Nielsen Execs Defect to Launch In-Game Metrics Firm

Two former Nielsen execs have launched a new in-game ad ratings system to verify the reach and demographic characteristics for their video game buys. IGA Worldwide is the agency’s first customer under the ratings system.

Called Gameasure, the in-game measurement play is housed under a new media measurement and ratings company called Interpret. The system promises to offer third party reporting on the demographics, reach and frequency of video game advertisements, as well as exposure duration and depth of engagement.

Gameasure will use panel-based data from “thousands” of male and female gamers and will cover the spectrum of casual, hardcore, PC and console use. It will not provide auditing of individual publishers or ad networks.

Interpret’s CEO, Michael Dowling, is a veteran of Nielsen Interactive Entertainment (NIE) and led that measurement firms’ game practice. Chief Strategy Officer Jason Kramer is another Nielsen alum.

Dowling said he wants to build up the company’s panel to include hundreds of thousands or even millions of U.S. gamers. He said the company is in late-stage talks with several other companies in the video game advertising space, and expects to announce new relationships in the coming month.

“The in-game advertising arena [is] still in its infancy, but the foundations are in place to make this a realistic marketplace,” Dowling told ClickZ, citing Microsoft’s recent acquisition of in-game ad network Massive Inc. “One of the key pieces that’s missing is a measurement solution.”

Nielsen Entertainment has offered customized measurement of video game advertising since 2004 as part of its interactive entertainment division (NIE), and Activision and Massive Inc. are among the game publishers and networks to have deployed it. It’s not clear how Nielsen’s game measurement efforts will fare after the departure of Dowling and Kramer.

Interpret’s first customer, IGA Worldwide, operates a dynamic in-game ad network with publishers in the U.S. and overseas. It’s one of a small handful of ad networks to exclusively provide video game ad placements. Others include Double Fusion and Adscape Media.

One of the problems in the way of large scale advertising in video games is the lack of standards around what qualifies as an ad impression. While Intercept has not proposed a definition, Dowling said the company will work with publishers, in-game ad networks and the IAB’s games committee to help develop one.

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