Nielsen Media Research Pairs With NetRatings

Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings Inc. are forming a strategic alliance to join their Internet audience measurement operations.

The companies said they will create a new service “to provide the media industry with the most reliable and accurate information on how people are using the Internet.”

The new service, to be called Nielsen NetRatings, combines the research and sampling expertise of Nielsen Media Research and the Internet measurement technology of NetRatings.

Nielsen Media Research is putting together a representative panel of Internet users while NetRatings offers its measurement software to track Web site activity and ad exposure. As a result, the new service can track advertising exposures, provide projectable demographic information on the exposures, and determine the effectiveness of advertising in reaching various demographic groups, the companies said.

Under the terms of the agreement, New York City-based Nielsen Media Research will acquire a “significant” equity position in Milpitas, CA-based NetRatings, and two Nielsen Media Research executives will join NetRatings’ board of directors. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“We started NetRatings to create and develop the best technology for Internet measurement with the goal of providing accurate, reliable information on how people actually use this vast and potent resource,” said Dave Toth, NetRatings president and chief executive officer. “Our relationship with Nielsen Media Research provides the perfect way to leverage our technology and puts us on the fast track to realizing our goal.”

NetRatings has already begun the process of modifying its measurement software for use in the Internet panel, and the companies expect to report data in the first quarter of 1999.

Consolidation seems to be the name of the game in the measurement business. On Oct. 13 MediaMetrix and RelevantKnowledge merged. The merged company, which took the MediaMetrix name, plans to provide coverage of all digital media, including the traffic of more than 15,000 Web sites and surfing habits of more than 40,000 Internet users.

NetRatings said it will continue to operate as an independent company and continue to expand its current offerings.

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