NEWS1 July 2009

Kantar merges TNS panel business into Lightspeed


UK— Kantar is merging TNS’s 6th Dimension online panel business with Lightspeed Research.

The merged business will operate under the Lightspeed name, with David Day remaining as its global CEO. Day is also currently serving as Lightspeed’s interim CEO for Europe, Middle East and Africa, after being promoted from that position to the global role last month.

He will be supported by Chris Urinyi, CEO for the Americas, and Terry Wiley, CEO for Asia Pacific. A new global role of chief operating officer will be filled by Efrain Ribeiro, who joins from Ipsos next week.

TNS became part of Kantar after being bought out by parent company WPP in October last year. Kantar CEO Eric Salama said the decision to merge the online panel businesses was “the result of detailed conversations with clients about their present and future needs and an extensive cross-company analysis of our capabilities, strengths and market opportunities. By merging our existing businesses, we have the opportunity to offer unparalleled global sample reach and scale, best-in-class panel management and sampling expertise and state-of-the-art sample management technology.”

The merger will make Lightspeed “the pre-eminent global online panel provider”, Salama said.

The news comes just days after the announcement that another major panel provider, Greenfield Online (which owns Ciao Surveys), had been bought out by rival Toluna, creating what Toluna claims is “the largest independent provider of panels and technology to the market research industry”.