Our industry reached a new level in 2023. After years of consolidation and funding rounds, media intelligence organisations seemed to take a pause to wonder at the power of AI. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have been fundamental to the growth of media monitoring and measurement for some time, but there are new opportunities being presented by AI that will further shape our collective world for some time to come. Before we come to that, though, let’s take a look back at the stories you engaged with the most in 2023.
It’s easy to think that no much happens in media intelligence. This issue is my eighth annual round-up, feel free to take a look at the previous reviews for 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016, and you’ll be amazed by how our industry has changed. Thank you for reading.
January: Edelman’s Trust Barometer
Now surveying some 32,000 respondents across 28 countries, Edelman’s Trust Barometer has become the annual go-to read on the state of trust in institutions. It seems that every year the story becomes a little bleaker. On a positive note, at 61%, business is the most trusted institution, ahead of NGOs at 59%, government at 52% and media at only 50%. Seventy-seven percent of respondents, however, trust “My Employer”, highlighting the importance of internal comms. On the negative side, trust in journalists is particularly poor (46%), which should worry any media relations pro. The report and the company that produces it has its critics, but it is always a fascinating read.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Meltwater announced its intention to go private; Penta acquired Hume Brophy; Truescope acquired Universal Information Services; Babel Street picked up Rosette; Sprout Social bought Repustate.
February: Twitter ended its free API
Confusion reigned at Twitter this year. Twitter started by announcing plans to shut down access to its free API starting from 9 February. The announcement caused widespread concern among developers, and Twitter’s response appeared to be to shut off access to its developer’s forum. (Access is now available again.) Twitter then decided to delay enforcing the rule until 13 February. This all started a process that has seen social listening providers change their services to accommodate the ever-changing whims of Twitter / X.
Key Deals & Partnerships: NewsWhip raised $USD 13 million; Augeo acquired Brand Networks.
March: AI in Media Intelligence
Back in December 2022, we covered the launch of Open AI’s ChatGPT, and the response from the PR industry. March saw the release of GPT-4, and calls from tech leaders to pause the development of AI. In our space, there has been a flurry of announcements about generative AI-enabled features in media intelligence products.
The use of AI and machine learning is not new to media intelligence but the use of generative AI has been limited. That’s now changed. Digimind has announced that is has combined its own AI Sense with ChatGPT. Propel has launched Artificial Media Intelligence Generator and Assistant (Amiga), an end-to-end generative AI-powered assistant for PR professionals. Both Notified and Agility PR Solutions have announced AI-driven press release generation tools.
Key Deals & Partnerships: One Impression raised $USD10 million; Stagwell launched comms tech unit.
April: Access Intelligence released its figures
Access Intelligence has released its 2022 Annual Report. It’s the company’s first full year financial report since its acquisition of Isentia in 2021. The report shows the company achieved revenue of £65 million, and reported an Adjusted EBITDA of £2.3 million. The report points to improving profitability and client growth – no easy feat, given the need to integrate Isentia. The company report significant client wins including Jaguar Land Rover, Save the Children and Moderna.
Key Deals & Partnerships: CulturePulse AI picked up $USD 1 million; Measure Studio raised $USD 1.5 million
May: Principles for AI
This year saw a wide range of organisations release their AI principles. Arriving quite early in the year were the AI principles from the News/Media Alliance. The alliance represents some 2,000 publishers. The newly released principles “emphasize that emerging technologies such as AI must respect publishers’ intellectual property (IP), brands, reader relationships, and investments made in creating quality journalistic and creative content.” Those of us working in media monitoring understand the value of a publisher’s intellectual property.
Key Deals & Partnerships: MuckRack partners with Press Gazette; PRophet partnered with PeakMetrics.
June: Global CommTech Report
PRovoke Media and Purposeful Relations have released the Global CommTech Report. The result are based on an online survey of 329 PR and communications professionals in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, North America and Latin America. The results are very interesting. More than half (56%) of PR professionals globally believe they are extremely competent or competent in their use of communications technology. However, that is contrasted with the continued high use of spreadsheets. There is a big difference between the self-perceived competency of agency practitioners compared to those that are working in-house. It’s a valuable report to learn more about the end users of commstech, and is a great read.
July: State of Social Listening
The Social Intelligence Lab has released its 2023 State of Social Listening report. The report surveys over 200 social listening professionals around the world. The report shows that most in-house teams purchase multiple social listening tools, and the vast majority of respondents plan to invest more. Brandwatch, Sprinklr and Talkwalker were the most purchased tools, but there is certainly space for more. The report provides a very clear understanding of what those users really need.
Key Deals & Partnerships: BCW partnered with Limbik; Meta launched Threads
August: Unicepta up for sale?
Unicepta’s backer Paragon Partners has appointed R.W. Baird to assess exit options for the German media and marketing intelligence provider, according to Unquote. Paragon picked up Unicepta in 2018, and has since made a number of acquisitions to strengthen its offering. These included the UK media monitoring firm XY Media, German social listening provider Ubermetrics, tech providers Giance Technologies and AdWired and most recently the UK insight company Marble Global. The timeline for the potential sale on Unicepta is reportedly unclear.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Sprout Social acquired Tagger Media; Meltwater delisted from the Oslo Stock Exchange and passed back into private hands; North Six Group acquired KRMA
September: Cision partners with Dow Jones
In what proved to be an industry-changing move, Cision has announced an exclusive agreement with Dow Jones. The deal will see Dow Jones’s content, including The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch, Investor’s Business Daily and Dow Jones Newswires, integrated into Cision’s media intelligence platforms. Users of Cision’s premium platforms will also receive digital subscriptions to Dow Jones’s publications. Cision will also integrate some content from Factiva, including its licensed source content. Rather uniquely for a deal of this kind, Cision will also have the ability to sublicense Dow Jones content to other software providers and approved resellers.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Cision partnered with Dow Jones.
October: Hill + Knowlton launches intel unit
Global agency, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, announced the creation of a global intelligence and technology capability, a partnership with Pendulum Intelligence, and the launch of an analytics tool, H+K Sonar. The Sonar tool will help firms detect and mitigate harmful narratives online, very much following a trend we’ve seen in commstech recently. H+K will work with Pendulum, theAI specialist, to develop products and services that address their clients needs. The Intelligence + Technology group is led by Grant Toups, H+K’s Global CTO, and includes over 50 data and technology specialists across the company’s network.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Unitary.ai raised $USD 15 milliion; Ebiquity acquired Transmit
November: Handraise picks up funding
Trendkite’s founder Matt Allison has announced plans to launch a new AI-powered PR technology platform called Handraise. Allison has raised $USD 6.4 million and, together with his team of seven employees (largely from Trendkite), intends to launch the platform at the end of the year. Handraise is a news content amplifier, connecting the right content to the right audience using social advertising. As a reminder, Trendkite was acquired by Cision for $USD 225 million back in 2019.
Key Deals & Partnerships: Handraise raised $USD 6.4 million; Muck Rack partnered with Keyhole; InsightHQ launched.
December: Farewell to Mark Weiner
First off, to finished the year, Meltwater has picked up a $USD 65 million investment from Verdane – about an 11% stake, valuing the company at $592 million. Interestingly, Verdane has actually acquired a stake in Fountain Venture, the investment vehicle controlled by Meltwater’s founder and current chairman, Jørn Lyseggen.
Finally, it was with sadness that I heard of the passing of Mark Weiner. I first met Mark in 2001. He was co-CEO of Delahaye Medialink, where I started my media intelligence journey, and I was visiting the Norwalk, Connecticut office from London. Back then, Mark encouraged me to be involved and to learn. Mark encouraged us all to advocate for public relations and its measurement, and helped to shape the work we are lucky to do every day. His voice will be missed.
Don’t forget to let us know about your measurement moments. Email us – email@example.com.