Nielsen Acquires IAG to Build Up Analytical Expertise

To gain more insight into consumer engagement on all platforms, including the Internet, the Nielsen Co. announced plans to acquire IAG Research.

While Nielsen measures what consumers view, IAG measures the effectiveness of the advertising and program engagement. IAG’s clients include major advertisers, advertising agencies, Internet providers, content providers, and telecommunications services. The combined entity will measure online and TV audiences, among other platforms.

Nielsen’s strengths are “in the quantitative area of media measurement in terms of how many people are watching and what they are watching,” said Nielsen Co. spokesman Gary Holmes. “IAG has important expertise in how engaged they [the audience] are in the program, how effective commercials are, and Nielsen feels that it would like to build up the analytical part of its business. IAG, with its expertise, seemed like a perfect fit.”

The acquisition offers data and resources to IAG as well. “IAG will get access to an enormous amount of data that Nielsen produces every day in media behavior and consumption,” said Holmes. “They’ll be able to combine data with their analytical information to come up with important insights in understanding what consumers are doing.”

In the past year, the methodologies of Nielsen and other panel-based research firms have been called into question by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. p>For Nielsen, IAG’s qualitative research adds another component it can offer advertisers and content owners.

“I think this will be an important new resource for our digital and online products. They do have an expertise in the online area. We’ll be able to marry their expertise with our quantitative research. They can develop new products and services based on our expertise and data,” Holmes said.

Nielsen’s offering price of $225 million, which is subject to regulatory review, is expected to close by the end of June..

IAG had revenue of $35 million in 2007; Nielsen’s Internet measurement services generated $114 million in revenue last year.

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