Nielsen Media Research will begin limited tracking this week of what the nation's television audience records on digital video devices for later viewing.

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Nielsen Media Research will begin limited tracking this week of what the nation’s television audience records on digital video devices for later viewing.

Nielsen, whose TV viewership ratings affect the flow of advertising dollars, is monitoring digital video recorder (DVR) use to better reflect viewer habits as more of the devices make their way into U.S. homes.

The company will initially have measuring equipment in 60 homes that have DVRs, with plans to increase the number by 100 a month until the Nielsen survey is representative of the national use of the devices. Nielsen said about 7 percent of the U.S. households with television have DVRs.

A critical issue in the use of DVRs is the option to fast-forward through ads. The Nielsen meters will provide a minute-by-minute account of viewers’ activity, including whether ads fall victim to the fast-forward button. A decline in the viewership of ads could limit what networks charge advertisers.

Lenovo Group

Hire expected to aid

bid to topple Dell

Lenovo Group, seeking to usurp Dell as the world’s largest computer maker, just hired itself some inside knowledge.

William Amelio, Dell’s president for Asia-Pacific and Japan, joined the Chinese company as chief executive officer, Lenovo said. The 48-year-old replaces Stephen Ward.

Lenovo, which bought IBM’s PC business in April, is turning to a longtime IBM executive who helped Dell’s sales in Asia double in the past four years. Lenovo shares recorded the biggest gain on Hong Kong’s benchmark index this year as a successful integration of the IBM business enabled profit to grow in the two most recent quarters.

Apple Computer

Web growing fast,

thanks to iTunes

Driven largely by the popularity of the iTunes music service and software, Apple Computer’s Web site was the fastest-growing last month among the major brands, according to a study by Nielsen/NetRatings.

The site drew 30.8 million unique visitors last month, a 57 percent jump from the 19.6 million a year earlier. Google saw a 29 percent growth in visitors while had a 16 percent boost.

Yahoo! remained the Web’s leading brand with 104 million visitors, a 10 percent increase from November 2004. But among the Web’s top 10 brands, Yahoo’s growth ranked only seventh.

Comparing all sites with at least 1 million visitors last month, the PhotoBucket photo-sharing site saw the largest growth — a 16-fold increase to 15.6 million visitors, from 983,000 last year.

Social-networking sites MySpace and Facebook had the second- and third-highest growth, respectively. Wikipedia, an encyclopedia that lets volunteers add and change entries regardless of their expertise, was ninth on the list, nearly quadrupling its traffic.

Warner Music Group

Subpoena issued

in industry probe

Warner Music Group has been subpoenaed by the New York attorney general in an antitrust investigation into pricing of digital music downloads, the company said in a securities filing Friday.

Warner said it received the request for information Tuesday.

“As part of an industrywide investigation concerning pricing of digital music downloads, we received a subpoena from Attorney General [Eliot] Spitzer’s office as disclosed in our public filings. We are cooperating fully with the inquiry,” said Warner Music Group spokesman Will Tanous.

The New York Attorney General’s Office could not be reached for comment.

A music-industry source said the current probe appears to center on the way music companies set wholesale prices for digital downloads.

Samsung Electronics

4th-quarter profit

to surpass forecasts

Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest maker of memory chips and liquid-crystal displays, said fourth-quarter profit from both products will exceed its forecasts on demand for televisions and video-game players.

Earnings from the two businesses beat projections made in October, Chu Woo Sik, head of investor relations at Samsung, said in an interview, without disclosing either forecast. Chips and LCDs account for about 70 percent of operating profit.

Rising demand for LCD TVs in the run-up to next year’s soccer World Cup, coupled with higher sales of chips used in Microsoft’s Xbox 360 game consoles, may bolster Samsung’s profit. Samsung’s shares rose for a fifth day to a record.

“When you look at recent relevant data, they all point toward the fourth quarter looking pretty good for LCDs and chips,” said Kim Seong Ki, who oversees the equivalent of $1.4 billion, including Samsung stock, as chief investment officer at Chohung Investment Trust Management in Seoul. “The fun should carry over to next year.”


Joint venture set up

with firm in Japan

Qualcomm, the world’s No. 2 maker of processors that run mobile phones, and KDDI agreed to form a venture to using the U.S. company’s television-program-transmission technology in Japan.

The companies will set up the venture Tuesday, KDDI said. KDDI, Japan’s second-largest phone company, will own 80 percent of the new company and seek possibilities to offer Qualcomm’s “MediaFlo” service in Japan.

Qualcomm is looking abroad to spread its “MediaFlo” service, which can transmit a single broadcast, such as a World Series baseball game, to millions of cellphones at the same time. Qualcomm plans to offer the service in the U.S. with Verizon Wireless next year.

The new technology is in contrast to the terrestrial digital TV programs for mobile phones, which will be available in Japan beginning in April, said KDDI spokesman Haruhiko Maede.