Canoe rocks the boat on Media Metrix

The media industry's heady delight at the arrival of third-party Internet audience measurement in Canada has been tarnished with a hint of frustration as a controversy over measurement methodologies has cropped up. In releasing its Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures...

The media industry’s heady delight at the arrival of third-party Internet audience measurement in Canada has been tarnished with a hint of frustration as a controversy over measurement methodologies has cropped up.

In releasing its Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures for the month of January, Canoe, Quebecor’s Web portal site, has criticized fledgling Internet measurement service Media Metrix Canada for understating Canoe’s audience size.

Media Metrix Canada, a joint venture between BBM Bureau of Measurement division Comquest Research and New York-based Media Metrix, began offering its services to Canadian clients in November. When it released its first-ever Canadian Internet audience report last month, it indicated that the most popular Canadian-based Web site in December was Canoe competitor Sympatico.ca, with 2.4 million unique visitors.

Media Metrix’ numbers show that Canoe, meanwhile, had only 1.6 million unique visits (1.2 million from English Canada and 383,000 U.S.) to its site in December. According to Canoe’s ABC audit (which is based on an analysis of actual server visitor log files), however, the site had 4.2 million unique visitors in January – a figure that points to an obvious discrepancy in the measurement methodologies.

Rosanne Caron, vice-president of marketing and research for Canoe, says not only does Media Metrix exclude francophone and workplace usage from its measurement data, but its panel of 2,000 home computers is of insufficient size to measure Canoe’s overall performance.

‘In the eagerness to provide data, we’re being provided data based on a methodology that is understating the true audience,’ she says. ‘It’s not only detrimental to Canoe, it’s detrimental to the whole Internet industry.’

However, while he sympathizes with Canoe’s position, Brent Lowe-Bernie, president of Media Metrix Canada, says it’s unfair to slam the measurement service, since it’s still in its early building phase.

‘We totally understand where Canoe is coming from,’ says Lowe-Bernie, acknowledging that the lack of French Canadian, U.S. and workplace audience data creates a less-than-complete picture. ‘Clearly, we want to get those components of the panel up as fast as possible, but it is a staged process.’

Media Metrix’ target is to have a home panel of 5,000 participants by the end of April (the size of the panel is now up to 3,000), about one-quarter of that in Quebec. Reporting of francophone numbers is expected to begin in April with reports from the workplace component expected in June.

‘In all the countries we operate in, this is the methodology we use because we find it works best,’ Lowe-Bernie says. ‘That doesn’t necessarily mean it keeps everyone happy.’

Other Canadian Web sites are also finding that Media Metrix is reporting somewhat lower numbers than they’d expected, but they seem willing to let the firm work out the bugs.

Marlise Nishikahama, director of marketing for Canada.com, for instance, says her firm’s visitor logs show it had 3.1 million unique visitors in January, compared to only one million reported by Media Metrix. All the same, she says, while it’s natural for any site to want to use whatever measurement system shows it in the best light, it’s just as important that an industry standard be developed that everyone can agree on.

Heidi Keuber, research manager of Sympatico, says it’s important to understand that Media Metrix is using the same measuring stick to gauge all the sites that it monitors.

‘Our log analysis also shows higher numbers than Media Metrix…However, it’s important to have an outside tracker look at us from a more objective viewpoint, and I think that’s what Media Metrix brings to the table.’

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.
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The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.