The news is out – TNS has acquired Cymfony.  The new operating unit will be called TNS Media Intelligence/Cymfony.

I’m not surprised – in my opinion, this was inevitable.  In the Forrester Brand Monitoring Wave,
published in September 2006, one of the clear conclusions was that
Cymfony would be a great fit with a large research firm like TNS. 

Did they sell too early?  From what I can see, mainstream attention
is just starting to turn towards brand monitoring services.  In my
conversations with vendors, everyone loves the fact that Nielsen
brought attention to the space – now TNS ratchets it up a notch – and
my Forrester wave helped validate the market as well.  But nobody wants
to sell too early – like selling the rights to the Nike logo for $35 – and thus the market has been dating around, but not making long-term commitments.

expect additional activity in the brand monitoring market.  Other conclusions from the Wave:

  • Agencies will boost their market research capabilities.  I think this is the next big deal to be announced.
    MotiveQuest is the most likely candidate here.
  • PR services agencies upgrade their offerings.  Not yet, but WagEd launched their own product  called Narrative NetworkBiz360 is a great fit for one of these firms – some of which could benefit from better social media skills.
  • Nielsen Buzzmetrics will go public.  Wrong.  No IPO in sight as the measurement juggernaut formerly known as VNU builds an integrated measurement offering.  But now they have a challenger.
  • Factiva will boost consumer capabilities.  Nope.  They were consumed by Dow Jones in December.  What this foreshadows, however, is the impending forward integration of data source owners, like Verisign.  Or at least starting to charge a premium for their services.

So who’s next?  Well, the only ones I didn’t mention yet are Brandimensions and Umbria.  For BrandDimensions, it’ll mean selling off half the business, i.e. BrandIntel.
I think Umbria will follow in the path of Buzzmetrics and Cymfony,
getting paired up with a major research firm.  BTW did you know
Umbria’s CEO is the former CMO of IRI?

Too bad I didn’t include a line in there about me becoming a
billionaire!  Congratulations to Jim Nail, former Forrester analyst and
Cymfony’s CSO/CMO.