NEW YORK (Reuters) - Audience measurement firm Nielsen said on Wednesday it will begin tracking media consumption over cell phones under a new service called Nielsen Wireless.
The service aims to help wireless carriers, advertisers and entertainment companies gauge what kinds of media are popular over cell phones as a growing number of consumers look to such devices to surf the Web or watch video clips.
Mobile entertainment and advertising is expected to be one of the fastest-growing sources of revenue for both media and telecommunications companies in the next few years, as improved Internet connections and phones equipped with more sophisticated technologies enter the U.S. market.
Nielsen Wireless will track how many people use mobile Internet and video on their cell phones and how that affects the time they spend with other forms of media, Nielsen said in a statement.
Nielsen Wireless will be led by Jeff Hermann, who also oversees the company's video game measurement service. Nielsen already provides data to the wireless industry on ring tone sales as well as offering surveys of mobile customers.
The service's first product will be available in July in the United States to report on media habits and audience demographics for each wireless carrier.
Data already compiled by the company shows that more than 33 million U.S. consumers over the age of 12 used their cell phone to surf the Internet in the first quarter, while more than 8 million watched video on their cell phone. Total U.S. wireless subscriptions are estimated at about 230 million.
The mobile media consumer is relatively affluent, with more than half of subscribers with video-ready cell phones reporting annual household income of $75,000 or more, according to Nielsen Wireless. Nearly half of mobile video audience members are over the age of 35, while 54 percent of the audience is male, the company said.