Nielsen Buys Telephia

NEW YORK In a move designed to accelerate measurement service to the $350 billion mobile phone sector, the Nielsen Co. is acquiring San Francisco-based telecom market research firm Telephia.

The deal comes three weeks after Nielsen unveiled Nielsen Wireless, overseen by Chicago-based vp Jeff Herrmann, to assess and measure mobile content. Details as to how Telephia will be integrated into the new Nielsen Wireless service are still being worked out, a company representative said.

Nielsen said that the transaction is being made as part of its broader ongoing strategy to expand measurement services across all media platforms.

The Telephia deal, Nielsen said, is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the third quarter. Both Telephia and Nielsen are private and terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Telephia serves over 100 clients in the United States, Canada and Europe from all sectors of the telecom and mobile media markets, including mobile operators, device manufacturers, retailers, infrastructure vendors, investment analysts and content providers.

Telephia tracks subscriber market share for the cell phone industry. It has also begun to track and measure audiences of video content that is distributed over mobile phones and also tracks phone network quality. In addition, it conducts consumer satisfaction surveys. There are currently more than 232 million wireless phone subscribers in the U.S.

When it launched Nielsen Wireless, officials said the service would roll out in several phases. In phase one, the unit plans to assess the size of the market and determine how various offerings impact traditional cell phone use. Phase two involves measuring mobile content.

Nielsen has already segmented its 10,000-household national TV ratings panel by wireless carrier and is in the process of identifying the Web sites and mobile video outlets those panelists use. Current data reveals that an estimated 8 million people viewed mobile video in May, while more than 33 million users accessed the Web via their phones.

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