Nielsen Foe Becomes NetRatings Foe, Backs Rival Online Measurement Service

Frank Maggio, the Florida real estate tycoon and media entrepreneur who has been trying to launch a new TV ratings service to compete with Nielsen Media Research, is now also backing an online measurement start-up to compete with Nielsen//NetRatings and comScore Media Metrix. Maggio tells Online Media Daily that has made a significant investment in Jagged Peak, a St. Petersburg, FL-based company that specialized in online fulfillment services, to develop a new system for providing second-by-second audience ratings for steaming video services.

Maggio says Jagged Peak will also provide other backend services, including customer relationship management, for the online component of Maggio's ReacTV service, an interactive TV channel that will launch simultaneously online and on cable TV systems in August.

He said the company plans to integrate the online audience data with second-by-second TV audience estimates into what he claims will be the first "fused" ratings for TV programming distributed simultaneously over broadband and cable TV.

"NetRatings is more about website visits. This will be more about integrating TV and online," he says.

The plan is key to the success of Maggio's ReacTV service, which has gotten relatively few distribution agreements from cable operators and will rely primarily on online distribution of ReacTV's interactive TV shows - mainly interactive game shows designed to encourage viewers to interact with advertisers' brands by paying prizes to play-at-home contestants.

"We will have 55 million (broadband) subscribers on day one," Maggio says, estimating that 87 percent of ReacTV's advertising revenues will be driven by online audiences vs. 13 percent from conventional TV. Maggio also is introducing a new system for advertisers and agencies to purchase ad time on ReacTV directly online, utilizing the simple "shopping cart" approach popularized by online commerce sites such as Amazon.com (see related story in today's MediaDailyNews.

The Jagged Peak deal comes a week after Nielsen unveiled its own plan to develop a system for measuring broadband video programming services and to integrate those audience estimates with its conventional TV ratings services.

Last year, Maggio filed a federal antitrust suit against Nielsen, claiming that its business practices have created anticompetitive environment that has blocked his own fledgling TV ratings service, erinMedia, from entering the market.