"We will be No 1 in custom research in India once NFO MBL India joins the ranks," DP Basu, managing director, TNS Mode, told agencyfaqs! during the course of an exclusive interview. Basu said while 100 per cent of TNS Mode's revenues in India - which stands at Rs 30 crore currently - accrue from custom research, that of NFO MBL is in the vicinity of Rs 22 crore. Incidentally, market sources peg the revenue of ORG-Marg, the largest market research outfit in India, from custom research at Rs 45-50 crore and that of IMRB at Rs 40-45 crore.
agencyfaqs! diehards will recall the article "Will the TNS acquisition of NFO WorldGroup affect India?" (agencyfaqs!, May 16, 2003), where we had stated that the UK-based market research outfit Taylor Nelson Sofres has entered into an agreement with The Interpublic Group of Companies to acquire its MR arm NFO WorldGroup. The acquisition is set to be complete by July 2003.
Talking about the fallout in India, an executive close to the development had indicated then, "If one were to look at the spirit of the acquisition, the existence of one, single, unified entity is the only possible outcome. That TNS will remain as a brand is a certainty. What is not known is whether NFO will be retained as a TNS sub-brand or it will be merged into the new entity. All these things will be clear over a period of time."
Since then, Basu says, certain other developments have taken place internationally which could serve as a pointer for things to come. According to him, the Taylor Nelson Sofres brass in the UK has decided take a three-pronged approach for three different parts of the globe. While the Asia-Pacific region can expect a complete merger of the two entities, USA will see a partial merger, and in Europe the decision on the shape of things to come has been deferred to the year 2004.
While the TNS Mode brass in India eagerly awaits a decision on how the merger will shape up in the country, it is going ahead and tapping two relatively uncharted areas of industry research - trade research and film industry research. "We have deliberately kept away from syndicated products like retail or television audits. Rather than being one more player generating more data, we prefer to be known as a 'thinking research' company," explained Basu.
"While we have decided to wait till there is clarity on the NFO merger front, we are clear that trade and film industry research are two potentially big areas were we can contribute to consumer and business understanding. While the Indian film industry is a multi-billion-rupee industry already, I am yet to come across sustained PR work or well-concerted advertising activity for even a single movie. My question is if you can afford to spend so many crores on making a movie, why not send a couple of lakhs more to increase the probability of its success?"
He's definitely upbeat about the future. "We are looking to emerge as an agency far stronger than being just two merged entities," he said, adding "once the ego issues are overcome creatively, I am sure we will have a large enough size to invest more and take bigger risks." © 2003 agencyfaqs!