Acquisition of Spring Germany: The Interview

In January 2011 Kantar Media acquired 'Spring', a leading site-centric and user-centric internet measurement company. Based in Germany they develop tools to measure online activity in several European countries. The two companies have a history of co-operation, with Spring technology already used in Kantar Media services around the world.

We interviewed the key players on each side talking to Oliver Pischke, the Managing Director of Spring and Isabel Serrano, Global Strategy and Development Director at Kantar Media Audiences.

Oliver, tell us about Spring's background.

Oliver: Well, hard facts first. We started off in 1995. We're based in Saarlouis, which none of you will know. It's a small city in the South West of Germany.

What made you start the company?

Oliver: We started off as a one stop shop for all things internet. We developed the first travel booking portal for Germany. It became clear that the question of who was using the portal was very important to companies. We developed toolsets to monitor this and these became the foundation the company was built on.

'Clients are migrating to the internet space'

Isabel, why is online measurement such a fundamental part of Kantar Media's strategy and where do Spring fit into this?

Isabel: Our clients are migrating to the internet space. People under twenty five watch a lot of their television on their computers. Technology is changing and we need to be able to offer data on these mediums. We felt it was essential we had a team of internet specialists like Spring join us. They give us the additional expertise needed to meet the future challenges of internet measurement.

Oliver, what makes Spring so successful?

Oliver: Thank you for calling us a successful business! We try to stay
ahead of technology development and we're client focused. We're trying to
build solutions which measure the internet, not of yesterday but of today
and tomorrow.

Kantar Media already enjoys a successful partnership with Spring. Isabel, can you tell us more?

Isabel: I would say we are a dream team. Because they are geeks and we are researchers! Can I say that?

Oliver: Yes! We are geeks, we are nerds!

Isabel: But they are geeks that understand about research, which is something quite unique. We have worked together in Germany and Norway and we have found it very easy. They understand the issues of our clients.

What benefits will this bring existing customers of Spring and Kantar Media?

Isabel: Spring has been providing the meter technology to build up our Virtual Meter system. Now clients can have reliable and understandable two-screen measurements. They love it because it's not a mix of one data set with another. On the same panel, we can measure both. It's a very important development. Spring is also a provider of very reliable and strong site-centric and user-centric measurement technologies.

Oliver: We were a small company, now we are part of a big family. This will strengthen us. It gives us access to new resources and our clients are excited to see what we will come up with now.

'It's like being locked in a toy store'

Oliver, what are you most looking forward to in becoming part of Kantar Media?

Oliver: It's like being locked in a toy store! We now have the means to integrate our technology with other parts of the company. There are so many brilliant minds at Kantar Media with different perspectives on audience measurement. It's a thrilling prospect to work with them.

Isabel, what further opportunities are now available?

Isabel: It was very important for Kantar Media to have a team of developers to make progress around internet measurement. We have not yet seen all the things we can do together yet but there are lots of exciting new ideas.

'TV is becoming internet and internet is becoming TV'

As the market continues to evolve, what are the priorities in online measurement?

Oliver: The internet is no longer a medium but a carrier for many mediums. The way that content is spread is changing. Already we see TV is becoming internet and internet is becoming TV. New approaches are needed to give our clients a 360° view of how their content is being received. Everything is being measured; we just need to get it into one place.

Isabel: Oliver is right, current research doesn't miss much, but it's about how you put it all together. At the moment there are too many numbers about. We must stabilise the information with the same quality standards we are used to providing, whilst also incorporating all the innovations Spring can bring. It's an opportunity to offer clients accurate data for internet use, it's what they want and we're excited we can now provide it.

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