Just an Online Minute... What's a Digital Media Universe?

A few interesting things to report on today. First off, Nielsen//NetRatings yesterday announced they’ll be tracking the entire Digital Media Universe starting in Q4, providing the industry with “the most comprehensive view of Web and digital media usage.”

With the launch of the Digital Media Universe, the Nielsen//NetRatings service will expand to combine Web-based traffic with Internet applications and browser channel audience data, including comprehensive measurement of AOL proprietary channels. The rest of the Digital Media Universe is comprised of the measurement of instant messaging, media players, media sharing applications, ISP applications, wireless content systems, Web phones, news and information toolbars, connected games, weather applications, auction assistants and shopping assistants.

Digital Media Universe measurement is estimated to increase coverage of the number of people who use Internet applications residing on the desktop, but do not use the Web, by 7%, allowing companies to reach and market to a growing audience using "persistent" applications to conduct online activities.

The other piece of good news comes from Overture Services Inc., which has extended and expanded its global search distribution agreements with Microsoft Corp. to provide its search results to MSN Search Pane and MSN sites through December 2003 and December 2004, respectively, in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The new agreements now include Germany and France.

The MSN Search Pane agreement was due to expire at the end of September 2002, and the MSN Search agreement was due to expire in December 2003.

The third piece is not as encouraging. The New York Times Job Market Confidence Index, which measures the perceptions of employers and job seekers in the greater New York metropolitan area, dropped 2.9 points to 97.1 in September from 100.0 in August. September's Current Conditions measure of the Index, which looks at respondents' perceptions of the current state of the job market, dropped to 117.3 in September from 120.1 in August. The Expectations measure of the Index, which considers respondents' expectations concerning the future of the job market in six months, dropped to 92.5 in September from 95.6 in August.

Contract to the above, however, consumers' overall confidence in the economy may be sliding, but their faith in the Internet is not. That’s according to new findings by ACNielsen and Yahoo! whose quarterly survey of consumer attitudes toward the Internet found that confidence in the medium stayed constant with last quarter, but went up eight points compared to a year ago.

Since mid-2001, the Yahoo! Consumer Confidence Index -- which tracks both Web users and non-users -- has risen to 113 points.