Innovation & Design

Nielsen's GamePlay Metrics


A new division from Nielsen will establish metrics for buying and selling of advertising within videogames

The new all-electronic ratings service, Nielsen GamePlay Metrics, will establish new metrics for the buying and selling of advertising in videogames. In addition, the data, which will be provided to subscribers on a weekly basis, will show gamers’ activities across other media platforms like TV and the Internet.

This new data, which will be delivered to clients on a weekly basis, is the first offering from the newly created Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services division. 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.

“The service utilizes the existing National People Meter sample that has been in place for decades,” said Jeff Hermann, VP of Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services. “The panel of 10,000 people is representative of U.S. TV consumers, thereby also representing a video gaming universe.”

Hermann said that while the National People Meter has always measured usage of videogame consoles, a new audio signature matching technology enables Nielsen to harvest the data from the existing sample. In addition, Nielsen is leveraging the data collection assets of other VNU companies to round out the view of the active gamer.

Statistically Representative

“We are not targeting homes of gamers specifically,” said Hermann. “The panel represents the media consumption habits of the US consumer. Since the panel is statistically representative of all U.S. consumers, the gaming population is a subset of the overall panel and statistically projectable to represent game title and duration of play of the entire gaming population.”

Nielsen’s new technology measurement solution will provide data elements like: Platform, Console type, Genre, Game title, Usage, Duration, Demographic composition, Daypart, and Cross media consumption. Hermann said this data, which will focus on the top game titles beginning in Q1 2007, will eventually expand to track all games released. The reporting of the data will be made available to the charter clients in Q2 2007, and to the market overall mid-year 2007.

“This is an independent measurement solution based upon our audio matching capabilities,” said Hermann. “No industry cooperation is required; however, additional cooperative measurement solutions are being pursued with game ad networks, developers and console manufacturers.”

Hermann said the new data will enable the videogame 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 GamePlay Metrics service also will provide advertisers with comprehensive analysis on how video game play affects or complements the use of other electronic media. For example, the data will show what television programs 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.

"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," said Saneel Radia, Group Director at Play, the gaming division of Denuo. "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."

While the U.S. will be the first country to get this data, Hermann said Nielsen is pursuing global measurement with entry into Asia-Pacific markets and select EU countries. He said these expansion plans will be announced next year.

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