Nielsen Digital Media Manager to Help Monetize Internet Video, Including UGC Mashups

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Nielsen Digital Media Manager
Nielsen Digital Media Manager

December 7, 2007 – A new Nielsen Digital Media Manager service will combine Nielsen’s content database with Digimarc Corp.’s watermark tracking network to identify the specific broadcast source of copyrighted content, thereby enabling media, social network, peer-to-peer and user generated content firms to monitor and manage Internet media distribution.

To be launched in mid-2008 with an initial focus U.S. Internet media distribution, the service will use digital watermarking and fingerprinting to establish an industry-wide, rules-based copyright security solution. The partners’ goal is to help clients including advertisers to facilitate revenue streams, including ad-pairing, e-commerce, royalty reporting and others, says Stuart Rosove, senior director of business development for Digimarc, which will codevelop the service with the Nielsen Company.

A Nielsen spokesman said the company has not yet devised the model it will use in charging for the service.

Rosove argues that Nielsen enjoys a substantial headstart over competing watermark or fingerprinting service providers like Audible Magic by virtue of Nielsen’s database of encoded content built on embedding digital watermarks into some 95 percent of national television programming for its television ratings service over the past four years.

“The challenge for others is to build a database that’s as comprehensive as possible, and that would have to be contrasted to what Nielsen has in place,” Rosove says. “We believe that’s a significant cost and would additionally require content owners to inject new processes into their workflows.”

The Digital Media Manager service will combine Nielsen’s database with Digimarc’s multimedia watermark tracing services to provide information to clients tracking content. Through what Rosove describes as Digimarc’s “broad detector network” and Image Bridge product, the service will be able to identify content throughout the supply chain—a capability not available through fingerprinting services, which must analyze content and compare analysis results with a database of content.

“If a watermark is applied at the point of broadcast, Nielsen can say this particular content came form a particular affiliate station,” he says. “Fingerprinting has no knowledge of the point of distribution. Nielsen has both technologies. We believe watermarking is efficient because it’s not an approximation. We can determine content down to granular level. In this world, more granular data will be essential.”

As a result, the partners say, Nielsen Digital Media Manager will enable content owners to leverage the popularity of new media distribution channels by identifying what content is being shared, viewed, mashed up or accessed, and by enabling content owners to make meaningful decisions on what content to allow or disallow on such sites. It further will aid development of new revenue streams and methods for measuring the effectiveness of associated marketing campaigns.

Nielsens says the service also will help social networks, user generated content (UGC) site operators and Internet media aggregators to ensure the legitimacy of content shared on their sites, paving the way for new business relationships with the content community and for extending the reach of advertising and other value-add applications to their own services.

“If, for example, there is a national ad campaign selling widgets paired to an episode of South Park, once part of that episode finds its way onto a UGC site, and the person posting it has stripped off all commercials, our system would identify the content and know it came from this broadcast,” he explains. “The content owner could go into the database and, with the rules engine, re-associate the ads with that content. Alternatively, you could introduce at that point links to purchase the widget.

At the same time, through the backend intelligence, as we get further into future, you could make a decision that, should it be posted on UGC site and content owner wants it on that site, a distributor could make new decisions on what ads to associate with it. We refer to it as frictionless commerce, to audit for royalty payments and lead up to e-commerce.”

Digimarc and Nielsen are working closely with a cross-industry alliance which in November—with the endorsements of firms including CBS, Dailymotion, Fox Entertainment Group, Microsoft, MySpace, NBC Universal, Veoh Networks, Viacom and the Walt Disney Compay—issued “collaborative principles” designed to protect intellectual property while encouraging the growth of UGC content online (see ScreenPlays Magazine, November 2007, page 12).

“In today’s world, particularly with user generated content sites, content is being freely distributed by users worldwide, for the most part in unauthorized fashion,” Rosove says. “Some content owners just want to get a handle on monitoring and gaining intelligence of this redistribution of their content to understand how it can be further monetized or to extend existing distribution or spawn whole new distribution. With Nielsen having arguably the largest deployed watermark system, this became a natural blend of our core competencies with the Nielsen Digital Media Management System.”

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