Earlier this year, Ipsos, a survey-based market research company, acquired OTX, a firm that specializes in monitoring consumer perceptions about entertainment and media. Now, Bruce Friend, who had overseen the much smaller OTX, has been named president of the combined company’s U.S. media, content and technology research operations, Ipsos OTX Media CT.
Friend (pictured) is a well-regarded researcher who has worked for some of the biggest media companies in the U.S., including HBO, Columbia TriStar Pictures and MTV Networks. Earlier in his career, he worked for Telemundo and ad agencies Saatchi & Saatchi and Young & Rubicam.
Ipsos OTX Media will soon unveil a series of products. These include Live Stream, a process for measuring the creative effectiveness of online ad campaigns in-flight, while avoiding intrusive pop-up requests for consumer opt-ins. There’s also a new version of OTX’s Longitudinal Media Experience Study, which twice yearly will issue comprehensive reports on changing habits in consumer media consumption within families.
OTX, with revenue of about $60 million in 2009 (compared to $1.3 billion for Ipsos), made its mark by adopting online research techniques a decade ago, earlier than many of its competitors. It has a proprietary “feeder” system in which outside providers enable it to quickly assemble panels of respondents (moms with small children, teens, gamers, hockey enthusiasts, etc.) based on client research needs.
The company’s clients include most of the major studios and TV networks, many of the nation’s top marketers such as Hasbro and digital media giants such as Microsoft, Yahoo and Google.
According to Friend, the merged operation is also exploring new businesses, such as real-time buzz monitoring and a practice that measures consumer responses using neuroscience techniques.
In addition, Friend says he plans to integrate the two companies into one cohesive unit. “We tend to operate businesses in silos, but we’re looking to create one team that understands all of these segments [media, content and technology], because that’s the way the consumer approaches the market,” he said.
Researchers said Friend has a good shot at advancing the company’s interests.
“I think it’s a good choice,” said Brad Adgate, svp, research at independent agency Horizon Media. Adgate, who also sits on an OTX industry advisory panel, added that market research is “a very competitive field, and often it comes down to a comfort level with the person running the company as well as unique opportunities presented to clients.”
Friend will report to Ipsos North America CEO Jim Smith. Commenting on the promotion, Smith said, “Throughout his career Bruce has been immersed in understanding how the evolution of technology has radically changed people’s behavior and attitudes about media, distribution platforms and entertainment content over time.” That background, Smith said, will enable Friend to “deliver tremendous value to our growing base of clients.”