14 set up ratings group

Fourteen media companies have formed a research organization to pursue new methods to measure audiences. The Council for Innovative Media Measurement, said they would finance studies and promote innovation in audience measurement.

They will seek answers to the question: how should the buyers and sellers of advertising time take into account the consumers who are increasingly watching shows not on TV sets, but on computers and mobile devices?

The members of the council, which is being led by Alan Wurtzel, the president of research for NBC Universal, said that their work was not meant to replace Nielsen Media Research, instead, the council will seek to identify and study new methods of measurement, they said.

"The industry recognizes that the current measurement isn't good enough," Wurtzel said. "It's not an indictment against Nielsen, it's just that no one — no one — is measuring cross-platform the way we need it to be measured."

The council includes the research chiefs of the owners of ABC, CBS, CNN, ESPN, Fox, MTV, and NBC; their counterparts at advertising companies; and representatives for several of the nation's largest advertisers.

The council said it would start by investigating two issues: the feasibility of compiling ratings from set-top TV boxes and new ways to measure viewership across TV sets, Web sites and mobile devices.

Nielsen is already testing measurement systems on both fronts. "We have always worked closely with our clients on innovation," the company said. "We look forward to working with them, along with other clients, on ways to define the future of media measurement across more screens."

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