while declining to get specific,  dismissed that figure as "way high" .

"We respect the decision," said the spokesman, "but we're disappointed Project Apollo will be discontinued, and we remain committed to finding new methods to help us make effective and efficient consumer-centered media decisions." 

Meantime, bruised Nielsen Company evp Susan Whiting was in smilin' thru mode:  "We have learned a great deal from Project Apollo," she said.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff