MatchLogic meters digital TV viewing

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Internet marketing company MatchLogic is getting into the TV measurement game.

MatchLogic's new @lantis division, led by President David Henderson, uses digital set-top boxes to measure viewing patterns.

"We're talking about [measuring] programming as granular as a second," said Mr. Henderson. For example, if "someone is on channel 4 for 10 minutes and then changes to channel 3, I can [measure] the exact [moment] they click from one to the other."

'QUITE THE CONTRARY'

Nielsen Media Research said it doesn't consider @lantis a competitor.

"Quite the contrary," said Jack Loftus, Nielsen senior VP-communications. "That's the kind of company we would acquire data from to integrate, in an organized way, with the data we'll be measuring."

Mr. Loftus said while @lantis will be able to measure data from the set-top box, the system will not track such information as who is watching; that's the kind of data Nielsen's people meter provides.

Beth Uyenco, senior VP-director of Optimum Research, a division of DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, has seen a presentation of @lantis and is enthusiastic. "It's a tremendously sexy and powerful tool," she said.

One of the applications @lantis will be able to track is how consumers interact with commercials in the digital TV world.

COMPLEX OWNERSHIP

MatchLogic is owned by Internet portal Excite, which last month agreed to be acquired by @Home, a high-speed cable online service that has exclusive distribution contracts with cable companies Cox Communications, Comcast Corp. and Tele-Communications Inc. Combined, the cable companies own a majority in @Home. AT&T Corp. is also in the process of buying TCI.

Mr. Henderson said @lantis is negotiating with a number of advertisers to hold trials as the next generation of set-top boxes rolls out.

Copyright February 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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