Nielsen to provide video game rating service

MUMBAI: Drawing on its resources in media audience measurement, Nielsen Media Research has launched GamePlay Metrics in the US.

This is a new rating service for video games. The all-electronic ratings service will establish new metrics for the buying and selling of advertising in video games, while also tracking the activities of gamers across other media platforms, such as TV and the Internet.


GamePlay Metrics will be the first offering from the newly created Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services division. The new data will

enable the video game industry to develop an advertising business model to offset the steep development costs of new titles for next-generation consoles.

In addition, the metrics will give advertisers a greater level of precision for targeting the digital consumer. Nielsen's new measurement service will provide advertisers, agencies,

hardware manufacturers and game developers with independent, high-quality, quantitative demographic data for negotiating the buying and selling of in-game and around-game advertising.

Nielsen's GamePlay Metrics service also will provide advertisers with analysis on how video game play affects or complements the

use of other electronic media. For example, the data will show what television programmes gamers watch when they're not playing games. This unified data source increases the precision of advertisers' target marketing, and enables them to allocate their ad dollars in a more

efficient manner.


Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services VP Jeff Herrmann says, "The value of an entertainment medium is directly proportional to how well it is measured. A reliable and accurate standard of measurement for video gaming will drive advertising investment in this medium and help convert video game advertising from a discretionary advertising experiment to a must-have option.

"Nielsen's unmatched resources, including its portfolio of intellectual property, extensive technology infrastructure and decades of media measurement expertise, are the foundation of the Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services business."

Denuo gaming division Play's group director Saneel Radia says, "For games to gain prominence as both a medium and a communication platform, the gaming industry must deliver the tools brands need to leverage it most effectively. A credible set of data and learnings such as those provided by Nielsen's GamePlay Metrics Service will provide marketers the confidence they demand, expanding the size and type of deals in this burgeoning space."

Collecting Video Game Data : The new service builds on Nielsen's Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement (A2/M2) initiative -- which provides integrated ratings for video

consumption across multiple media platforms -- by harvesting information from existing Nielsen samples.

Nielsen's national television sample of more than 10,000 households in the US currently collects information on video game use through existing People

Meter technology. Nielsen GamePlay Metrics will use a patented approach to harvest this existing information from current and next-generation video game consoles within these sample households. The new service will passively record the titles of games while capturing key demographic detail about players. Moreover, because it is based on Nielsen's national TV ratings sample,

Nielsen GamePlay Metrics also will provide advertisers with data on what TV programmes are consumed by active gamers. Nielsen GamePlay Metrics will begin providing video game ratings data in mid-2007. Subscribing clients will receive, on a weekly basis, easy-to-access ratings charts and rankings which show the most-played video games. Clients will be given necessary elements -- titles, platform, genre, daypart and demographics -- from which to base their advertising and planning decisions.

Nielsen has been working with major clients in the video game industry, including the manufacturing and advertising sectors, to develop the specific metrics that will be used to measure game playing. In order to process the data to be collected from game consoles, the Nielsen GamePlay Metrics service is developing a new audio system to process data on video game, movie, music, video and other media usage.

This system builds on Nielsen's existing experience with its Active/Passive metering technology, and eventually this same type of collection system will be leveraged by Nielsen's other A2/M2 initiatives.

In preparation for the launch of the service, Nielsen is also building a reference data base of game titles to be measured, while creating the system for reporting information to clients.

Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services was recently launched as a business unit to provide measurement services to the video game and wireless industries. The new unit will draw upon the resources within VNU's Media Measurement and Information (MMI) Group, including Nielsen Media Research and Nielsen Entertainment, which recently reported the Nielsen Active Gamer 2006 study.

The key client base for Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services will include wireless carriers, handset manufacturers, application providers, technology and infrastructure companies, video game console manufactures, publishers/developers, agencies and advertisers.

The new unit is led by Herrmann, who has held various senior marketing and product strategy roles within Nielsen Media Research and Nielsen//NetRatings. Most recently, he served as VP business development and strategy for the VNU Media Measurement and Information Group responsible for evaluating new business opportunities as well as mergers and acquisitions.

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