AR&D Announces Acquisition of DONATA Communications

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Internet Visionary Terry Heaton to head AR&D’s digital development unit.

DONATA and Terry are a perfect fit for AR&D’s digital development strategy

Audience Research & Development, an international media research and consulting firm, announced today that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire DONATA Communications, a leading New Media strategic development company. DONATA president and founder, Terry Heaton, an industry visionary, Internet media expert, and a leading voice in the digital space will remain with the integrated company and become the top executive of AR&D’s Digital Development unit. The announcement was made today in Dallas by Jerry Gumbert, President and Chief Executive Officer of Audience Research & Development.

“Terry Heaton is a one-of-a-kind executive in a rapidly evolving TV industry. He has a unique perspective of the challenges and a clear view of the possibilities for local broadcasters. He has real answers and strongly held opinions about broadcasters’ current and downstream challenges,” AR&D President and CEO Jerry Gumbert said in announcing the acquisition.

“Heatonism number one is that revenue isn't the problem for local media companies -- audience is the problem,” said Heaton. “Audience is the first word in AR&D, and the company is the front-runner for content innovation and audience development. That’s extremely important because we all know that money follows eyeballs. Still, the essential problem for local media companies is that they're losing eyeballs to smart, outside technology companies, and that has to be attacked and reversed.”

“DONATA and Terry are a perfect fit for AR&D’s digital development strategy,” Gumbert explained. “Our firm is focused on the entire realm of digital opportunities for broadcasters, and clearly the Internet is a significant part of it. With Terry’s vision and leadership, and the entrepreneurial spirit of its Innovation Team, AR&D will move swiftly into the development of technologies and content to drive audience and new revenues across multiple platforms.”

Gumbert and Heaton share the belief that 2006 is a wake-up year for broadcasters. Advertiser uncertainties and multi-platform distribution innovations have made it harder for companies to meet revenue goals and growth projections. It is also a time of great confusion as broadcast and mass market paradigms are shaken by change. More important, however, is the reality that this is a time of immense opportunity, and AR&D is taking a significant step forward with the addition of one of the most respected and outspoken voices in new media.


AR&D is the premiere television branding company in North America. A leader in the innovation of television and Internet news products and marketing strategies for more than 25 years, AR&D provides a wide variety of consulting services and research products to national broadcast and cable networks, local television stations, and Internet companies.

AR&D operates the nationally acclaimed Innovations Laboratory media lab. Its Innovation Team includes six of the world’s top industry visionaries and innovators with more than 200 years of broadcast and Internet expertise and experience.

AR&D is a privately held company. Its corporate headquarters are located in Dallas-Fort Worth.


Founded in 2002 by Terry Heaton, DONATA was a voice in the wilderness, shouting warnings about changes that are now upon us. An early essay, Is TV News Giving Away the Future, was published around the world and in many languages, and soon media executives began to listen. Today, DONATA is widely quoted in business and industry circles and Heaton is standing in the spotlight as a much sought-after speaker for industry meetings and conferences throughout North America.

Terry Heaton retired from local television news management in 1998 after 28 years to work on the future of television and the Internet. His ongoing series of essays, TV News in a Postmodern World, is considered cutting-edge by media observers from New York to Seoul. His no-nonsense and iconoclastic approach to the vast disruptive innovations attacking the core competencies of television stations is widely regarded as important and necessary. Heaton's essays on The Remarkable Opportunities of Unbundled Media are considered a new standard for local media companies.

Heaton's blog, The Pomo Blog, is home to over 120,000 unique visitors a month, most of whom are professional and amateur media players or observers. The Pomo Blog will continue but under AR&D.

For More Information


Jerry Gumbert, President and CEO, Audience Research & Development LLC

2440 Lofton Terrace, Fort Worth, Texas 76109

Office: 817.924.6922

Fax: 817.924.7539

Contact: Mary Perry

Phone: 940.387.4840

Fax: 940.383.0581

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