Media measurement giant AC Nielsen has bought its main competitor
in the UK, Media Monitoring Services.
The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, was completed last week. The
integrated AC Nielsen MMS operation will be headed in the UK by MMS
managing director Charles Fulton, who will report to AC Nielsen UK
managing director, Mark Hallam. The management team at MMS will remain
Nielsen, which is listed on the New York stock exchange, is considered
to be the leading multinational media tracking company outside the US,
but in recent years it has lost market share to MMS in Britain. By
buying its Ascot-based rival, Nielsen hopes the company will become ’the
single currency for media measurement’.
Steven Jung, president of AC Nielsen International, said the acquisition
would not create a monopoly in the ad measurement arena. ’It is a
competitive environment and we have to earn every contract. We also have
a reputation to uphold,’ he said. ’This deal benefits everyone because
it means everyone can work to one set of numbers. Having two currencies
doesn’t help the industry.’
Fulton added: ’We’ve been the only real provider of business-to-business
media tracking since 1980, but we’ve never implemented big price rises.
The same applies to our tracking of recruitment advertising.’
Explaining why he would want to sell his pounds 6.5 million business,
Fulton said: ’With all the recent global mergers and acquisitions,
clients are increasingly requesting international ad expenditure data.
Our clients will benefit from our being able to tap in to a major
international network, and AC Nielsen will benefit from the export of
our products and client service.’
AC Nielsen has been busy expanding its empire. It is currently tendering
for the UK BARB contract, and has invested almost pounds 30 million in
its e-ratings system, which aims to create an international standard for
measuring web traffic.
’We are very excited about the opportunity to serve the BARB community,’
Jung said. ’We can improve the standard of service. We have the
technology to measure digital TV audiences.’