“The main challenge will be the use of data considering privacy rules and terms”

Theofilos Argyriadis

Interview with Theofilos Argyriadis, CEO of Clip News, a media monitoring service based in Greece.

Hi Theofilos, what is your background and what is included in your current role at Clip News?

We established Clip News in 1992, in a time when “monitoring” and “clipping” were almost unknown services in Greece. Of course, back then monitoring and clipping services included only print media. I have worked at every stage and post of a small monitoring business, such as the clipping department, sales, manager. Today, almost 30 years after the establishment of the Clip News SA, my official role is President and CEO. My responsibilities mainly focus on the company’s development in terms of new products, new IT technologies such as the implementation of machine learning solutions and AI, as well as the inter-connection of Clip News with other companies and the participation in European programs.

Having founded Clip News almost 30 years ago, what are you most proud of over the years?

I believe what I am mostly proud of is the people that have grown along with the company all these years. The people are our main asset and we try to give them all the necessary skills to develop and implement their own ideas.

What differs Clip News from other media intelligence companies?

Competition in Greece is not particularly aggressive. We know what our competitors offer and we are well aware of the market conditions. I could maybe say that our high-level services and an excellent customer service department surely differs us from other companies. We take care of our subscribers and we meet all their needs. We foresee and suggest solutions, given our long expertise and familiarity with the publicity of each subscriber. We know how to respond and handle any crisis our subscribers may face.

What are your greatest challenges ahead at Clip News, when it comes to serving your customers media intelligence and develop your offer?

At Clip News we focus and strongly believe in services that add value to the monitoring services, especially with the use of all the metadata available in each piece of information we handle. We strongly feel that the excessive information available nowadays does not make sense and to this end we offer added value services such as analysis services, reports, Executive Reports from specific or all media types. I strongly feel that it is our job to train subscribers in order to better understand how we can help them. It is quite difficult to communicate all of the services we are able to provide to a company fast enough, due to stereotypes in the market. Our services have quickly evolved with the help of technology and the expertise of our employees and we can provide assistance to our clients on multiple levels. As a result, our biggest challenge is to transfer our knowledge and gain the trust of our subscribers. Fortunately, we manage to do so.

Have you recently, or are you about to, release any new technology-based solutions that will add to or improve services you offer your clients?

We are about to release a clustering feature for media clips from all media sources that will be carried out through machine learning. As a result, our subscribers will really have less clips to go through. Clustering will reduce the cost of other services, such as reports and analysis. We will also focus on tagging the clips, for our subscribers to understand the big picture of their publicity. Furthermore, we are correcting the automated sentiment of clips, which unfortunately in the Greek language has a success rate of up to 80%, compared to the English language (95%).

We are also launching reporting and analysis services based on KPI’s including several metrics, for both print and online monitoring services. To this end, our subscribers can have a complete view of their publicity and track their weaknesses and strengths in each media source. Practically, all these tools can create a publicity strategy based on reliable data.

As active in Fibep, The Media Intelligence Association, what do you think is the most important such an organization can bring to its members?

FIBEP is an association of members with the same principles, services and anxieties. Apart for the obvious (sales between its members) FIBEP is a remarkable association that makes use and communicates the expertise of each member. Keep in mind that FIBEP includes members that have a history of 100 or more years, as well as newly founded companies from across the world. This exchange of knowledge can only benefit each FIBEP member.

I believe that co-operation is the key for the future of media intelligence companies. The volume of data will increase any company, no matter its size, will not be able to respond easily. Media intelligence companies need to find a way to co-operate more substantially towards a greater goal and not based on short-term financial results. We need to claim our place in the future and be ready for in order to evolve to significant market players. FIBEP could design such a prospect and transfer the long-term profit to its members and design tools that will make co-operation easier and faster.

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

The main challenge will be the data and the use of data considering privacy rules and terms. The questions that will be posed in order for the data to be able to provide answers. In the coming years I believe that there will be changes that mainly concern a more structured way to use data. Our services will change and media mentions or clips will no longer be important. The importance will shift towards services that are based on metadata, trends and analysis services. Media intelligence companies ought to quickly adjust to the new reality and provide services with truly added-value.

By Russell Hughes

“Today more than ever it is important we stay in contact with our customers”

Marina Bonomi

Interview with Marina Bonomi, CEO of Mimesi, a media monitoring and intelligence company based in Milan, Italy

Hi, Marina. What is your background and what does your role at Mimesi include?

I’m the CEO and shareholder of Mimesi, a media monitoring and intelligence company based in Italy. My role is in running the company in all aspects and shaping the company’s strategy for future growth via a planned business strategy. Within my remit is a particular focus on copyright issues and relationships with publishers.

All of my previous positions and interests have been based in the digital industry. I graduated with a degree in computer science from the University of Milan and have been an Associate Professor of Digital Marketing at the same institution and the CMO VAS at Vodaphone Italy among other roles.

What is Mimesi’s core service offering and what is the company’s differentiator?

Mimesi monitors print, web, social media, radio and TV, and it offers accurate analysis of clients’ media presence and its reputation.

It was founded in 2001 and stood out in the Italian market as it was the only operator offering a media monitoring service entirely based on the digitalization of articles.

The company has introduced various innovative technologies into the Italian market. We have launched website monitoring, introduced a mobile app for the consultation and management of online revenues, created our own Mimesi360 platform for cross-media analysis of company reputations, and more.

What are the challenges Mimesi must overcome to provide sound media intelligence to clients and develop its value proposition?

The Italian scenario is changing rapidly. For example, new regulations on copyright will modify the rules of our market. As a company, we have to show that we are ready to keep offering relevant services to our clients. We believe that although print will remain significant, it will decrease in importance, so our value proposition will have to be more ‘media integration’ based. We will become more focused on media integration with a platform that is able to provide content in the correct manner, giving the proper value to the distinctive features of every media.

How has the arrival of COVID-19 forced Mimesi to adapt, and what are the long-term changes the pandemic will make to the media intelligence industry?

Mimesi has three operational offices on the Italian territory; Milan, Parma and Forli, all areas severely affected by the pandemic. As soon as we understood that there would be restrictions on work and travel we urgently set to work to organize smart working for the entire company.

Our activities concern the daily monitoring of almost 2000 media organizations and as many web sources, plus dozens of television stations. This required sophisticated software and dedicated hardware. We supplied all the necessary hardware to our staff for remote working.

We established two priorities: our employees’ health and the business’ continuity, which have driven our approach during lockdown. Mimesi has efficiently maintained services, commercial and marketing activities. We have provided our media monitoring services without severe activity reduction

I believe that Italy, like other countries, will face economic difficulties, following the pandemic. MMOs will be impacted. Today more than ever it is important we stay in contact with our customers to understand their changing needs and adapt to the new scenario.

What part of your platform has the greatest potential but have yet to be fully embraced by your clients yet?

We think that our social media service has still untapped potential for growth, considering the high usage of social media in Italy. For example, Italians use social media for an average of two hours a day and one out of three Italians has at least seven social media profiles.

We think this because there are few Italian companies that use social media as part of their marketing strategies. More than 80% of companies have at least one social media account but their use is still superficial and sporadic. Less than half of the companies in the study say they use Facebook with a strategic, coordinated and continual approach.

Are there any emerging trends in media intelligence being driven by customer demand?

Research we published in April showed that over 14 million conversations have been generated globally using the hashtag #covid19. Of these, almost 300 thousand happened in Italy alone. Freedom and simplicity in the use of social media have allowed for the creation of huge sheer amounts of indiscriminate, uncontrolled information.

During the first phase of lockdown in Italy, communication from institutions was extremely fragmented and companies were looking for information to understand how to behave and what kind of procedures to apply.

We intercepted this need with a specific monitoring service, which allowed our clients to understand what measures other companies in the same sector were taking, which sectors were most affected, what were the measures put in place by the government to help companies and how customers were reacting on social media channels.

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

We need to be ever more relevant – constantly developing new ideas and adopting technologies to keep our platform evolving. The platform, now an information service in use by the communication or marketing department, must become a support base for our business decisions.

Enriching the knowledge base and extrapolating value from the multitude of data present on all media is our present and future goal.

By Peter Appleby

“The need for reliable, editorially-controlled, and verified information is more important than ever”

Martin Lyster

Interview with Martin Lyster, CEO of Agility PR Solutions, a media intelligence and solutions company based in Ottawa, Canada

Hi, Martin. What is your background and what are your duties at Agility PR?

My background is originally in finance and accounting. I’m a data junkie at heart. In 2003, I co-founded a media analysis firm in Ottawa, Canada, and built that business into the country’s leading media intelligence company. We sold the company in 2014 to Innodata, which remains Agility PR’s parent company. Following the sale, we made a series of acquisitions that built Agility PR’s capabilities for the full PR lifecycle.

My daily focus is on taking our product to the market. Agility PR punches above its weight in terms of our capabilities for our size. We receive superb feedback from clients on websites like G2 and have a growing reselling business.

Today, Agility PR has an enviable platform and suite of workflows and tools across our product range. We have several thousand clients around the world and now employ hundreds of people globally.

What is the added value that Agility PR provides its clients in the PR and marketing sectors?

On the media targeting side, Agility PR is one of the very few companies in the industry with a global media database that is fully integrated with a Big Data media intelligence platform. Our AI-powered technology gives us the ability to make the connection between journalists and the content they publish in real time, so that we can identify emerging trends to put PR and marketing teams in contact with them. This precise approach is the most effective way to target the media but is only possible via the application of our media monitoring solution together with our media database.

Which services propel the growth of Agility PR?

Agility PR covers the entire suite of the PR lifecycle. This includes media outreach, whereby we identify the key journalists covering a particular industry and set a workflow on how to engage with them, share content, and amplify the client’s content with that media. Content is then published, which requires media monitoring.

We divide the company into two main areas: outreach on one side, monitoring, analysis, and intelligence on the other. These two sides are split evenly in terms of business activity and complement each other well.

In what ways has COVID-19 demanded adaptation from Agility PR?

COVID-19 has had a serious economic impact globally. Yet it has presented Agility PR with a tremendous opportunity and we have seen our metrics grow. On the media intelligence side of the business, some of our largest clients have become very proactive around how their business is reflected in the media. Some of these businesses have been deemed ‘essential services’ during the crisis and therefore have an increased need to understand how their business is seen. In parallel to this is the public’s opinion and concerns.

On the outreach side, we have never been busier. Our clients are sending a significant number of news releases through Agility. Month after month we have seen increasing utilization of our tools. Between March and April, the number of press releases sent out via Agility PR Solutions’ tools grew by over 30 percent, while the outreach via the Agility platform has increased 60 percent since January.

What are the challenges that confront the industry today?

The print media industry is going through a lot of changes but the COVID-19 crisis has sped this change. But the need for reliable, editorially-controlled, and verified information is more important than it ever has been. The public is consuming – depending on the metrics you’re looking at – between 60 and 300 percent more media than at any earlier time. We deliver vital insights from that consumption and turn it into intelligence for clients.

Agility PR’s media database is the premier database in the industry and this is because of the workflows we have in place. Our team is working flat out because, with the pandemic, journalists’ contact details have changed. Maintaining that communication bridge is important for everyone.

What are the technology-based services that Agility PR hopes to bring to market, and what is the problem being solved?

One of the main themes in our sector is PR attribution, but as of today, there is no real PR attribution method that provides clients with a clear understanding of how content drives business. This is an area we are looking at, and while there are quick wins to be had, that is not the direction Agility PR will move in. Instead, we will look to generate insights from our client suite intelligence to help clients understand the impact of content in measurable terms. These terms differ: for one client it may be revenue, for another, blood donation. Through our data-rich approach and analysis, we can build the whole picture for our clients.

How can Agility PR increase the quality of the insights its services already offer clients?

We feel we are just scratching the surface in terms of the audience intelligence and targeting intelligence can provide. We have already brought these two ends together, but adding a level of predictive analytics will give our clients the opportunity to target the media more accurately, in scalable and precise ways, compared to the traditional approach. We have our database ready, but by linking it to client-side data, we can truly create a predictive solution. We have an exciting roadmap for these developments.

By Peter Appleby

“The biggest challenge is to master both the AI technologies and the processes of valorizing them”

Viet Yen Nguyen

Interview with Viet Yen Nguyen, CTO of Hypefactors, a PR automation software company in Copenhagen

Hi Viet, what is your background, and what is your current role at Hypefactors?

My academic background includes a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science from the University of Twente, and a PhD in Computer Science from the RWTH Aachen University.

I started my career in R&D for the European space industry. I took part in technology transfer projects where we applied recent theoretical advances from academia and demonstrated their applicability to upcoming spacecraft missions. Later on, I joined Fraunhofer, a German research organization where I participated in projects of similar nature in automotive, autonomous farming and the energy sector until I moved to the private sector.

Today I’m the CTO of Hypefactors, a SaaS doing reputation and media tech and helping brands and companies do that more effectively. H&M, parts of the United Nations, Volkwagen, Stark Group (a construction industry) and Sampension (pension funds) are some of the clients in our portfolio.

What responsibilities does your role carry with it?

Our company centers on four segments: data, AI, web and mobile. I drive all four from an engineering and product development perspective end to end. This includes day-to-day operations, as well as new business strategy planning and alignment.

What differs Hypefactors from other reputation & media automation software companies?

Hypefactors is a simple all-in-one solution for reputation and media management. This is incredibly important because many competitors are only point-solutions. We see that prospective users are dissatisfied with using dozens of different tools. They prefer to use only one that allows all aspects of their workflow to be simple and integrated.

What are the greatest challenges ahead for Hyperfactors when it comes to offering your customers analysis and developing your offer?

Throughout the years, we have become strong in multilingual and global analysis using machine learning and big data. We are extremely pragmatic in tackling those challenges, and we are used to making tough choices. Therefore, like academia, the majority of our effort goes into supporting significant use cases. Improved support for low-resource languages like Dzongkha or Welsh has shifted to the future.

What are the best applications of AI for the PR industry, and how does it benefit your customers?

We have over a dozen AIs in production, seeing a million requests per day for various purposes. Our reputation in AI is very user-visible; we assess whether the client’s brand, product or spokesperson is perceived as positive, neutral or negative within the context of a text. It’s trained to not only recognize sentiment, but also facts and cultural aspects that impact reputation. This is a step up from commonly deployed generic sentiment AIs.

The reputation is one single dimension that impacts all other parts of the business. A reputation peak is typically paired with supercharged KPIs on marketing, sales, financial and recruiting.

Have you recently, or do you plan to, release any new technology-based solutions?

We’re constantly improving the integration between our product features, as well as adding more media data and machine-learned information enrichments.

Our systems are on continuous deployment; our roll out strategy is to release incremental changes at least once a day. When you compare the changes on a day-to-day basis, the impact is minor. However, when you consider the accumulation and compounding of these benefits over a longer duration, let’s say months, the difference is night and day.

How do you think AI will change the PR industry in the next 5-10 years, and what are the greatest challenges?

I find it incredibly exciting to be in this industry at this time as there’s so much ground to cover. Take for example language — it’s been a fundamental barrier between people and cultures. AI and big data are breaking these barriers down. Today, thanks to ML translation, we can instantaneously read and understand the gist of articles posted in countries whose languages are completely foreign to us. This is especially important for multinationals, like H&M and Volkswagen. The same result was not tractable two decades ago.

In general, I think there’s a lot of time saving ahead for us by automating repetitive aspects of the work, like reporting and data curation. This enables our clients to spend more on the creative and strategic aspects of reputation and media management.

The biggest challenge is to master both the AI technologies and the processes of valorizing them: the execution. This is not the kind of execution traditionally seen in most businesses because you cannot apply tactics from engineering, financial, sales, and marketing management nor principles from any other business dimension to implement and apply AI in a successful way. In fact, it’s closer to attaining scientific excellence than to driving business ROI. The people mastering this holistically will make waves in the years to come. At Hypefactors, we are heading this wave with our talented team.

By Renata Ilitsky

“With increasing volume, listening and analytics will be all the more important”

Sameer Narkar

Interview with Sameer Narkar, Founder of Prudence Analytics, with the social listening and analytics platform, Konnect Insights.

Hi Sameer, what is your background, and what is your current role at Prudence Analytics?

I started as a software developer about 15 years ago, and now lead the team at Prudence. Everyone knows us as Konnect Insights – a social listening and analytics platform. My role at Konnect Insights is head of product, and as founder, I oversee other functions, such as Marketing and Sales.

As the founder of a growing company like Prudence Analytics, what are you most proud of thus far in the journey?

We are happy with the fact that Konnect Insights is the leading product in the social listening space in India, and we are slowly entering other markets. Our users love our data, the user experience and the great dashboards. Nothing makes me more proud than seeing a happy customer.

What differs Konnect Insights from other social listening platforms?

We offer an all-in-one tool that allows our customers’ marketing, customer support, analytics and PR teams to all use one software. The unified dashboards make life a lot easier for the whole organization. Apart from this, our dashboards and BI tools are the best in the industry.

What are the greatest challenges ahead for Konnect Insights when it comes to offering your customer analysis and developing your offer?

I won’t really call them challenges, we see them as opportunities. We know it is a fast changing world of social media and analytics with new changes happening at the social platform level as well as API changes. We have to keep abreast of them, and, at the same time, update our users on the changes.

The other important aspect is to keep innovating and bringing in new features and improvements in the current offering. We love to do that, and we are always excited about achieving excellence in our offerings.

Have you recently released any new technology-based solutions that will add to or improve your services?

The Business Intelligence (BI) solution that we launched offers the capability of creating charts with any combination of columns and filters, which is one of the most advanced solutions that we offer in addition to our dashboard’s functionality. We are thinking beyond social listening tools and making them a complete digital marketing suite with all possible integrations, and then offering the power of dashboards and Business Intelligence tools.

Which of your current products do you believe has a lot of potential, but hasn’t been adapted at the same rate as your other offerings by your clients?

We offer integrations with many CRM systems, such as Freshdesk, Zendesk and Microsoft Dynamics, as well as chat applications like Slack and Microsoft Teams. This has only been adapted by a few of our customers. We offer APIs for various integrations and would love to have a lot more use cases.

Which social platforms do you see as having the most potential in the future?

Instagram is the present as well as the future. I know a lot of marketers believe TikTok is the next big platform, but I still want to wait and see.

How do you think the media monitoring and social media analytics industry will change in the next 5 years?

The need for monitoring and listening will keep on growing. There is a gold mine of information available on the web and social media. You get your customers’ feedback with so much ease with tools like Konnect Insights, and you can respond to them within minutes. You can make data driven decisions, change your offerings and know what is working for you and what’s working for your competitors with ready-made dashboards, while performing industry analysis at the same time.

With increasing volume, listening and analytics will be all the more important. We are talking about this at a time when the world is witnessing a pandemic like never before in 100 years, and what we have seen is brands using analytics and social listening to make informed decisions. Big data and allied technologies such as NLP, Machine Learning and AI are going to play a major role.

By Renata Ilitsky

“The need of identifying automated content will become pressing”

Tom Avramis

Interview with Tom Avramis, co-founder and Managing Partner of DataScouting, a software company that provides solutions in media monitoring.

Hi Tom, what is your background and what is included in your current role at DataScouting?

I have worked as a programmer and project manager for over 15 years on various projects and for the last 10 years on media monitoring software. At that point, I decided to found DataScouting with my partner to promote our software to a broader part of the market. Currently, I am the Managing Partner of DataScouting and I overlook most operations in the company, but my passion is to advance our research division to utilize cutting edge technologies in our software solutions.

What differs DataScouting from other technology companies that focus on media monitoring?

DataScouting is a software company that provides intelligent software solutions to media monitoring companies and organizations. We offer our clients cloud and on-premise software solutions for monitoring news and advertisements in broadcast, online/social and print media, including a reporting and delivery dashboard. Our MediaScouting suite is a turnkey solution that fosters the daily production of media monitoring companies of any size.

We are not data aggregators and we do not provide media monitoring services. All our software solutions are built for the cloud, but, depending on the customer use case, they can also be installed on the customers’ premises. We follow an open architecture paradigm, providing our customers with access to APIs, file structure, and the database.

Our software streamlines the daily workflow of all media monitoring companies by allowing companies to minimize the use of human resources typically involved in repetitive tasks that use technologies, such as speech recognition, audio matching, optical character recognition, face/logo detection, text analytics, machine translation, etc.

Have you recently, or do you plan to, release any new technology-based solutions that will add to or improve the services you offer your clients?

One of the latest additions to our software suite is a completely new module for advertisement monitoring in broadcast and print.

We are currently working on a major update to our user interfaces with new functionalities, such as dynamic updates, extensive audit and logging dashboards, machine learning enabled visualizations, and new multimodal clip browsing interfaces.

You have done some work with image and video analysis; how far have you come in that area in terms of research and what are you aiming to achieve?

We have created several modules related to image and video analysis that have been integrated into our systems. Examples of these include face, logo, object recognition, and news ticker extraction. One thing that these technologies have in common is the use of machine learning, and, specifically, deep learning and convolutional neural networks, which have revolutionized the field of artificial intelligence in the last few years.

Our face and logo recognition models provide results similar to human accuracy, solving problems that would otherwise be impossible to solve, or, at the very least, require significant human effort. Our goal is to finetune our existing machine learning models using knowledge transfer and minimal human feedback, making them easier to use and more adaptable to changes.

You provide media intelligence software solutions to government bodies. Do they require different solutions than other clients; and if so, how do you work with them to provide that?

Government organizations have similar needs to media monitoring companies, but the solutions we offer them are somewhat unique. For example, media monitoring for government bodies usually focuses on a narrower scope of topics than other companies; additionally they operate in smaller teams and need to work in real time, which requires more software automation. Government organizations have strict security and integration requirements, which other companies typically don’t. Finally, government bodies are interested in compliance monitoring, usually for broadcast media, to check for things like quality compliance with regulations of the aired content.

What type of data or media not currently used for media monitoring today could be interesting to utilize in the future?

Media monitoring started as a service-based on-resource scarcity because it was impossible to read and assess news in all the newspapers and magazines in a given country. Today, media monitoring is based on identifying relevant data as quickly as possible and providing actionable information that allows clients to make knowledgeable decisions.

In the near future, automation, cloud, and machine learning adoption will definitely increase. Additionally, the media intelligence industry will face new challenges as new media formats will appear and automatic content generation will become more common; thus the need of identifying automated content will become pressing.

By Renata Ilitsky

“As more sources become available, the need for professional media monitoring will increase”

Mark Reisz

Interview with Mark Reisz, CEO of Media Info Groep, a Dutch media monitoring company.

Hi Mark, what is your background, and what is your current role at Media Info Groep?

I joined Media Info Groep as a full-time employee right after getting my degree in Business Economics from Erasmus University. I was a second-generation employee in our family business, of which I took full control in the late 90’s.

Currently, I am responsible for all the companies in the group in Almere and Jakarta, especially making sure that all short and long term goals are met. Together with the managers of the various departments, I set the strategic goals. I also take part in the development process of various software solutions.

Having served as CEO for Media Info Groep for over 20 years, what are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of our transition from a traditional MMO where everything was done manually to a fully automated production process where people are still important for selection.

The acquisition of three competitors in the Dutch market is another proud moment that proved that our decision to focus on our quality of services was the right choice. Ever since that moment, focusing on quality has been one of our top priorities.

Additionally, our ability to adapt to the ever-changing market needs and requirements makes us proud.

What has been the most challenging time for Media Info Groep, and why?

We have faced and continue to face many challenges in our history, which spans over 100 years. Recent economic crises were challenging, and the current COVID-19 crisis put additional strain on the production process. However, due to our established processes, we were able to let all our employees in Almere and Jakarta work from home without any disruptions.

Another challenging time we faced was the introduction of copyright fees in the early 2000’s. Customers were reluctant to adhere to the new situation, and we were faced with a high decline in our customer base. Over the years, clients have come to understand the reasons for copyright fees, and the situation is back to normal.

In conclusion, we can say that this millennium has brought with it the greatest challenges so far. Keeping up with all the technological challenges makes life very interesting.

What differs Media Info Groep from other media monitoring companies in the Netherlands?

Media Info Groep is the only true MMO in the Netherlands. We have all the sources in house – we process all the papers (PDFs), gather web content, monitor radio and television, and do our own social media monitoring. Other MMOs only focus on web or social and buy the other sources from us.

Furthermore, we differ from other MMOs because we have actual people choosing the final selections for articles. The search engine does the initial selection, but those results are narrowed down by people before being shown to the customer. Therefore, we can make much better selections than those done automatically; even using sophisticated search engines can’t beat the human mind at this time.

What are the greatest challenges ahead for Media Info Groep when it comes to offering your customers analysis and developing your offer?

The main challenge is getting the customers to understand their own needs and requirements. Media analysis is not an on the shelf product, it’s custom made for every individual customer. AMEC’s frameworks help guide the customer in this journey and quickly sets the requirements. In the end, there is the final challenge to match the offer to the budget, which is probably the biggest challenge in the process.

Have you recently, or do you plan to, release any new technology-based solutions that will add to or improve the services you offer your clients?

We are constantly introducing new offers for our customers. Recently, we added logo detection and voice recognition to our portfolio of solutions.

Although our customers don’t always actually see the work we do to improve our offerings, they certainly notice our constant progress and appreciate the improvements in our processes, which allows us to provide better services in less time.

From your experience, is there a particular case you can share where media intelligence truly made a crucial difference for a client’s business?

I cannot get into specifics on an individual client basis, but we know that media intelligence has made significant differences for customers’ businesses many times over.

For example, a car manufacturer was promoting a particular model as the ideal car for women; however, after the analysis of all the media coverage, it turned out that there was only attention focused on performance and handling aspects in the media, which are typically topics not interesting to most women.

Media intelligence has also led a major bank to reconsider its position as a sponsor of a major sports team as a result of the findings of our analysis. It turned out that there was a mismatch between the values of the bank and the values of the sport.

With the current situation regarding the coronavirus, what would you advise your clients in regards to getting the most benefit from media monitoring?

The pandemic doesn’t change a thing about getting the most out of media monitoring. The most noticeable change is the way people get their news – Dutch publishers currently see a spike in the number of online subscribers.

In what ways has the coronavirus affected your business?

Our top priority was to keep all our employees safe and healthy. Without any disruption to our production process, we managed to get our entire team to work from home within a few days.

Unfortunately, several customers needed to terminate our services because they faced turnovers due to all the restrictive measures in the Netherlands. On the other hand, we have gained new pharmaceutical and medical customers. Overall, we see a decrease in sales, but we are still standing strong and have no need for government support.

Publishers are also hit hard by the crisis, and we see a steady decline in the number of pages and articles disseminated.

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

Media monitoring will become more and more dependent on new technologies. As more sources become available, the need for professional media monitoring will increase. The next generation of challenges is already looming – face, logo and voice recognition are just a few of them. Google and Apple are already offering services in this field, but to transition this into a viable product for large-scale demand causes many sleepless nights for our developers.

By Renata Ilitsky

“Tools for voice to text transcription will be more and more indispensable”

Lucie Geislerová

Interview with Lucie Geislerová, Chief Business Development Officer at Newton Media, a media monitoring company with head office in the Czech Republic.

Hi Lucie, what is included in your current role at Newton Media?

I have been with Newton Media altogether for 15 years, and I have to admit that I have one of the most interesting roles in the whole company. I am responsible for international business, which means I get to meet a lot of interesting people from all over the world. It’s not just a brief meeting either, as I focus on establishing new relationships and partnerships for long term cooperation.

How does Newton Media differ from other media monitoring companies in your region?

Newton has the unique advantage of having its own branches in 10 countries across our region. Some of them, like Prague or Zagreb, have their own technological research centres, and all branches can share the newest tools. This allows us to offer our customers tailor-made solutions using top industry features. Also, we can proudly say that we have deep knowledge of the media landscape of 10 European countries, which goes far beyond standard media monitoring services.

What are the greatest challenges ahead for Newton Media when it comes to offering your customers analysis and developing your offer?

From an international perspective, it’s definitely data availability and metadata consistency.

Operating in 10 countries; what are the greatest challenges when it comes to offering comprehensive products and services throughout the region in such diverse markets?

It is said that unification brings a synergy with it, which is the truth in our case too, but only up to a certain level. It is my experience that the specifications of each market are very important when offering a comprehensive product. Also, I learned very early on that the diversity in our markets is actually the key to our success.

Have you recently, or do you plan to, release any new technology-based solutions that will add to or improve the services you offer your clients?

I think the current situation shows us that quick help is priceless. We saw many companies doing great things when facing Covid-19’s effect on the whole world, and I’m very proud to say Newton Media did not stay behind the others.

One thing we are very proud of is our creation of a web app for deaf people that puts together the most important information from audiovisual sources and offers automatic subtitles thanks to our very own speech-to-text technology.

As the situation is constantly changing, TV stations do not have the time to provide a sign language translator for all of the news, which means people with a hearing disorder are at a disadvantage. However, our free web app allows them to stay current with the news; plus the service is free.

Currently, copyright and licensing for data used for monitoring differs a lot depending on region and type of media. How do you believe changes regarding copyright will affect data that is used for media monitoring in the future?

I am sure that the journey of finding the balance will continue, and the solution of using premium licenced sources will coexist with the solution of using free data. There is a market for both.

What data or media that is currently not used for monitoring could be interesting in the future?

In my opinion, we are about to see a rise in the importance of consumer data, even in our field. There is huge potential in connecting it with media content analytics. Also, tools for voice to text transcription will be more and more indispensable due to the trend of audiovisual content being published on different platforms. And I cannot forget picture detection, which is evolving rapidly.

How do you think the media intelligence industry will change in the next 5 years?

By coincidence, this interview is held during a very turbulent time when coronavirus is spreading quickly and unpredictably across the world. We face something that has never happened before on such a scale. It is frightening and limiting at the moment, but it is the beginning of a new era in the whole world, including our industry. It is a chance to discover a new way of working, to develop new services, and create new types of analytics. We have to listen carefully to the needs and wishes of our clients and be even more flexible.

By Renata Ilitsky

“Delivering a combination of consultancy and insights is the greatest challenge for the next years”

Rinske Willemsen

Interview with Rinske Willemsen, CEO of Clipit Media Monitoring, the Netherlands.

Hi Rinske, what is your background and what is included in your current role at Clipit?

After getting my master’s degrees in Business Communication and Business Administration, I have been working in the media & publishing business and marketing management for 18 years. Since 2013, I have been the CEO of Clipit in the Netherlands, a media-monitoring agency located at the university campus of Nijmegen.

What differs Clipit from other social media monitoring companies in the Netherlands?

Our aim is to unburden our customers in their goal to make media attention transparent. Therefore, we work closely with PR (and marketing) communication specialists from corporate organizations and PR agencies to make their work easier and more efficient. We are proud to announce that the service and support provided by our media analysts with specialist media intelligence knowledge has been awarded a 9 out of 10 rating by our customers.

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

This year we have expanded our portfolio with data-driven insights. Through a more commoditized media monitoring solution, we offer more in-depth analysis and insights to our customers. We have just started this new division, so our main challenge will be to integrate this new solution into the existing business and convince our customers to appreciate the value of (big) data.

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

Clipit is a founding partner of NPSlab, which predicts the net promoter score (NPS) of an organization by combining traditional market research results with media monitoring data as input for an algorithm. NPSlab is a co-creation of market research agencies Etil and Clipit. Machine learning helped us discover a correlation between the results of questionnaires and big data from media monitoring analysis.

Combining the two can generate real time insight into the extent to which customers will recommend the organization and is an indicator of future returns. The resulting real-time NPS enables organizations to make adjustments right away to improve customer loyalty.

All clients have different levels of understanding how media can be analyzed; what is the most common misconception that your clients have?

That PR-value is a metric that registers how much you have earned on a campaign or in brand reputation. It’s not; it’s an indicator to compare different campaigns, periods or to benchmark several brands and learn from these comparisons in order to optimize your campaign or strategy.

With your experience in media intelligence, is there a specific mouthwatering case that you know of where media intelligence has really played a crucial role for a client? If so, what case was that?

We conducted media intelligence analysis for a very successful campaign for Bavaria (part of Swinkels Family Brewers’) #Carnavalvrij (day off for carnival). We integrated and analyzed all paid, earned and owned data streams and cooperated with all agencies involved. We measured to which extent the initial campaign goals were reached and we generated valuable figures and insights for the client and translated them into clear and applicable conclusions and recommendations, which the client will take into account for future campaigns. All analysis results were presented as a management summary in an online one-pager format.

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

We have noticed that PR and Communication departments often use media monitoring data only to a limited extent. However, once you understand the potential of combining monitoring data with other data streams, a wealth of possibilities opens up in terms of measuring the effect of your efforts on your business objectives.

We already offer and implement (real-time) dashboard solutions in which different data streams are linked, such as Google Analytics data, customer effectiveness, net promoter scores and sales figures.  We help our customers with the interpretation of these different types of data and offer the correct insights.

Who is your dream client, what would you focus on, how would you like to work together, and what results would you aim for, in the best of worlds?

My BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) is to deliver overview as well as insights to every impactful brand all over the world, to be their consulting partner in branding strategy and reputation issues. The first step of realizing this dream is within the Netherlands.

You have been invited to speak at the FIBEP World Media Intelligence Congress on October 2nd in Copenhagen. What will be your topic?

I’m very delighted to be invited and within the theme ‘Communicating Media Intelligence,’ I will speak on the importance of data visualization in big, big data analysis.

How do you present such an amount of analysis results in a clear overview to the client? With the media intelligence evaluation of the successful Bavaria Carnival free campaign, we managed to cover the best insights and respond to the main question in an interactive one-pager format.

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

Privacy laws will further restrict the availability of social media data; therefore, it will be challenging to offer more than an overview of media mentions. Delivering a combination of consultancy and insights is the greatest challenge for the next years.

By Renata Ilitsky

“We can no longer successfully do our job without the help of automation and artificial intelligence.”

Judy King

Interview with Judy King, Director of Innovation at BBC Monitoring, UK.

Hi Judy, what is your background, and what is included in your current role at BBC Monitoring? 

I joined BBC Monitoring as a researcher in November 1999, following two years teaching English in rural Japan. And I have been there ever since, apart from a brief stint working at the BBC News website.

After 18 years, I really understand what makes BBC Monitoring tick. And this is hugely beneficial in my current role in which I head up the innovation team. Our work is very varied. On any one day we could be running a pilot to try out a new tool with one of our regional teams, collaborating with the BBC’s NewsLabs team on language technology prototypes or advising other BBC teams on using Agile ways of working in the Newsroom.

What differs BBC Monitoring from other media monitoring companies?

Many companies in this area are tech firms using AI and machine learning for brand monitoring purposes. We are quite different. We don’t only rely on technology and algorithms to find relevant information.

We employ highly-skilled, multi-lingual journalists who have a deep understanding of the media environment they are covering. This enables them to navigate through the ever-growing number of sources to spot trends and find the stories that matter.

We have a long history of reporting on developments from the world’s media. We have been doing this since the Second World War after all! And we are able to draw on this deep archive to enable our users to make sense of the present.

What are the possibilities and benefits of automation of the editorial workflow?

BBCM’s role is to understand and navigate media ecosystems to find news, spot disinformation and give context to events. Not just one, but many ecosystems, in many languages. And it is changing fast. Gone are the days when you could watch one state TV station and read a couple of newspapers to know what is going on in a country. We can no longer successfully do our job without the help of automation and artificial intelligence.

We use tools to help us keep across social and online sources, but for broadcast media it is much more difficult. There are huge benefits for our journalists to have access to speech-to-text transcripts of the broadcasts they are watching – in the vernacular language. This would enable us to keep across many more TV sources, find the information that is relevant to our users and spend more time adding context and insight to the output that they are producing.

What are the challenges of automation?

I think that the main challenge is how to fully integrate automation into the journalists’ daily work. If we were to just bolt it on as another tool available for people to use, without considering the entire workflow, we would not be able to realise all the benefits that introducing speech-to-text and other automated technology could bring.

What would your advice be on how to meet those challenges?

I think it is all about piloting and getting the technology into the workflow as soon as you can.

Of course, you also need to set the right expectations with journalists. The quality of the transcript will not be perfect and you should be clear about that from the start.

But if you can get the technology in front of journalists – even if it is not perfect – then they can start to experiment with how the automated transcripts can help them produce even more creative and original journalism.

When it comes to introducing automation of the editorial workflow, what next steps will we see in the near future that will improve it even further?

I haven’t seen any speech-to-text technology in any language that is perfect (getting people’s names right, for example, is extremely difficult). But there is a lot of focus on language technology at the moment and it is improving all the time. Even now the accuracy of the transcripts can also be improved if coupled with other technology, such as face recognition and speech recognition.

There is currently a lot of discussion about “fake news.” What do you think about the balance in the discussion between the focus on fake news compared to real news (where all facts are correct in)?

It is an extremely complicated picture. In many cases it is unclear whether what we are seeing is misinformation, which you could describe as the inadvertent sharing of false information, or disinformation, which is the deliberate creation and sharing of false information.

Our journalists are highly skilled at verifying what they see on the media they are covering. In some cases, what they see are efforts by media outlets not just to mislead and misinform, but sow confusion, undermine public trust in the media, create the impression that you can’t get to the bottom of things – that there is no truth, no facts, just opinions.

Have you recently, or are you planning to, release any new technology-based solutions that will add to or improve services for your clients? 

We are constantly looking for ways to improve our service to our customers. We recently introduced a new “fake news” tag onto our website to enable our users to more easily find articles on disinformation and propaganda. We are about to make improvements to our search functionality, to guide our users even more smoothly through our news and reference content, enabling them to quickly get to the information they need.

When it comes to the actual data behind the analysis that you do, what kind of data or media can be interesting in the future that you do not use for your analysis today? 

In the future I envisage us doing a lot more big data work, analyzing trends and how they develop across time. For example, capturing a broader swathe of media content than we are currently capable of analyzing and using it to find stories hidden in the data. We would also want to integrate this with our vast archive of monitored media output, which dates back decades.

How do you think the monitoring industry will change in the next 5-10 years, and what are the greatest challenges ahead?

If, in the coming years, technology companies continue to make leaps forward in automation and machine learning, transcription and translation will become reliable. I think that will bring the biggest change to the media monitoring industry.

But even if the language technology does improve considerably, non-specialists will still need help to navigate the increasingly complex media environments around the world. BBC Monitoring will continue to develop a reputation as source specialists, guiding our users to what matters to them.

By Renata Ilitsky