An industry forum of online publishers will meet next week to try to thrash out a new way of measuring web ratings.
Xtra marketing manager Chris Thompson says he has been talking with a number of online publishers, including IDG Communications (publisher of IDGNet and Computerworld), about the development of a replacement model.
"A bunch of the industry publishers got together and said 'do we agree having a rating service is a good idea?', which it is, and [that] we should expand the group to discuss it further."
Thompson says the group will meet next week to discuss what sort of service it wants and how best to implement it. When it has reached a consensus, he hopes to put the proposal out to the industry for tender.
"The publishing industry seems to reach a level of maturity where a ratings service emerges, whether it's ABC for magazines or the people meters for television. We were disturbed to think there wouldn't be one in New Zealand for the internet."
Thompson has also been in discussion with Nzoom, Wilson and Horton and INL and will expand the list to include other telecommunication firms as well as site owners that may have an interest.
"Banks for example might be interested in finding out how they're doing against their competitors so it would be no good to produce numbers they can't use."
AC Nielsen, the long-regarded grandfather of media measurement companies, closed its web ratings office in New Zealand last year, but kept its panel of home-based users running. There are about 2900 people actively involved in the panel in New Zealand who report to AC Nielsen's Sydney office. They have software added to their home PCs to monitor their online activity.
Ironically, AC Nielsen Australia will meet with the industry group next week to see whether it will continue with its "exit strategy" or re-think its presence in the New Zealand market. AC Nielsen spokesperson Monique Perry defends the company's panel, saying it has relatively low amounts of churn.
"We have only about 2% a month."
Before AC Nielsen pulled out of New Zealand the panellists were rewarded with monthly gift vouchers. That scheme has been replaced with one that puts them into a prize draw once every six months.
AC Nielsen had always discussed setting up a work-based panel as well, however that never eventuated. Panel members are chosen to be demographically balanced, that is they are not a random selection of users, but are carefully assessed so as to provide users of the data with demographic information.