TNS executives were not available for comment, and it was unclear how the organizations were being restructured or what would happen with key executives, including Bev Andal, who last week was promoted to president of TNS MI following Fredericks departure. Andal had been COO.
In a statement, TNS said it was merging the two organizations because of the "significant long-term business opportunity of digital media measurement," and alluded to "the significant shift resulting from media fragmentation and growth of the Internet."
"Everything about the Internet is growing - the number of users, the range of applications, the depth and breadth of online purchasing, online advertising and its share of online marketing expenditure," David Lowden, CEO of TNS stated.
The new organizational structure, meanwhile, appears to more closely mirror that of TNS' chief rival in the U.S., Nielsen Co., which historically has had its Monitor-Plus ad tracking firm closely integrated with Nielsen Media Research. Monitor-Plus is a unit of NMR, and recently became an integral component of its new average TV commercial minute ratings, which became the currency of the TV advertising marketplace effective this season. Nielsen Co. also has been working to more closely integrate other assets like its recently acquired Nielsen BuzzMetrics unit, which monitors and analyzes online buzz, into its other media research and competitive tracking services.
That's something TNS alluded to, as well, noting, that it would be "aggressively" developing new digital measurement tools linking TV occurrences, creative executions, "page impression ratings," and "clickstream analysis," with various online measurement including analysis of editorial content and the audiences of blogs. Among the key acquisitions that TNS MI made under Fredericks' reign was the purchase of Cynfony, a competitive intelligence firm that monitors online buzz and conversations, much the way Nielsen BuzzMetrics does.
In a related move, WPP Group Thursday said it boosted its investment in blog and social network tracking start-up Visible Technologies, as part of a $12 million round of financing with venture capital firm Ignition Partners.