In a sign of the times, London-headquartered market research giant Taylor Nelson Sofres mirrored the global malaise in advertising and marketing with a warning that its revenues for 2002 will be flat following a second half downturn in demand for customized research and media intelligence.

Following Monday’s warning TNS, the planet’s fourth largest market researcher, saw its shares dip by more than five per cent to £1.435 in early trading Monday, losing a further £0.015 on Tuesday.

In a trading report last September, TNS revealed higher than expected H1 sales and predicted full year growth of between 3%-5%. It has now jettisoned any forecast of growth for the fiscal to December 31.

Although marketers and agencies are continuing to renew contracts for continuous and syndicated services such as market tracking and measurement, they have become increasingly reluctant to commission specifically tailored research. In the USA and elsewhere the group’s media tracking services have been similarly affected.

Another blow was the loss in the UK of the BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) TV audience measurement contract.

TNS expects to return to revenue growth during 2003.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff