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The Nielsen Company and Information Resources, Inc. Form Production Joint Venture To Recruit and Maintain Panelists for Consumer Shopping Panels

CHICAGO and NEW YORK (August 25, 2009) – Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) and The Nielsen Company (Nielsen) have formed a U.S. production joint venture to recruit, maintain and process data from a common set of households to support the Nielsen Homescan™ and IRI Consumer Network™ panels, which will continue to be operated by their respective companies. The pool of households will be owned by the joint venture, but the techniques used for projecting, analyzing and delivering insights will remain proprietary to each company. 

The joint venture, owned 50-50, will be established using the existing Nielsen household sample and data acquisition infrastructure and will begin operation during the first quarter of 2010. The joint venture will draw from a subset of existing IRI households to replace panelists as they naturally drop from the original sample. A complete history of data (five years of back data) will be available to both Nielsen and IRI, and each company will use its own unique intellectual property (data reference, projections, technology, etc.) to produce delivery of its respective consumer panel. Under the joint venture agreement, Nielsen receives 100 percent of the targeted 100,000-plus households and IRI has access to 86 percent, with the right to acquire up to 100 percent after two years. The joint venture will be governed by a Board, equally represented by IRI and Nielsen officers and an independent chief executive officer to be recruited from outside both companies.

“Now more than ever, Nielsen will be able to quickly and aggressively build unique and actionable consumer and shopper insights for our clients,” said Nielsen Consumer North America President and Chief Executive Officer John Lewis. “The joint venture panel will serve as a critical insights foundation, and Nielsen will integrate its assets and our clients’ assets like never before as we seek even bigger client business breakthroughs. Clients tell us time and again that we must do more to capture the opportunities of today’s highly volatile and fragmented consumer landscape, and the joint venture will be an enabling step.”

“We have an aggressive innovation agenda focused on delivering superior consumer and shopper insights to our clients,” said IRI President and Chief Executive Officer John Freeland. “This joint venture is yet another step in furthering that focus and enables IRI to concentrate on the consumer panel innovations that really matter: increased speed to insight via new technologies, deeper and broader insights covering a full 360° view of the consumer, and new automated analytics to accurately predict changing shopper attitudes and behaviors.”

In addition, IRI’s RxPulse™ Patient Panel will be replaced by a new Rx panel recruited by the joint venture and will be designed to maintain the continuity of IRI’s current RxPulse panel. Nielsen will have access to the Rx household data and will continue to be the sole provider of its Hispanic specialty panel.

Currently Nielsen and IRI operate separate panels in which households provide purchase data used to analyze volume and share level trends based on what is happening in the home: who is buying, where, how often, the level of brand and retailer loyalty, and the impact of shopper promotions. In this new joint venture, both Nielsen and IRI will continue to sell and service consumer panel data to their respective clients, under their respective brand names—Nielsen Homescan and IRI Consumer Network—from this common data source.