“Fake news is the biggest problem of our day”

Halef Remzi Vayıs

Interview with Halef Remzi Vayıs, General Manager at MTM, Medya Takip Merkezi, a media intelligence company in Turkey.

Hi Halef, what is your background and what is included in your current role at MTM?

Our company was founded about 20 years ago. I am a founding partner and a general manager of MTM. We have opened 6 branches in various cities in Turkey, and have set up a local company in Azerbaijan. We currently service 1000 customers with 120 employees. Turkey’s most important companies work with us.

Our company consists of 8 main sections, where I serve as president and the directors of the sections forming our governing body. The establishment operates dynamically and keeps the pulse of the industry in the world. It responds to the renewed needs of our customers and ensures that the developing technology is included in our business. We follow trends, respond to new demands and develop products that will lead to new demands. We work to spend our money rationally by making the right investments. We organize events to educate and improve our human resources, and we participate in events organized outside. I also undertake all these tasks and responsibilities together with them as part of the team.

What differs MTM from other media intelligence companies in Turkey?

Our most important difference is our innovative construction; our vision is always fresh and up-to-date. This enables our customers to quickly integrate with changing and evolving services around the world. Our sector’s customers are naturally a group that stands out from all sorts of social developments. In other words, if there is a development in the country and in the world, this sector is seen first, it tries, it lives. So, they like to work with an innovative and dynamic company.

What are your greatest challenges ahead at MTM when it comes to serving your customer analysis and developing your offer?

The biggest paradox is the “quality service and low price” equation. I think this does not affect just our country, but many countries, especially sectors with high competition where the customer wants high quality, complete and fast services, while paying less for it. When you have to upgrade the service quality, but that can’t affect the price, this causes your profit margins to fall. You can reduce your margins up to some extent, of course, but sometimes you come to a point where the customer is stuck between choosing a quality service or a low price.

If any, what specific needs are there in the Turkish market for media intelligence that you think differs from the rest of the world?

I do not think there is a big difference in expectations from the media monitoring service. They want us to use every possible opportunity as a resource, and quickly provide the analysis to them. One of our mottos is “to deliver the most intelligent information in the fastest way.”

According to your clients, what are the most important sources of information to monitor about their company and brand?

It depends on the product and the company. As the transition between traditional media and social media continues, understanding is shaped accordingly. According to some, social media is a balloon, and it is more valuable to follow traditional media. Some customers pay more attention to the impact of digital and social media. In short, we can say that the counterpart, supposed to be under the influence of the brand or the target volume of the product, is accepted as the source by the customer.

Which social platforms or sources do you see as having the most potential in the future when it comes to gathering relevant information for your customers?

Obviously, I do not think it would be very realistic to give a specific name because in today’s world everything can happen. Facebook’s “Cambridge Analytica” issue is an example for this. However, digital and social platforms have a high potential as a source of information and will continue to be.

Have you recently, or are you about to, release any new technology-based solutions that will add to or improve services you offer clients? If so, what solutions and how will your customers benefit from them?

Of course we always want to do new things 🙂 We develop our own systems with our 18-person software and technical team. We have a research and development department. We do our own hosting with 30 servers and storage.

We also collaborate with international companies such as PerVoice, Talkwalker and Twingly, who provide technical and information support. This kind of support eliminates our shortcomings and provides new perspectives and facilities to our customers.

Is “fake news” a big issue in your region? If so, what are the challenges media intelligence and monitoring companies face and how do you cope with it?

Fake news is the biggest problem of our day, but I think this is not the current issue of media monitoring companies. Our task is to find and bring what is published. I repeat: Find out what is published, even if it is fake. Because this fake news can be a result that needs to be dealt with.

On the other hand, solutions for news that are not true can be developed by companies like us as a new product. This product can capture and report fake news. However, we have not encountered such a demand until now. We do not have any systems yet to identify fake news.

Some media intelligence companies have recently moved up the value chain, providing their clients with content within PR and Advertising. Have you been moving in that direction recently, or would it be interesting to do so?

Our business mostly focuses on reporting and measuring PR practices. We don’t focus on content support.

How do you think the media intelligence industry will change in the next 5 years, and what are the greatest challenges ahead?

As we all know, the media is changing shell every day and will continue to change. As various platforms and publishing equipment enter our lives, the media increases, so media monitoring has already turned into big data. The biggest problems of our day are the fake news and the privacy of private life. The steps and arrangements of the authorities of the countries will also determine the direction of our work. But I anticipate that our work will become more important in every situation as long as we can do more precise and attentive works.

How do you see that MTM will have changed and developed over the next 5 years?

MTM has always been ambitious since its founding, and will continue to be so. Five years from now, it will be easier for us to reach both current and archive intelligent knowledge. At that time, we will want to be called a “smart data company” rather than a “technology company” like now.

By Renata Ilitsky