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ComScore hits profitability

The Web measurement company says it has signed a five-year, $18.5 million customer contract that will lead to its first profitable quarter.

Web measurement company ComScore Networks said Monday it signed a five-year, $18.5 million customer contract that will lead to its first profitable quarter.

ComScore, a privately held company based in Reston, Va., also said it raised $12 million from venture capitalists, including Accel Partners, J.P. Morgan Partners, Flatiron Partners and Institutional Venture Partners. The funding marks ComScore's fifth round of funding and pushes its total capitalization to about $88 million.

The four-year-old company said it will earn more than $30 million in 2003, thanks in part to signing its biggest contract for delivering data on Web site behavior. The company would not name its newly signed customer or its industry, but it said the partnership will make its third quarter the first profitable one in its history. Last year, ComScore, which has about 170 employees, said it earned $14.3 million in revenue.

"This contract, which we believe to be the largest to date in our industry, is a powerful confirmation of the value of the consumer insight that ComScore provides to its clients," Magid Abraham, ComScore's CEO, said in a statement.

ComScore is locked in a battle with Nielsen/NetRatings for dominance in the Web measurement and analysis business. The companies survey people's online surfing and buying behavior worldwide, though they conduct most of their research in the United States. ComScore uses a proprietary, patent-pending technology that measures the behavior of more than 1.5 million Net users. It analyzes this data to give clients insight into consumer behavior.

Last week, Nielsen/NetRatings reported a second-quarter net loss of $6.1 million, or 18 cents per share, on revenue of $10.2 million, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). That compared with a net loss of $6.5 million, or 20 cents per share, on revenue of $7.3 million in the second quarter of the previous year. The company expects to earn between $37 million and $39 million for the full year.