David Lowden: My business week

The chief executive of market research group TNS on the global impact of the last seven days
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The Independent Online

Although I was in London this week, reporting TNS's interim results to shareholders, I pondered life in other cities – San Francisco, Amsterdam and Xian.

iPods were once about music. But in San Francis-co, when Steve Jobs announced Apple's overhaul of its entire iPod line, I thought about media convergence. iPods are now about video, TV, movies, podcasts, games, photos and other digital content. The other side of the media coin is fragmentation, changing business models for media companies and growing complex-ity for advertisers. Where do brands advertise? Can they measure the results? So many audiences now. So many channels.

This year we acquired a business that monitors social networking and other sites to help companies track what consumers say about them online. So, it was interesting to see the decision made by Facebook last week to open its doors to search engines. Not only does this open up details of individuals to the web at large, but it also opens another internet door to corporates. In the last week or so, we have seen some major organisations make commercial decisions following campaigns on the site.

At the start of the week, the offers for Amsterdam-based ABN Amro were still high on the agenda. All the players are valued clients, so I follow events carefully. It's a reminder too that banking will see more M&A. As brands re-align, or as one brand absorbs another, banks will look to market information to tell them how their stakeholders – external and internal – are responding to these changes.

Xian? We are in the privileged position of being the largest market research company in China. Within the next 30 years, the centre of gravity in many industries will shift to new markets such as China, where the big brands – the likes of China Mobile, Bank of China, China Telecom – will use market information to expand into Europe and the US.

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