NetRatings, IMS Team for Reach, Frequency Planning

NetRatings is continuing its efforts to corner the market in online media research by teaming with a sibling to introduce a suite of reach and frequency media planning tools for the Web.

Since 1998, NetRatings has marketed the Nielsen//NetRatings Internet audience measurement service as part of an alliance with VNU’s Nielsen Media Research division, a major shareholder in the Milpitas, Calif.-based researcher.

Now, NetRatings is again working with a VNU unit, Interactive Market Systems, to develop WebRF, a service designed to help planners calculate reach and frequency from potential buys. The tool, which is slated for release next month, will be based on Nielsen//NetRatings data.

NetRatings and IMS, a leader in providing media planning and analysis software to the ad industry, also said they plan to launch WebRF Plus, which combines Nielsen//NetRatings data with agencies’ and advertisers’ proprietary information — such as from ad servers or sites’ internal logfiles. The product will be available in third quarter, NetRatings said.

Additionally, the alliance also will see the partners jointly developing cross-media planning and ROI-measurement tools, though NetRatings did not elaborate.

Such tools are relatively new in the online sector. NetRatings rival Jupiter Media Metrix offers a suite of tools, as does Avenue A , through its Atlas DMT unit.

However, the newest offering in the field is likely to benefit from the success of IMS’ own suite of products, which are in use by more than 1,200 agencies, advertisers and publishers globally.

“This partnership will provide businesses with greater visibility of the reach and effectiveness of their online media buys before they spend a dime, offering the most efficient and cost effective way of ad planning and buying,” said IMS Chief Executive George Wishart. “We are delighted to be collaborating with Nielsen//NetRatings, the industry standard for Internet audience measurement.”

The news comes on the heels of several major acquisitions by NetRatings, and continues the firm’s efforts to position the Nielsen//NetRatings brand of online research and tools as the industry leader for audience measurement and planning services. Earlier this month, NetRatings acquired the @plan research unit of DoubleClick , which provides audience lifestyle data for use in media planning.

NetRatings also recently bought the AdRelevance online advertising analysis unit of rival Jupiter Media Metrix , as well as finalized the buyout of sibling research firm ACNielsen’s share in eRatings.com.

“WebRF and WebRF Plus, combined with the advertising profiling capabilities of our @plan product, comprise the most comprehensive online advertising solution from pre-buy media planning to post-run analysis,” said NetRatings President and CEO William Pulver.

The move also represents continuing efforts by VNU to consolidate its global media research units and leverage synergies. Last week, VNU announced a plan to merge ACNielsen with Nielsen Media Research and to rebrand niche research firms including SoundScan with the Nielsen name. In February, VNU merged IMS and MediaPlan, which marketed ASP-based planning and flowcharting products.

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