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Review about Thomson research

38 Comments · Marketing Research

Alternate/previous data source names: Disclosure Global Access, G.A Pro, Dislosure’s Compact D/SEC, Worldscope, Laser D. Piranha, Investext, Research Bank Web, Industry Insider, I/B/E/S, Business & Industry, Business & Management Practices, TableBase, Extel Cards, MarkIntel, First Call Meeting Notes, and UK Regulatory News Service.

Service/portal name: http://research.thomsonib.com

Source description: Thomson Research provides access to financial data from and foreign exchange filings, news/periodical articles on companies and industries, and investment and marketing reports.

Marketing research reports are listed and available only on a pay-as-you-use basis; all the other data and reports are available in full-text format.

The major strength of this huge dataset of over 6 million documents, including 3.2 million research reports from twelve different databases, is its coverage of full-text financial filings (SEC filings and equivalent foreign filings) and its reports built from the data in these filings.

Besides, it integrates information from Investext, MarkIntel, I/B/E/S, and periodical articles to provide more comprehensive information on companies and industries.

Much of the data is presented in image format icluding color annual reports, prospectuses, and circulars.

Thomson Extel card are presented in both HTML and PDF formats. SEC EDGAR filing are in HTML.

This database is designed for research professionals and analysts at investment banks and at law, accounting, and consulting firms.

It is used in corporations and university libraries. Researchers familiar with corporate research will recognize Thomson Research as the newest reiteration of Global Access.

The product available to academic libraries differs somewhat from that available to commercial/corporate libraries. Academic subscribers will see little difference between Global Acces and Thomson Research except that the latter offers color and faster downloading of Adobe files.

Commercial subscribers benefit from the integration fo the research reports and periodical articles into the product. The periodical indexing/abstracting/full-text databases are also omitted from the academic version.

The history of this database goes back to the 1970s, who Disclosure produced microfiche copies of annual reports and SE filings (10-Ks, 10-Qs, proxies, prospectuses) for U.S. public owned companies.

Many corporate and academic business libraries stopped building print collections of these reports and began relying on Disclosure’s microfiche at that time.

About 1986 Disclosure designed a PC-based product that dramatically changed corporate research by extracting themost important financial and text data in the filings and placing it in a searchable database called Compact Disclosure (later names Compact D/SEC and Company D/Worldscope).

This product was so innovative that it was actually introduced before most librarians had access to departmental PC let alone desktop PCs; users were still using dumb terminals to do online searches.

Compact Disclosure revolutionized corporate research, and every major business library quickly adopted it as a basic database subscription.

In 1988 Disclosure introduced Laser D, a CD-ROM produc with full-text filings that caused another major change in corporation research.

Soon after Disclore was purchased by Primark, which took another step in the development of computer-based corporate research when it launched Piranha, integrating financial databases into a single delivery platform.

Searchers could screen for specific companies and produce tables of the results. In addition they could integrate their own data into the tables or use any of the portfolios of predesigned reports available. All this could then be analyzed in spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel.

In mid-2000 Thomson acquired Primark Corporation and then rolled out Piranha Web, a Web-based program that allowed searching and screening across Primark’s financial databases.

Thomson Research was the natural next step in the development of corporate research products.

Thomson Analytics is the replacement for Piranha. Subscribers can purchase either or both files. (This review is focsed on Thomson Research, not Thomson Analytics.)

Pricing: Thomson Research is a high-priced research tool. Pricing is based on which database subfiles the customer chooses to buy, and commercial/corporate subscribers will pay between $55,000 and $60,000 annually.

If the price seems high compared to expected usage, there is an option to pay as you go. To subscribe this way, a corporation would pay $2,5000 for access and then pay for each report as needed.

A 20 percent discount on reports is included with the access fee. Academic library subscription prices are between $30,000 and $42,000 annually, depending on the number of simultaneous users and full-time enrollment figures for the school.

IP filtering is available for academic subscriptions. There is an additional subscription fee for Thomson Analytics.

Source content: For each company the following seven types of data are available: Content Profile, Filings, Overview Reports, Research, News, Ownership, Financials, and Stock Graph, and these are described below:

1. Content Profile provides an outline and extensive list of documents available on the company, with hotlinks to each report. As soon as users log into Thomson Research, they are dropped into the Content Profile of Thomson Corp. as a sample company and to show the type of the data available.

To change the company listed, one can do a Quick Company Searvh via a window on the far left.

From there searchers can link to Filings Insider Analytics, Price and Earnings Data, Overview Reports Research Reports, Spreadsheet Financials, and News.

2. Filings includes hotlinks to Registrations, Annual Reports 10-Ks, 10-Qs, Circulars, Interim Financials, Prospectuses, 20 filings, and so on as well as an indexing of paper reports back 1968.

These documents are the source for financial data for investors. The annual report, the company’s report sent investors, is written for the nonprofiessional.

It can be used see the style or corporate culture of a company, but it also has detailed and audited financial data.

3. Overview Reports in Thomson Research are Extel, Worldscope, SEC Reports, Price and Earnings Data, and Dun Bradstreet Reports. These are all reports generated from the data in the financial filings, or I/B/I/S, with data in each report selected to target specific information needs.

For instance, the Worldscope Reports provide financial to sheets, peer analysis, and industry reports.

The SEC Report provide annual or quarterly financials, ratios, and lists of directors and subsidiaries.

Price and Earnings Data give consensus earnings, a tear sheet of detailed earnings, current stock quotes, and daily, weekly, and monthly stock graphs.

4. News links users to the articles indexed in Business & Industry, Business and Management Practices, and TableBase.

The first two databases are standard periodical index/abstracting/ full-text tools. TableBase is somewhat unique in that it indexed and provides full text of the tables and charts inside of articles, making it easy to locate such things as market shares and rankings of companies.

5. Research reports include the Morning Meeting Notes, Investext Research Reports, Industry Insider, and MarkIntel Reports.

Investext reports are from brokerage analysts and give lengthy advisory reports for investors on companies and industries.

The Industry Insider database provides trade association reports, which are available on a pay-as-you-go basis (the full text is not included without charge with a basic subscrition).

MarkIntel reports are from investment banks, brokerage hourse, market research firms, and trade associations and can be used for market research and topics such as company market share, industry trends, forecasts, and new product/new service markets.

6. Ownership provides access to information in newswires and the 3, 4, 5, or 144 filings on insider ownership (these are filings that 10 percent owners and others with inside information such as members of the board, relatives, and so on mucst make with the SEC every time they offer to sell, sell, or buy shares)

7. Financials provide preformatted tables of financial data from the current or historic 10-Ks, 10-Qs, or proxy filings.

8. Stock Graph provides graphs of a stock’s activity.

Searching the databases is done via the tabs at the top of the screen: Overview, Docuemnts, Research, Peers, Ownership, and News.

These tabs expand out into further choices; for example Overview expands into Company Brief, Worldscope, Peers, Private, and UK Private.

Each of these brings up a different search screen with a custom-built search template to match that databases.

For instance, the Company Brief search screen provides search choices by company name, ticker or CUSIP (Committee for Uniform Securities Identification Procedures) code, and SIC (Staandard Industrial Classification) code.

The Worldscope and SEC search screens provide additional search parameters such as fiscal year, net income, total assets, net sales, market capitalization, and P/E (price over earnings) ratio.

Results of searches can be sorted by company name, ticker, exchange, state, and country.

The other search buttons also provide extended search options. Of note is the EDGAR Free Text option, which allows searching for any word within EDGAR documents.

By searching within the Ownership tab, you can retrieve ownership information from newswires or 3, 4, 5, or 144 filings The Holdings Common search button will retrieve a table of insiders with the position transaction date, direct holdings, indirect holdings, total common holdings, and the holding source.

Searching in the Peer section brings up a “Price Performance – 36 months” chart and a “1 You Sales Growth” chart for the major competitors of a company.

It also retrieves a table of peer companies, including sales, net income total assets total liabilities, and various key ratios for competitors. Searches can also retriee Industry Briefs with similar information.

Search functions are one of the strength of the Thomson Research database. Simple and quick searches by company names and advanced searches are both available, and searches can be saved.

Printing and downloading capacities are available, in image format, HTML, and page prints.

Preformatted reports, full-text filings, and templates for selected data make printing and downloading easy. Adobe files download three times faster than they did in Global Access.

ARS reports and other reports and graphs can be printed in color. Charts can be easily downloaded into Microsoft spreadsheets. Currently the downloading function for charts works best in Netscape. (See Useful Tips below.)

Source evaluation: Overall, Thomson Research is a welcome expansion of Global Access, which has been recognized as a major research tool for finance and investment professionas. The data is very timely and updated daily.

It covers all companies filing with the SEC (about twelve thousand) and a large number of international companies (about sixteen thousand), and it allows researchers to search for companies and analyze the data in spreadsheet form.

For the commercial/corporate subscriber, Thomson Research integrates additional research reports and articles into the company research process.

For the academic subscriber, it provides one major enhancement: faster downloading of image files. It is an essential database for anyone dong corporate research.

Mergent Online is a major, but less expensive, competitor to Thomson Research. Like Thomson Research, it provides full-text ARSs and SEC filings. Other competitors are Factiva and Hoover’s.

Mergent is the only competitor that approaches the screening features of Thomson Research. Even though we have all these choices in our library, our researchers still demand Thomson Research.

The arrangement of the databases in Thomson Research is generally logical and useful. However, I find that first-time users are confused by the fact that the program opens with a sample company.

This seems to be the only database we have that does this when users are expecting a blank search template.

It is also confusing that the names on the search tabs that run across the top of the screen seem to parallel some, but not all, of the Related Content buttons in the left window, which bring up a list of the documents available for the specific company.

The response time is irritatingly slow, and the help screens do not tell you anything you could not have figured out from the screen. Expanded help is available under Help – View More Help, but this is hard to find.

Source value rating: All of the data source reviewers were asked to rate each source on the basis of the following eight categories, using “10” as the highest rating and “1” as the lowest (“80” being a perfect score):

1. Relative cost-to-value:   5
2. Relative timeliness of data:   10
3. Relative comprehensiveness of data:  10
4. Ease of use:     7
5. Search options available:   8
6. Level of support services:   6
7. Level of training offered:   5
8. Amount/kinds of special services offered: 8
Total Rating:     59

Useful tips
• Thomson Research works best with Internet Explorer.

• Image comprehension software, which speeds up the downloading of image files, needs to be set up. To do this, log on as Administrator and set preferences for Image Compression Software.

• Downloading of spreadsheets in Thomson Research works best with Netscape. IE users will need to set their browser to open separate windows.

To do this open Windows Explorer and go to Tools/Folder Options/File Types. Then choose Microsoft Excel Worksheet, click on the Advance button, and uncheck Browser in Same Window.
 

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