Well, 2022 was quite the year! Before we arrive in 2023, let’s take a moment to look back at the stories that shaped our industry this year. There were plenty of new tools to explore, reports to read and acquisitions to look into. You, dear readers, made it all happen. Thank you for your commitment to measurement, and for reading.
This year saw Kate Bush back at number 1 in the UK charts with a song from 1985. You might be thinking that there are some previous media intelligence hits worth a taking another look at. This issue is my seventh annual round-up, feel free to take a look at the previous reviews for 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016. You’ll be amazed by how our industry has changed.
January: Symphony Technology Group acquired Kantar’s Reputation Intelligence, PRGloo and Onclusive
2021 started with a bang. Symphony Technology Group (STG) acquired Kantar’s Reputation Intelligence business. The sale was finalised on 5 January, and with it came the news that STG had also picked up Onclusive and PRGloo for an undisclosed sum. The three companies merged and called themselves Onclusive. The new company arrived on the market supporting a whopping 9,000 clients. At the time, I wrote that it points to an exciting new direction for Europe’s largest provider of media intelligence services. And, there were further acquisitions as STG shaped one of the market leaders.
Key Deals & Partnerships: STG acquired Kantar Reputation Intelligence, PRGloo and Onclusive; Lucidya raised $USD6 million; Lifebrand raised $USD27 million.
February: Open source intelligence moved out of the shadows
Key Deals & Partnerships: GWI raised $USD 180 million; Collab acquired Trendpop.
March: Launchmetrics picked up Italian rival
Launchmetrics is acquiring DMR, the Italian-based media analytics firm. Both companies have focused on supporting the fashion industry, and the acquisition ends a long-standing competition. Michael Jais, CEO of Launchmetrics, called it “a very important milestone”. DMR’s president and founder Enzo di Sarli will stay on as a consultant, alongside former DMR CEO Marco Levi. Combined with DMR, Launchmetrics’ turnover will be over $USD 50 million, with the company boasting more than 400 employees.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Launchmetrics acquired DMR; Brandwatch acquired Paladin; Truescope raised $AUD 6.2 million; Propel raised $USD 4.5 million; MyTelescope raised €2.5 million.
April: Corint Media sued Microsoft for €20 million
One of the most enduring topics in media intelligence is copyright. This year was no different. UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day was celebrated on April 23. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ / EFJ) leveraged the day to warn against the business models of Meta and Google, which they felt were “wreaking havoc on the financial foundations of independent news reporting”. Earlier in the month, licensing body Corint Media commenced legal action against Microsoft over its press content use. Corint Media took the step after two years of talks with Microsoft about its use of press content by MSN and Microsoft Bing. Microsoft had offered €700,000 for its use of press content.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Memo raised $USD 10 million; Mavrck picked up $USD 135 million; BlueOcean raised $USD 30 million; Babel Street won $USD 27 million contract.
May: Questions for social listening
The police response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas has raised a number of questions. Among them was the use of a social listening tool, Social Sentinel, to monitor for threats of suicide and school shootings. The efficacy of the technology is under the spotlight, as are its privacy violations. Meanwhile, the New Zealand government is under attack after spending $NZD 235k on social media listening reports. The 100-odd reports from OMD, using Brandwatch data, were commissioned during the pandemic. The reports have been described by some as “ethically questionable”, and the tone of media reporting on the topic is almost entirely negative. I blow this whistle every once in awhile. Social listening companies do need to do more to address the increasingly negative media perceptions of their offerings.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Onclusive acquired Critical Mention; Unicepta acquired Giance Technologies.
June: Reuters Institute released its 2022 Digital News Report
Reuters Institute has released its 2022 Digital News Report. The report shows that interest in news and overall news consumption has declined considerably in many countries and trust has fallen back almost everywhere. There are signs of news fatigue setting in with the number of people actively avoiding news increasing. In addition, there is a shift towards digital, mobile and platform news consumption. For our industry, interested as we are in understanding the news audience, it is a must read.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Bolt raised £1.3 million.
July: Copyright Agency responds to Tribunal
Australia’s Copyright Tribunal has released its written decision in the long-running matter involving the rate that media monitoring companies, Isentia and Meltwater, should pay to use news publishers’ print and digital content in their monitoring services. The Copyright Agency appealed the decision in May of this year, and is awaiting the decision. In the meantime, the agency has released a statement suggesting that it may be about to change its approach to MMO licensing.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Onclusive acquired Digimind; Infomedia invested in MediaCatch; Favik raised $USD 3.5 million; Terkel picked up $USD 1 million.
August: Influencer platforms raising funds
Influencer management tools were the getting all the investor love in August, with a slew of seed funding announcements from across the sector. Leading the charge was the UK’s Duel, which closed a £2.5 million seed funding round to support company growth and bring on additional staff. The investment was led by the London-based VC firm SuperSeed.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Signal acquired Kelp; Pattern acquired Current; Duel raised £2.5 million; Smartfluence raised $USD 2.15 million; PickMyAd picked up an undisclosed funding round; Freeskout picked up INR. 4 Crore; Onclusive raised funds.
September: WHO releases social taxonomy
After its remarkable work on monitoring and analysing social content relating to COVID-19 last year, the World Health Organisation has now released a social listening taxonomy for monkeypox. The taxonomy provides guidance on how to approach infodemic monitoring, and what public health social media analysts could learn. The WHO has also produced a detailed look at how they are approaching infodemic insight generation. If you’re a media analysis-wonk like me, you will definitely want to read it.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Muck Rack raised $USD 180 million; Meltwater partnered with NewsGuard; Talkwalker partnered with Khoros.
October: Unicepta expanded in Switzerland and the USA
Germany’s Unicepta has leapt across the border and acquired Adwired for an undisclosed sum. Zurich-based Adwired has developed a brand tracking tool that provides users with insights into brand perception, customer satisfaction, reputation risks and ESG issues or brand ratings across markets and media Adwired’s management and it’s 15 employees will remain at the business Unicepta has also launched its Executive News Briefing product in the USA, as the company continues its expansion beyond Germany.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Unicepta acquired Adwired; Klarmedia acquired Media Image Group; Hyefactors picked up DKK 855k.
November: Cision acquired fake news start-up
Cision acquired the UK’s Factmata, a social and news media monitoring and analytics product. Factmata applies AI to surface narratives driving online conversations, to detect risky and harmful narratives earlier than a human can, and to identify impactful influencers driving the conversations and understand their stance. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Cision will integrate Factmata’s technology into its media monitoring product.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Cision purchased Factmata; Unicepta acquired Marble Global; Agility partnered with PA Media; Pearpop raised $USD18 million.
December: ChatGPT caused a commotion
On November 30, OpenAI quietly announced the launch of ChatGPT, a chatbot. The technololgy is extraordinary and its applications are fascinating. The ever-insightful Stuart Bruce outlined how ChatGPT could be used by communicators. Its impact on PR was explored by many others including O’Dwyer’s, PR Daily, and PR Week. Time will tell what impact ChatGPT actually has on communications and the media. But, we should all now be prepared to measure and understand how AI-generated text impacts audiences and changes perceptions.
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