Nielsen and Sony Pair to Measure Game Network Advertising

Game network traffic and other information from Sony Playstation3 systems and the Playstation Network will be shared with The Nielsen Company as part of a new system that will help measure game and game network advertising.

The goal of the endeavor is to “help make game software a more competitive advertising platform,” while helping to reduce risk to game advertisers and spark growth of the burgeoning industry, said the companies in announcing the initiative.

Nielsen will analyze and benchmark the data provided by Sony to create tools by which the ad industry can calculate the reach, frequency and effectiveness of game network advertising. Nielsen said it will issue monthly reports about Playstation Network user statistics.

Nielsen is launching a syndicated GamePlay Metrics measurement project later this month, but Jeff Herrmann, VP of Nielsen Games, said data from Sony will not appear on GamePlay Metrics until the fall.

Starting with the North American market, Sony will share with Nielsen usage data from “enabled” first- and third-party games accessed through connected PS3 consoles and the Playstation Network. The Sony data will be combined with Nielsen’s own usage information now being gathered from more than 12,000 U.S. households participating in the company’s ratings panel.

The pairing will bring increased detail and accuracy to the advertisers’ calculations of CPMs across PS3s and the network, said Herrmann. Nielsen and Sony will study server data and media formats to optimize ad targeting on the free Playstation Network, which includes some online games, new game demos, a Playstation store, forums and message boards. Microsoft charges a fee for membership to XBox Live.

“There are a lot of studies done around game advertising effectiveness, but typically they are one-off surveys,” where gamers are asked questions to determine the effectiveness of in-game ads, said Herrmann. The Sony/Nielsen pairing will provide a “full view of the gamer and media” including what the users are doing with the consoles when they’re not playing games, he said.

Sony has “come forward and opened itself up and said, ‘Measure us. We want the most transparent and accurate measuring system’, ” said Hermann. Nielsen is open to forging similar arrangements with other game console makers, Nielsen spokeswoman Karen Gyimesi told ClickZ News.

Nielsen’s push into the game measurement arena coincides with its efforts to enter mobile measurement. Last month, the firm introduced Nielsen Wireless to measure how many people use content services such as the mobile Web and mobile video. As will be the case with the gaming measurements, Nielsen Wireless will use data from its National People Meter TV panel to help wireless providers develop better advertising campaigns, assist the mobile industry with positioning and differentiation, and show how subscribers of different carriers use media at home.

To beef up its wireless measurement practice, Nielsen last month signed an agreement to acquire Telephia, a provider of syndicated consumer research to the telecom and mobile media markets.

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