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BizReport : Internet : July 13, 2000


Exclusive Interview with Kurt Abrahamson, COO, Jupiter Communications

It's no secret that when people think of Internet analysis, many of them think immediately of Jupiter Communications. And when people think about Internet usage statistics, they think immediately of Media Metrix. So it should be no surprise that the proposed merger of Jupiter and Media Metrix into one entity has created quite a buzz.

by Michael Grebb, Special Correspondent

The deal has also highlighted the increasingly competitive environment to snag clients desperately trying to figure out the Web. Jupiter now plans to combine Media Metrix' statistics with its own research to create a slew of new products that it hopes will set it apart from its competition. Kurt Abrahamson, Jupiter's president and chief operating officer, gave BizReport his take on why the merger makes sense and what it means for the burgeoning Internet research game.

MG: The big question is, why Media Metrix and why now? What's the concept behind this merger?

KA: The main concept is our creating a platform that we call an Internet Information Services Company. We think it's a simple concept. We have Media Metrix, which is incredibly data rich and has all sorts of analysis on audience size and transactions. But they hear all the time from their clients that they love the data but would love to have some analysis on top of it. Our clients, meanwhile, are always asking for more data. The idea is that between the two companies, we can offer both of our clients a lot of different things. We also looked at our client bases and, a little bit to our surprise, we found that the vast majority of our clients did not receive both companies' services. We have 1,700 unduplicated clients and only 200 that are duplicated. It's pretty amazing. Right there, we have cross-selling opportunities. There's lots of different things we can do to create new products to leverage this data, as well as just using it to fill out our analysis.

MG: How much was increasing competition among Internet research firms a factor in necessitating this merger? Do you think this will enable you to more ably compete?

KA: We feel that the merger has created a new company with new opportunity. So it leap frogs some of our competitors and puts them in a position in which they will need to respond. But it wasn't that competitively we felt we had to do it as much as we felt the combination of the two companies was very powerful and made a lot of sense. Jupiter and Media Metrix were really doing well in respect to our competitors, but together we create a whole new animal. Our clients can now get two things from one place, and hopefully we can create products that are better than what anyone else has on the market right now.

MG: With the NASDAQ still down and venture capital more scarce, how much of this merger is designed to maintain growth amid a shrinking pool of potential new clients?

KA: Jupiter's client base is very non dot-com dependent. Less than a third of our clients are dot coms, and only a small percentage of that are those who have been really feeling the shakeout. In general, we don't have a large part of our client base in shaky hands, and Media Metrix doesn't either. So this merger wasn't done to minimize our exposure or our weaknesses.

MG: Hasn't the tech pullback affected your ability to woo new clients?

KA: It hasn't slowed us down. We're still growing very quickly. But a little bit of the froth has gone away. It's not quite as easy to walk into a client and have them write you a $40,000 check just to get your data instantly. There's a little bit more consideration going on. A good thing is that we're seeing our best growth in Fortune 500 companies, which take much larger contracts with us than some of the dot coms do. So I'm not going to say it has had no impact, but it really hasn't hurt our growth in any way.

MG: Should we expect more acquisition activity from Jupiter and Media Metrix?

KA: We're not out there looking to acquire willy nilly. There are obviously possibilities. But there's no specific rollup strategy in play here. But the idea was to build something that had some flexibility and the ability to expand if something rational came up.

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