NetRatings Adds Digital Video Measurement to Arsenal

Nielsen//NetRatings will expand its Internet measurement capabilities to include measurement of online audio and video content. It will also partner with Nielsen Media to report on the convergence of Internet and television content.

To supply metrics on online video viewing habits, NetRatings intends to use its current offerings through its SiteCensus Web analytics tool, metered MegaPanel and NetView panelists, among other services. The combined results will report on the viewing of video streams on the desktop, portable devices or cell phones, as well as overlay demographic data.

While much of the initiative is already in operation, NetRatings will enhance its metering technology to track content downloaded to the desktop and transferred to devices such as an iPod, PSP or other portable media player. It will also track video viewed on a computer when it is offline.

A few clients are currently participating in a beta test, and more will be added to the test in the third quarter. The full spectrum of services is expected to be available to clients in Q4.

“This is one of those initiatives where the clients are definitely looking for information,” said Manish Bhatia, EVP of global operations and U.S. sales for Nielsen//NetRatings.

Bhatia said the initial focus is on traditional media clients with interests both in TV and the Internet. He’s also talking to advertisers who want to track ads placed within video.

A third component of the service will provide insight into the convergence of TV and Internet viewing habits, and compare the audience of the both media. Through a partnership with Nielsen Media, the companies will implement a single-source panel to track and report combined TV, Web and digital media consumption. This segment is expected to be available during the 2007 to 2008 broadcast season.

“[Clients] want to be able to link audiences they get online with audiences on television,” said Bhatia. “So clients can understand how viewers are consuming media and what drives them from one to the other, and back.”

Until enhancements to track viewing habits across TV and the Web are made, both NetRatings and Nielsen Media plan to offer “fused” data, which will combine viewing and Internet usage information from matching respondents in the Nielsen Media Research television and NetRatings Internet panels. “The fused data will deliver to advertisers and agencies, for the first time, a planning tool to optimize integrated TV and Internet campaigns,” the company said in a statement.

NetRatings’ plans to measure video are under review by the Media Research Center (MRC). If that body approves the initiative, it is expected to also meet the criteria of guidelines issued by the Internet Advertising Bureau.

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