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Media Metrix beats 4Q forecasts

Media Metrix (Nasdaq: MMXI) lost less than analysts predicted in the fourth quarter.

After market close Tuesday, the online traffic measurement company reported a fourth quarter loss of $2.3 million, or 12 cents per share, excluding amortization and special charges. First Call consensus predicted a loss of 19 cents per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31.

Shares of Media Metrix rose as high as 36 in afterhours activity. The stock closed Tuesday's regular trading at 33 1/8, down 1 for the session.

Fourth quarter revenue rose to $7.6 million, a 38 percent improvement sequentially and 224 percent gain year-over-year. The total annualized value of all Media Metrix contracts at the end of the fourth quarter totaled $28.2 million, compared to $19 million in the third.

Gross margin rose to 53.9 percent in the fourth quarter, up from 46.1 percent in the third. The company added 109 clients in the fourth quarter, bringing its total customer base to 619.

For the full year, Media Metrix lost $6.9 million, or 42 cents per share, excluding special charges, on revenue of $20.5 milion.

Also Tuesday, Media Metrix announced plans to buy Sifo Interactive Tracking Media, a unit of the Sweden-based Sifo Group. Media Metrix also unveiled an alliance with Big 5 consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to study consumer activity on the Internet.>