2021 is almost over, and what a year it was. As we start to look towards, let’s take a moment to look back at the stories that you enjoyed most this year. Obviously, the industry’s response to COVID plays a big part in the year’s stories. There were also industry reports that you were keen to explore, and I wonder how their results will change next time around.
January: Edelman Trust Barometer shows trust in business
Back in January, Edelman released its Trust Barometer and for the second year running it was the most popular story of the month. The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer showed that 56% of respondents felt that capitalism was doing more harm than good; but, corporations were viewed as the most competent group to lead on ethical issues affecting the places in which they do business and their workforce. A workforce that is anxious about disinformation and automation. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2021’s report tells us.
Deals & Partnerships: Platinum Equity completed its $US2.7bn acquisition of Cision, Netbase & Quid merged, Traackr raised $US4 million, Hivency raised €4 million, SOCi raised $US 15 million.
February: Unicepta expanded to the UK
Deals & Partnerships: Unicepta acquired XY Media
March: The industry responded to COVID-19
Over the space of just a few weeks, large parts of the world were placed into isolation in response to COVID-19. News and social media measurement groups began reporting responses to COVID-19, and measuring its impact. Many of the responses are still available. Cision unified its support materials and produced a live dashboard. Kantar provided a wide range of resources for anyone wanting to understand consumer response to COVID-19. iSentia lead the way in Asia, with a review of how the pandemic was shaping markets. Signal AI provided daily news briefings. On social, Talkwalker released a daily report on how news and social media are responding to the crisis. Brandwatch launched a resource centre. Italy’s CoMuNe Lab dug into the infodemic on Twitter, examining bots and reliability. AMEC called on DeLange Analytics to analyse initial reactions to the topic.
Deals & Partnerships: Kantar acquired Mavens of London, Hootsuite partnered with Brandwatch.
April: G2 Crowd’s Best Software Companies
G2 Crowd, the peer review website, released its 2020 Best Software Companies list. The marketing products category is led by Hubspot, with Hootsuite coming in at number 2. Among the other notable inclusions are: Sprout Social (6), Meltwater (19), Cision Communication Cloud (22), Falcon.io (31) and TVEyes (36). Meanwhile, the industry continued to respond to COVID-19. Commetric reported how the topic was affecting media coverage for organisations and the business topics driving discussion. Ornico tracked COVID-19 in South Africa. On social, NetbaseQuid showcased its data visuals. Graphika’s reports provided the perfect springboard to dive into disinformation around coronavirus. Alva produced some brilliant daily and weekly insight reporting.
Deals & Partnerships: W2O acquired Symplur, Kantar sold SRDS.
May: European Communication Monitor and Forrester reports on influencers
The European Communication Monitor released its 2020 report. Communicators expressed a growing sense of unease around ethics in public relations. Among the elements that caused concern were the use of big data analytics, bots and employee’s personal social media accounts to promote company messages. Forrester, meanwhile, released its latest look at Influence Marketing Solutions. The Forrester New Wave™: Influencer Marketing Solutions, Q2 2020 report placed AspireIQ, Mavrck, and CreatorIQ as Leaders.
Deals & Partnerships: Social Asset Management (SAM) raised $CAD 3.6 million.
June: Truescope launched in Australia
John Croll, the former Media Monitors and Isentia CEO, launched Truescope. The media intelligence platform designed to help inform communicators about breaking news across all media types and identify issues, fake news, and trends in real time. The platform is live in Singapore and Australia.
Deals & Partnerships: Linkfluence raised $US 9 million, AAP was acquired, Babel Street acquired Dunami’s IP.
July: the AMEC Summit went online
The AMEC Summit was virtual this year. I was hooked on Jim McNamara’s keynote about misinformation, and so were you. You were also keen to read more about the Barcelona Principles 3.0, which were released at the Summit. If you didn’t manage to make it to the Summit, head over to the AMEC blog to catch up on what you might have missed. The winners of the AMEC Awards were also announced, in record time by AMEC’s CEO Johna Burke. Congratulations to all of the winners, and a special congratulations to Sandra Macleod, Group CEO of Echo Research, for receiving the Don Bartholomew Award.
Deals & Partnerships: Talkwalker acquired Nielsen Social, SoundAware Group acquired Media Distillery’s monitoring business, Isentia exited North Asia, CreatorIQ raised $US 24 million.
August: Burton-Taylor: Cision and Meltwater lead M&A activity
If there’s one activity that is common in our industry, it’s consolidation. Burton-Taylor examined mergers and acquisitions to create a helpful guide. As we all know, Cision & its previous owners GTCR were the drivers of recent activity, spending just over $USD 2.25 billion from 2014 to 2019 on 14 transactions. Meltwater was also active, though on a much smaller scale, with Burton-Taylor estimating a spend of $USD 69.8 million over eight deals between 2016 and 2018. The Burton-Taylor analysis showed that media monitoring has had the most transactions among media intelligence companies, followed by social media, as organisations consolidate and acquire to expand product offerings. Also in August, IBM launched the Watson Advertising Social Targeting solution with influencer marketing provider Influential. The solution harnesses Watson’s AI capabilities to help brands identify influencers that best align with their brand values.
Deals & Partnerships: Impact acquired Activate, Brandwatch partnered with Kinetiq.
September: Rumours abounded at Cision
Cision appointed a new CEO. Abel Clark joined the company, taking the place of interim chief executive Brandon Crawley. Clark joined fast on the heels of the appointment of a new CFO, COO and CMO at the company. Meanwhile, Business Insider has issued two reports on rumoured changes at Cision. First up, it reported that Cision may be planning to purchase Meltwater. Business Insider also reported on a leaked pitch deck that suggested Cision was planning on selling Trendkite, a business it purchased for $US225 million just last year.
Deals & Partnerships: Astute acquired Socialbakers, Sprinklr raised $US 200 million, PRNEWS.IO raised €2 million
October: Kantar Media launched Reputation platform
Kantar Media launched the Kantar Reputation platform into the rather busy UK market. Already available across several European countries, the platform allows PR professionals to plan, target, distribute, monitor and analyse earned media activity across print, online, broadcast and social media. Francis Ingham, Director General of the PRCA and CEO of ICCO, described Kantar Reputation as the “most comprehensive media monitoring and analysis platform available today”.
Deals & Partnerships: Reptrak partnered with Onclusive.
November: Streem aligned with AAP
Australia’s media intelligence market has seen some remarkable changes this year. In an interesting twist, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) has turned to the digital media monitoring provider, Streem, to assist its attempts to curb copyright infringement. The AAP, of course, was saved from closure earlier this year and is keep to find ways to maximise its revenue. Streem has launched a new tool, NewsProtect, which allows media owners to police use of their news content in Australia and across the world.
Deals & Partnerships: Storyclash raised €1.8 million, NewsGuard partnered with Meetrics.
December: Meltwater IPO
In December, Meltwater launched its IPO on Euronext Growth Oslo at NOK 43.50 per share on 3 December. The company has a market cap of NOK 14.24 billion ($US 1.65 billion) as of 24 December. Of course, IPOs always generate fascinating financials, and Meltwater is no exception.
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