We were alerted to the article “Project “Matterhorn”: Bidding procedure for media observer Unicepta in progress” written by Thomas Dillmann about ongoing changes in the German media monitoring industry and believe it might be of interest to you.


Please follow this link (https://pr-journal.de/nachrichten/branche/20151-projekt-matterhorn-bieterverfahren-um-medienbeobachter-unicepta-laeuft.html) to read the original article in German. Below you can find a copy in English.


Project “Matterhorn”: Bidding procedure for media observer Unicepta in progress.
Written by Thomas Dillmann, Bad Honnef
Industry report on the German media observation and monitoring market
The German media observation and monitoring market is increasingly moving forward. According to
well-informed sources, the sale of one of the leading German companies in the industry, Unicepta
Medienanalyse GmbH, is imminent. The bidding process – project name “Matterhorn” – is currently in
progress. Among other things, Cision and Kantar Media are to participate in this project. It was not
until the end of December 2017 that Cision took over the analysis specialist Prime Research in Mainz.
Market consolidation in Germany is gaining momentum.
At the international industry meeting of the monitoring service providers, the FIBEP World Media
Intelligence Congress in Berlin in October 2017, it was already speculated that due to the
extraordinary competitive situation in Germany, there would be a market consolidation in the next
twelve months. At the end of December, Cision (NYSE: CISN) started with the purchase of Prime
Research. With an annual turnover of more than 500 million euro, Cision is the world’s largest
monitoring service provider.
Industry insiders expect further takeovers in Germany during 2018. In this context, the service
providers Unicepta and Argus Data Insights (formerly part of it) are the main candidates for
According to their own information, the media monitoring and intelligence company Unicepta has
around 350 customers from 13 different industries. Approximately 700 employees work at the
headquarters in Cologne as well as in Berlin, Stuttgart, Washington, Shanghai and Krakow. With sales
of around 32 million euro in 2017/18, observers expect a pre-tax profit of around 6 million euro. The
takeover price is therefore expected to be between 66 and 72 million euro. Neither Unicepta nor
Cision or Kantar commented on the takeover speculations to the media. According to information
from “Mergermarket”, the bidding process has been running since the beginning of February and the
second round is scheduled for next week.
Market concentration in France and the United Kingdom
There is reason enough to take a closer look at the German market of PR and monitoring service
providers. In order to better assess the competitive situation and the expected market development,
it is worth taking a look at comparable markets such as France and Great Britain. In both markets,
there is a duopoly for PR clients. Through numerous acquisitions in recent years in France (e. g. Press
Index, Argus de la Presse) and the UK (e. g. Gorkana, Precise), Cision and Kantar Media have secured
a market share of 80 to 90 percent in both countries.
Kantar Media’s acquisition of Newsaccess in Ireland has shown that such a market concentration
does not have a positive effect on service and prices. Since the acquisition, the Irish PR industry has
complained that service levels have declined significantly and is demanding more competition.
In neighbouring Switzerland, Argus der Presse (owner of Argus Data Insights in Germany) has been a
monitoring provider for years and Swiss companies pay the highest prices for media monitoring and
analysis in Europe. In addition, Argus der Presse is trying to defend this market position by all means
possible by directly buying up new competitors such as Management Tools Media or by legally
preventing new competitors such as NR Swiss from entering the market.
Cision and Kantar Media’s desire to expand
For Cision and Kantar Media, Germany in particular seems now to have become the focus of their
ambitious expansion goals which are financed by a billion-euro investment company Two Harbors for
Cison and by WPP for Kantar Media.
Kantar Media entered the German market in 2010 with the takeover of PressWatch, a provider of
press monitoring services. However, the market position and growth of Kantar Media’s German
subsidiary in Germany are unlikely to have developed satisfactorily. With an estimated turnover of
six to seven million euro, Kantar Media in Germany continues to clearly outperform its competitors.
This will hardly meet the demands of the Kantar Media CEO, Walter Pantanella.
Cision has also been active in Germany for many years. Following a radical change in strategy, Cision
sold its traditional press review and analysis business in Germany to infopaq, a provider that went
bankrupt in 2013, and has since then been represented as a software-as-a-service provider with a
sales team in Frankfurt to market the Cision Point software solution. It remains to be seen which new
strategy Cision is pursuing with the purchase of the classical analysis service provider Prime Research
in Germany and Argus de la Presse in France. In any case, Cision will continue to expand in Europe as
two-thirds of Cision’s sales are generated in the US market alone.
The German market: Competitive without dominant market leaders
In Germany, Cision and Kantar Media encounter a very heterogeneous competitive situation with a
dozen very different service providers. The market volume is estimated at around 110 million euro.
Unicepta and Argus Data Insights lead the monitoring market in Germany with sales of 25 million
euro each for 2015. While Unicepta (revenues increased to €32 million in 2016/17) has grown
organically over the past three years, with nearly all DAX 30 companies working with Unicepta in
media monitoring, Argus Data Insights’ growth is primarily driven by acquisitions. For example, the
increase in sales from 2013 to 2014 is explained by the takeover of customers resulting from the
insolvency of infopaq. In 2015, a strategic partnership with meta communication was announced.
Prime Research followed clearly in third place in 2015 with a turnover result of 16.75 million euro,
although Prime Research generates 60 percent of its turnover abroad, which is not yet included in
the 16.75 million euro. Including international business, Prime Research’s total turnover is between
35 and 40 million euro.
The provider Landau Media showed an overall stable development. A large part of Landau Media’s
sales continues to be generated by observing traditional print media (print clippings by mail). The
youngest of the five listed monitoring companies, pressrelations, founded in 2001, ranks 5th by some
margin and is regarded as the technological driver in Germany. Among other things, pressrelations
was the first service provider in Germany to develop its own web crawler for monitoring online
media in 2001. After the departure of the founder Joachim de Bruin last year, the new management
seems to be placing more emphasis on this pioneering role. In January, for example, a new portal
was launched that combines earned and owned media as well as analysis data, key figures and
influencers and links them together.
Consolidation continues
The expansion drive of international monitoring providers such as Cision and Kantar Media as well as
the highly competitive market in Germany will further accelerate the consolidation of monitoring
providers in the next two years. Whether two or three suppliers will dominate the German market in
the end, as in France or England, is difficult to predict.
The industry report on monitoring providers in Germany and Europe will be continued next week.