ComScore takes on NetRatings

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TV's one-horse syndicated ratings race won't be repeated on the Internet if ComScore Networks has its way.

In a shot against Nielsen/NetRatings, the Internet measurement service ComScore today releases Media Metrix 2.0, a service that will integrate ComScore's browser-based research and syndicated services with the syndicated panel from its newly acquired partner Media Metrix.

ComScore last month paid $1.48 million for the Internet Audience Measurement Services of Media Metrix in North America, part of Jupiter Media Metrix, which has sold assets and looked for buyers since the Federal Trade Commission blocked its acquisition by NetRatings in February. The FTC said the merger would have created a monopoly in Internet measurement. Nielsen's parent VNU owns 65.5% of NetRatings.

The acquisition is a relative coup for ComScore, a latecomer to the market that lacked clients because many marketers still insist on the traditional research methods of random digit dialing used by Media Metrix and NetRatings.

Currently Media Metrix monitors 50,000 U.S. users at home and 6,000 at work. By October under the new service, ComScore said it will monitor 50,000 home users, 35,000 work users and 35,000 university users through a panel that combines random recruiting and self-selection. NetRatings currently monitors 50,000 home users and up to 8,000 work users.

NetRatings is a formidable competitor. Manish Bhatia, senior VP-product marketing and business development, NetRatings, insists that its panel is superior because it's not self-selected. It also draws from a suite of services acquired in 2002, including @plan, which collects online demographic data, and ACNielsen e-Ratings, a Web-ratings service with operations outside the U.S.

"Media Metrix created this space," said ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni. And while Mr. Fulgoni said it will "compete vigorously" with Net- Ratings in the syndicated measurement space, 85%of its income comes from proprietary research. Its Buying Power Index, for instance, tracks its users buying habits online and offline through vehicle registrations and credit-card purchases.

Fast Facts

VNU-controlled Nielsen/NetRatings:

e-Ratings: Purchased from ACNielsen for $9.6 million in stock

AdRelevance: Purchased from Jupiter Media Metrix for $8.5 million

ComScore Networks:

Media Metrix's Internet Audience Measurement service: Purchased from Jupiter Media Metrix for $ 1.48 million

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