Ratings company ACNielsen has acquired research company www.consult for anundisclosed sum.
Founded in 1995, www.consult, under the stewardship of the ubiquitous Ramin Marzbani, rapidly carved out a niche for itself as one of the leading local commentators in the online space.
According to ACNielsen, blue-chip clients like Yahoo, Lucent, Citibank andIBM have fuelled strong revenue growth for the research outfit, exceeding 40 per cent annually.
ACNielsen, having lost the TV ratings contract in Australia which expires at the endof the year, is now attempting to broaden its scope beyond traditionalmarkets.www.consult executives were not available for comment as this story wasbeing prepared.
According to Vivienne Feyen, VP marketing, Red Sheriff, "If you look atthe Jupiter Media Metrix merger there is now an international spread totheir perspective. International specialists in information are looking tobring more of a depth of range into their offering to provide a totalsolution. Nielsen are following suit and looking to expand their offering.
Companies don't want a single solution. They want a complete solution."
The acquisition follows the development of new Internet-related businesses at ACNielson, including its ACNielson.online market research business, and the ACNielson eRatings.com business, a panel-based audience measurement service that measure the web-surfing behaviour of Internet users.
Aside from Media Metrics, the company's main competition in this space is Australian-born Internet measurement company Red Sheriff, who are making some bold moves of their own.
Red Sheriff is in the process of relocating to the US market after adding a further $3.5 million of funding from Ericsson-Deutsche Technology Fund to the $34 million raised through Deutsche European Partners last month. Red Sheriff has also purchased the rights to a patent from Thinking Media that will strengthen the company's measurement of rich broadband media content and mobile media content.
Vivienne Foyen, marketing and communications director for Red Sheriff said the ACNielson move was no surprise, as it mimicked Media Metrix's acquisition of Jupiter research earlier this year. She claims Red Sheriff's sharpshooter' service has been offering similar syndicated reports to what www.consult provide for four years.
"Without the acquisition, I think www.consult would have been squeezed out of the market anyway," she said. "Competitors are internationalising their research and offering everything at a larger scale. For ACNielson, it rounds out a service offering which was ad hoc."
Brian Milnes, general manager of Nielson NetRatings disagrees. "Any opportunity to broaden our clients' knowledge base can only be good for our clients," he said.