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Nielsen to Measure U.K. Web Site Audiences

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NEW YORK Nielsen has been selected by the U.K. Online Measurement Co. (UKOM), an organization tasked with developing industry-wide standards, to create a new system for measuring audiences of U.K. Web sites.

Nielsen will launch the new service, dubbed the U.K. Audience Planning System (APS), in January 2010. It is the first measurement system embraced by the U.K. online sector as a "currency" for buying and selling ads in the Internet space.

PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that advertisers will spend close to $8 billion on Internet advertising in the U.K. in the 2009.

UKOM director Guy Phillipson, who is also CEO of the U.K.'s Internet Advertising Bureau, said the new service "represents a genuine milestone" for the U.K. online industry. "For the first time advertisers and agencies will be able to confidently plan campaigns using industry-approved audience data comparable with traditional media such as TV," he said.

The IAB said that the new APS service would particularly benefit the estimated $1 billion display advertising business, whose growth has lagged behind search and classified for want of reliable metrics. "I'm confident the UKOM Audience Planning System will transform the medium for brand advertisers," Phillipson said.

The service will measure U.K. Web sites with at least 50,000 unique monthly visitors, according to Nielsen.

The U.K. is the latest ad market for which Nielsen provides an online currency of choice service. Others include France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Switzerland, China and South Africa.

Commenting on the new service, John Burbank (pictured), CEO of Nielsen's online division said, "We look forward to working with UKOM and continuing to play a significant role in realizing the tremendous potential of the Web as an advertising medium."

Just last week the New York-based marketing and media research company (and Adweek parent) announced an agreement with Facebook to develop products to assess the effectiveness of ads on social networking sites. Earlier this month, Nielsen bought KoreanClick, the South Korean Web measurement firm.