“We need to be faster than editorials and journalists to put our customers ahead of time”

András Szalay-Berzeviczy

Interview with András Szalay-Berzeviczy, CEO of TranzPress, a media intelligence company based in Hungary.

Hi András, what is your personal background and what do you do in your role as CEO of TranzPress?

I look after general management tasks from strategical planning and sales to human and technical resourcing questions. I also lead the product development of our proprietary media intelligence tool, PressMonitor. I co-founded TranzPress 15 years ago and since then have not thought of doing anything other than building the company and its two branches of operation: the translation services and international media monitoring services departments. The two business lines explain our slogan: “TranzPress – Language and media intelligence”.

How does TranzPress differ from other media intelligence companies and how does the company’s language specialization help differentiate it from competitors?

In Hungary, we are swimming in the blue ocean. We are the sole company that provides customized international media intelligence services. Our targets are Hungarian corporates with regional or international presence and national public institutes that operate in the domains of foreign affairs, diplomacy or external economic relations. For the former, our service is focusing on industry watch and reputation management services, while for the latter we provide intelligence.

If our translation department were not one of Hungary’s key market player, we would not be able to meet the needs of our media monitoring customers, because we work exclusively with foreign language data and content. Without linguistic intermediation – such as news summaries, reports, analytic and data mining – the service would be half-dead.

What are the new technology-based solutions you have recently released into the market or are intending to?

PressMonitor is a collaboration between our customers and us. We had a basic concept back 10 years ago when we launched Hungary’s one and only international media monitoring service but if our clients had not given constant feedback the tool would not be where it is today. For instance, we have developed a completely new PR-measurement concept based on the sentiment and reach of media coverage (instead of following the outdated AVE methodology) and our analytics is backed up by PressMonitor’s unique data visualization capabilities: it can visualize where a PR—activity started, how intense coverage it yields, the sentiment it generates, the size of the audience it reaches, the events and interactions influencing the trend – in one single, comprehensible chart. Another example is our quotation text-mining module that extracts quotes along with the names of speakers as entities. This is very handy when dealing with large corpora. It facilitates the comprehension of your media and gives you a powerful tool to interact with the media that pick up your stories and helps them evaluate the efficiency of your communication.

What are your greatest challenges ahead when it comes to serving your customers and developing your service offering?

Firstly, we need to face the fact that our service is more and more time critical. We are expected to run our service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, not just in terms of software accessibility, but in terms of providing around-the-clock living labor services, such as daily reporting and customer service. On the other hand, again and again we come across new demands in terms of online and offline content types or countries to be covered. As for content management there is a growing demand for data granularity, i.e. country-specific classification of sources are no longer enough. We need to dig deeper to regional and local levels. We also need to improve our integrated natural language processing technologies and enable our customers to generate alerts in formats other than e-mail and SMS in order to provide multiplatform compatible solutions.

Please give some examples of clients that have benefitted from your services. What were their needs and how did you meet them?

We aggregate hundreds of thousands of indexed online and offline news and social media sources. The crawlers scan through a huge volumes of content every day. Open source intelligence is searching, collecting and processing information from all public information channels potentially valuable for the customers. It is most rewarding when we see that we supported the client in reaching his goals. We work for organizations like the Hungarian Promotion Agency that aims to attract investments to our country. From the beginning our software and team picked, analyzed and digested information that could support them in their negotiations. Today, the Hungarian media is full of two monumental, milestone investments: a new plant for BMW Group in Debrecen and SK Innovations in Komarom, the latter of which is the largest ever greenfield investment in Hungary. We are proud to have provided the agency with all relating news coverage and publicly available information in the recent years.

One of our key accounts is the European Parliament. We report on Brussels on a daily basis with news summaries from the Hungarian media on European Union affairs, and our monthly qualitative and quantitative analyses reports help them better understand our country’s public opinion and media approach to EU affairs and politics. Our reports are available for all +700 members of the Parliament and their secretariats. Today, PressMonitor is used by the Hungarian Embassies in London and Washington to keep an eye on Hungary-related national coverage in the online, social and broadcast media landscape. We support the international expansion of such Hungarian multinational success stories and flagships like the MET Group – with our report covering 12 countries’ energy markets – or Trigranit Corporation with a real estate industry watch covering Central Europe. Our media intelligence service is used by the Constitutional Court of Hungary, the Hungarian Chamber of Civil Notaries, and Hungarian Association for Innovation just to name a few.

When it comes to the actual data behind the media intelligence you do, what kind of data or media not currently used can be interesting in the future?

An MMO has to handle more and more content in the age of big data. Because the media space has grown vast over the years the name of the game today is not necessarily to find everything but to identify what is really important. In other words, to find the needle in the haystack. This presupposes good software codes, good content aggregation processes, structured data, big enough disk spaces and talented analysts and language experts. Data is the fuel of the 21st century. My vision is that media intelligence companies will be expected to parse non-media related information assets soon. We already have projects in which we monitor parliamentary diaries, minutes and security alerts. These are examples for what I call pre-media or media related content.

I am convinced that a media intelligence buyer is primary a buyer of information and only secondary buyer of press clippings and traditional media reports. Thus, in certain cases we need to be faster than editorials and journalists to put our customers ahead of time. If something crucial happens that has an impact on our country’s economy or political life, we do not want to wait till editorials pick it up and broadcast it. I believe information is first, source is second. This is to say media intelligence companies will shift to become open source intelligence companies in 5-10 years’ time. The invisible deep web will have more significance in the future as today and processing unstructured data – retrieved from audiovisual and social media content – will mean the biggest challenges for MMOs in the future.

How has COVID-19 impacted the media intelligence industry, and will these effects remain after the virus has disappeared?

On one hand, we experienced some budget cut measures especially for services requiring expensive living labor. On the other hand, life went online, and content generation has increased probably both in the editorial and social media spheres. Demand has therefore risen for media intelligence services: more researches, more languages, wider scope of content to be covered and faster reporting needed. One thing is for sure: data consumption and the need for intelligence services have not plummeted as a result of the pandemic, but on the contrary: with the exponential growth of digital audiences and information space, the need for media and market intelligence will steadily increase.

By Peter Appleby

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