RealTime IT News

Arbitron Licenses MeasureCast Technology

Media measurement firm Arbitron announced Thursday that it acquired a license to rival MeasureCast's streaming measurement system, which it plans to combine with its own Webcast Services offering.

The deal will make New York-based Arbitron the clear leader in providing third-party audience measurement of the nascent streaming media space. Along with the license to the measurement system, Arbitron acquired the "MeasureCast" trademark. No MeasureCast employees will join Arbitron as part of the deal.

"We believe in the potential for streaming advertising," said Bill Rose, Arbitron's vice president and general manager of WebCast services. " It's a new industry and it needs an industry standard. Every advertising medium has a standard for measurement. It's our intent, because what we did today, to provide it" for streaming media.

Rose said Arbitron would begin integrating MeasureCast's technology immediately -- a task he said was made easier by the similarities of the measurement systems. Both Arbitron and MeasureCast did server-level measurement, contracting with Webcasters to track the number and length of streaming media sent from their servers to users.

Arbitron will now publish weekly and monthly audience reports under "Arbitron's MeasureCast Ratings."

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The deal ends a brewing fight between MeasureCast and Arbitron over establishing their ratings as the Webcasting measurement standard, after MeasureCast lined up big-name backing last year from NetRatings and Trans Cosmos, which participated in an $8.5 million funding round for the company. Now Arbitron's only competition will come from in-house research products provided by the major media player companies, RealNetworks and Microsoft.

The Webcasting industry has grown to a respectable size, with MeasureCast tallying 12.5 million listeners worldwide in September. For the last year, however, the issue of copyright royalties has bedeviled the industry in the United States. The recording industry last month issued a last-minute reprieve to smaller Webcasters in the payment dispute.

Portland, Ore.-based MeasureCast, which had been measuring streaming media since 1999, will continue operations under a new name, according to David Blaskowsky, the vice president for finance and chief financial officer.

"We are still the owners of the intellectual property," said David Blaskowsky, MeasureCast's vice president of finance and chief financial officer. "We will continue to develop additional products." He declined to describe the company's new offerings.

Blaskowsky said the company would continue its partnerships with NielsenNetRatings and Trans Cosmos.