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ACNielsen launches new services after VNU shake-up

LONDON - ACNielsen is launching a new raft of new services as part of increase investment in its market research capabilities following a restructure at parent company VNU.

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It is planning to launch ACNielsen Loyalty, a new service aimed at retailers who want to manage their frequent-shopper data to provide more targeted offerings to consumers.

Other initiatives include NielsenConnect, which will combine VNU's consumer, retail and media information to provide insights into marketing effectiveness.

It will also invest in Nielsen Media Research's Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement to cover the transition to digital media and growth of personal video devices.

The changes were announced at the same time as VNU said it would sell off its business media in Europe, including the magazines Computing and Accountancy Age, and slash 4,000 jobs. The shake-up comes following the appointment of David Calhoun as chief executive of VNU.

As part of the restructure, Pat Dodd is promoted to president of ACNielsen Europe, taking over from Frank Martell, who previously ran the European business. Martell is leaving the company.

Also leaving the company is Steve Schmidt, president and chief executive of the marketing information group, which is being disbanded.

Susan Whiting is promoted from the role of president and chief executive of VNU company Nielsen Media Research to chairman of the group and executive vice-president of VNU. She will oversee the media and entertainment businesses, including the titles The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard.

It plans to axe as many as 4,000 jobs over 2007 as part of a plan to cut costs by 10%. Most of the job cuts will come from non-client facing jobs.

The restructure will aim to give VNU's clients a single face to make interaction easier.

Calhoun said: "The changes we are making today will help us integrate the media and consumer information that our clients need to succeed."

VNU has been undergoing a period of transformation this year, starting with its privatisation and delisting from the Stock Exchange in summer.

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