Meltwater makes yet another acquisition, AMEC’s on the hunt for a new CEO, Zignal Labs launches bot detection tool, and the Department of Homeland Security prompts a media backlash. April sure was an interesting month for media intelligence.
Meltwater buys Sysomos
Just a month after acquiring DataSift, Meltwater has announced the purchase of Sysomos for an undisclosed sum. The company will become Meltwater’s Social Analytics division headed up by Peter Heffring, the now former Sysomos CEO. According to Niklas de Besche, Executive Director of Product at Meltwater, “with Sysomos under the Meltwater brand, we can offer our clients greater integration between social engagement and media monitoring”. The purchase is Meltwater’s seventh acquisition in 18 months.
AMEC is on the hunt for a new CEO as Barry Leggetter stands down
AMEC has announced that it is on the hunt for a new CEO as Barry Leggetter plans to leave the organisation at the end of the year. Leggetter has served as AMEC’s CEO since 2007, and has taken the media intelligence trade organisation from just 19 member companies to a global group of 160 member organisations from 86 countries. Leggetter leaves some very big shoes to fill, but if you think you have what it takes to lead AMEC, then applications for the role are open until May 14. In other news, congratulations to all those shortlisted for this year’s AMEC Awards. The winners will be announced at the AMEC Awards presentation event in Barcelona, during the AMEC Global Summit.
Zignal Labs announces bot protection
I was lucky enough to attend the Zignal Summit in San Francisco last week. There were a number of announcements from Zignal, including a partnership with Reddit and additions to its brand health measurement toolkit. However, Zignal’s most interesting announcement came in the form of its new bot protection tool. As we all know, the digital media landscape is not the friendly place it once was. Bot networks are fuelling a rise in disinformation and fake news, and corporations are as much a target as government. Zignal Labs is now able to identify individual bots at work across the social landscape helping communicators understand what’s real and how to respond.
USC Annenberg releases 2018 Global Communications Report
Also at Zignal Summit was Fred Cook, Chairman of Golin and Director of the Center for Public Relations at USC Annenberg. Cook was on hand to talk about the 2018 Global Communications Report from USC. The report, which surveys over 1,000 communicators globally, reflects the fast pace of change affecting the industry. According to the report, 64% of PR professionals surveyed predict that in five years the average consumer will not be able to distinguish between owned, earned and paid media content. Almost as many (59%) don’t believe that the average person will care if they can tell the difference. Indeed, PR executives predict a decline of resources devoted to earned media over the next five years, as owned and paid media budgets continue to grow. The report also explores the importance of ethics in communication.
Reputation Institutes reports “reputation disruption”
Speaking of ethics, the Reputation Institute has released a number of country reports this month including the US and UK. The Reputation Institute researches stakeholder perceptions to understand corporate reputation. In the US, mirroring the Edelman Trust Barometer, a “crisis of trust” is causing “reputation disruption”. While in the UK, the report shows a major drop in the levels of trust and confidence in UK companies with the first fall in reputation since 2008. The report highlighted that poor communication drives reputation decline, with 69% of respondents stating that they did not know what companies’ corporate governance practices are.
Kantar Media’s future at WPP
Martin Sorrell resigned from WPP, the company he founded some 33 years ago, prompting a number of stories about the future of the organisation. Over the weekend, the Financial Times reported that CVC was interested in buying Kantar. Meanwhile The Times stated that Eric Salama, Kantar’s CEO, is in talks with banks and private equity firms about a potential £3.5 billion management buyout. The potential sale of WPP’s research division was neither confirmed nor denied during the company’s earnings call on 30 April. According to Mark Read, WPP’s COO, “Kantar is an important source of data; it’s not the only source of data”, so it seems we must wait and see.
Journalist database casts a “chill over press freedom”
A request for information from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has prompted an oddly extreme response. Bloomberg Law reported that the DHS had issued a request for information “to monitor…news sources around the world and compile a database of journalists … bloggers to identify top ‘media influencers’.” The story prompted a rapid and alarmed response from a wide range of major media. Tyler Houlton, the DHS press secretary, tweeted “this is…standard practice of monitoring current events in the media. Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists”. PEN America, the freedom to write advocacy group, stated that a “comprehensive database of journalists and media outlets could cast a widespread chill over press freedom”. Excuse me while I remove my tin foil hat to scratch my head over this one.
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