"Nielsen will now be the provider of television measurement in 30 countries, representing about three-quarters of the world's television advertising spending," he said of the exchange, which will transfer WPP's 50% stake in NielsenAGB's European audience measurement services to Nielsen, giving it 100% control.
The transaction, announced Tuesday, was triggered by WPP's recent acquisition of Nielsen rival Taylor Nelson Sofres, Thomas noted, adding that, "As a condition of approval by the European Competition Commission and similar agencies around the world, WPP was required to divest itself of some of its assets. It ultimately agreed to transfer to us its 50% stake in AGB Nielsen Media Research in exchange for several Nielsen assets."
Thomas didn't explain specifically why the consolidation of TV advertising currency data was a good thing for Nielsen clients, but he said that it, coupled with Nielsen's expansion into online and mobile video audience measurement dominance, would benefit its customers.
"During a time of rapid and increasingly dramatic change, this opportunity to further expand our capabilities across the three screens and six continents will help ensure we continually meet the needs of clients worldwide," he assured, adding, "This expanded media data, coupled with additional product sales data gathered from our consumer group will enable us to provide advertisers with consistent, global analytics reflecting the impact of advertising campaigns on their brands."
WPP, of course, has designs of its own, and TNS is expected to continue developing alternative media audience measurement systems that may challenge Nielsen's dominance.