CONVERGENCE WATCH

Three top market research firms are joining forces to create research tools for cyberspace. Nielsen Media Research, Yankelovich Partners, and ASI Market Research announced the formation of "ANYwhere Online." The partnership will initially focus on measuring activity, or "hits," on sites within the Internet's multimedia bonanza, the World Wide Web. The three hope to determine who is surfing the Web, where they go, and how long they stay, much the same way Nielsen has long collected similar data on couch potatoes for the television industry and advertisers. Does this mean Nielsen homes will eventually be supplanted by Nielsen surfers?

- NBC and Microsoft formed a strategic alliance aimed at developing multimedia products such as online services, software and interactive televison. NBC has agreed to exclusively supply the much-anticipated Microsoft Network, a planned online service that will be bundled with Windows 95, with political, sports, business and entertainment news, and eventually, video. The partners will essentially try to create an interactive version of NBC programming that will be available when the software and service debuts on Aug. 24. The announcement is bad news for America Online and Prodigy, which already deliver NBC content, but will be shut out due to their unwillingness to meet the television network's price.

- Bell Atlantic has once again downscaled its video ambitions. The company that helped put the buzzword "video-on-demand" on the media map now plans to offer "wireless cable" television, a type of broadcasting service that relays signals from satellites to receiving stations to wireless cable towers and then to 18-inch dishes installed atop dwellings.


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