updated 10/18/2006 9:11:58 PM ET 2006-10-19T01:11:58

The company known for tracking television viewers now plans to do the same thing with video games.

Nielsen Media Research on Wednesday announced an electronic rating service to track who is playing what game. The data will be collected from the same 10,000 sample households used for Nielsen's television ratings.

Subscribers such as advertisers and video game makers will get a weekly ratings reports and charts showing the most popular games, as well as information about the type of console and the genre of the game.

New York-based Nielsen said it is still putting together a database of games to be monitored. The system, set for launch by the middle of next year, will work on the current and next-generation line of consoles from Microsoft Corp., Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co.

Advertisers have been looking for new ways to reach the lucrative demographic of video game players, and ads have been appearing within games. Company officials said the service will give advertisers a precise way to measure their reach.

Jeff Herrmann, vice president of Nielsen's wireless and interactive services division, said he expects the system will drive advertising investment and help convert video game advertising from discretionary to essential.

"The value of an entertainment medium is directly proportional to how well it is measured," he said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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