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The Nielsen Company, the longtime monitor of television consumption, is buying Telephia, a private company based in San Francisco that collects data on the cellular market, reports the NY Times.

Telephia tracks consumers’ phone calling, mobile Web surfing, video viewing and other data for advertisers. Nielsen has been building mobile tracking products on its own, but Telephia will greatly advance its ability to track media consumption on every screen, Nielsen executives said.

Telephia’s consumer research is based on surveys of different people each time, in contrast to Nielsen’s practice of monitoring what the same people watch over time, says The Times. But Telephia also holds some patents for media consumption tracking on the cellphone that is similar to Nielsen’s approach in television.

Participation TV industry is one of the hottest areas of the mobile industry, says RCR News. According to Telephia, Americans texted nearly 35 million times in the first quarter of this year, generating roughly $35 million in revenue. Game shows and reality programs like “Deal or No Deal,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Dancing with the Stars,” and “Hell’s Kitchen” utilize SMS for audience participation — and increased revenue.

Aggregators like SinglePoint deliver tens of thousands of votes/entries per second by telephone, IVR and SMS.

Seattle-based M:Metrics also measures mobile phone useage through surveys and by installing monitoring software on a user’s mobile phone.

InfoSpace says it’s hard to get big companies interested in advertising in the mobile space when so much is unknown. But analysts expect the global mobile content and applications market will be greater than $80B by 2010 and by 2011, more than 3 billion mobile subscribers are projected. Of those, approximately 74% will be mobile data subscribers, contributing 20% of revenue for operators.

Internet ads now account for 5.5 percent of total spending by the top 100 advertisers in the U.S. That adds up to nearly $10 billion, and the Internet’s about even with radio and ahead of outdoor, according to Advertising Age.

Leichtman Research Group, Nielsen/NetRatings, Point Topic and IT Facts have additional statistics.

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