CMR Parent Acquires Evaliant

Market researcher Taylor Nelson Sofres has acquired Evaliant Media Resources, which it plans to append to the online ad-tracking division of its CMR unit.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but TNS said New York-based Evaliant assets totaled about $859,000 at the end of last year, while gross revenues topped $2.3 million. The firm’s senior management team is expected to join CMR’s online practice, CMRi, which is also based in New York.

The purchase is expected to boost CMRi’s online ad tracking business. Evaliant, formerly known as Leading Web Advertisers, uses an automated spidering methodology to track the online ad spending of more than 100,000 advertisers. The technology combs more than 2,700 sites daily in the U.S. and Europe, recording all advertising that it encounters and flagging new campaigns or creative.

Clients have included Yahoo , Omnicom’s BBDO, Havas , DoubleClick , and divisions of AOL Time Warner .

CMRi, meanwhile, uses its AdNetTrackUS service to monitor both ad spending on more than 300 sites, as well as the online media spending of major brands.

“Evaliant has made a significant investment in its spidering technology, creating one of the best proprietary systems in the industry,” said TNS Chief Executive Mike Kirkham. “By combining this technology with the TNS CMR client base and marketing expertise, we will build on our leading position in this fast-moving market.”

While the CMR unit’s exact methodology remains a secret, its figures have stirred some controversy as of late. For instance, the company’s CMRi online unit, which provides the AdTrackUS service, has estimated a staggering 74 percent increase in online ad spending during the first quarter of 2001, up from $400 million in fourth quarter.

Other industry-watchers like the Interactive Advertising Bureau haven’t weighed in on the online ad sector’s first quarter revenue, though its figures (which are compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers) are likely to reveal far less dramatic growth, if any. (During first quarter 2001, the IAB and PWC estimated that industry revenues grew a far more conservative 9.9 percent from the previous quarter.) Indeed, most industry pundits are predicting flat to low-teens percent growth through all of 2002.

Spokespeople from CMR were not available for further comment on the figures at press time.

London-based TNS also said that its worldwide Media Intelligence division, of which CMR is a unit, would continue growing Evaliant’s services beyond its current operations in Europe and the U.K. In October 2001, Evaliant boosted its practice in Europe through the acquisition of Forrester Research’s InternetAdWatch service.

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