2023 INTERVIEWS AND INSIGHTS
by FIBEP Marketing and Communication Commission
TECH DAY: Hottest trends in sunny Rome
04/2023 by Anna Zunova, Newton Media, member of FIBEP MarComm Commission
Even though the media intelligence industry changes on a yearly basis, these past several months have brought several radical innovations. With language models becoming more persuasive, the industry faces a series of challenges. That is why after incorporating Tech Day into the Spring Summit in 2022, this year, FIBEP organized a separate event in Rome, Italy. As the CEO of Global News Group, Carlos Alfredo Diaz, said, the goal was to spark a discussion among experts from around the globe and come up with new approaches.
"Being a niche industry has ups and downs, but one of the constant realities of it is that there tends to be very little in the state of the art of technology regarding our specific needs as an industry. This yearly event fills that gap by bringing together innovators in the industry with curious minds."
Diaz thought that the biggest challenge for our industry is integrating available technology appropriately since we are still years behind the most current trends in many disciplines that we use: "Unless we become better at adapting them to our needs, we risk being obliterated by someone new who can do it," he said.
That is also what FIBEP achieved in Rome – the participants shared experience in adapting the current tools to their needs. For instance, Michal Hroneš from NEWTON Media talked about the potential use of ChatGPT in the summarization of broadcast transcripts – a task he had been testing in the past weeks. His team found the technology very helpful, with occasional hiccups when the language model incorporated false information due to its inability to differentiate between past and future tenses in selected Slavic languages. He discussed the journey in detail during his presentation, along with other speakers who chose ChatGPT for their presentation this year.
According to Diaz, a big takeaway of ChatGPT is how great it has been at setting outlandish expectations for AI as a whole. "It is the "in" topic right now, but we managed to look into related technologies that have a profound impact in our industry as opposed to simply proofs of concept." Personally, he was the most satisfied with a historically first FIBEP "hands-on" technical experience, showing how to get some code up and running: "I am very excited we planned an event not only designed for the business side but also for the technical leads in the industry," he added.
Even though such practical demonstrations could have been discouraging to some technically less savvy members, the event ended up being a success since it was not only about implementing tech but also about seeing available solutions and what other people accomplished this past year. As Carlos Alfredo Diaz concluded: "Even if you did not understand the HOW, you certainly understood the end result and how it could impact your business in the future!"
ChatGPT: The end of our business or a pathway to better results?
03/2023 by Anna Zunova, Newton Media, member of FIBEP MarComm Commission
As media consumption continues to grow exponentially, keeping track of news and trends has become increasingly challenging for businesses and organizations. In response to this, media intelligence and monitoring professionals have been working to provide valuable insights and analysis to their clients. However, with the emergence of new technologies like ChatGPT, there may be a more efficient and effective way to navigate this space. To explore this possibility further, we spoke to three media intelligence experts about their thoughts on ChatGPT's potential impact on the industry.
(Disclaimer – ChatGPT wrote this opening segment to showcase the language model's capabilities).
The language models are getting more advanced, which, at first glance, opens many new opportunities for media intelligence companies. ChatGPT, in particular, could help with content creation, translations, summarisation, and even sentiment analyses. However, Carlos Alfredo Diaz, the CEO of GlobalNews Group, takes this technology with a grain of salt: "ChatGPT is a chatbot, built to showcase large language models (of the GPT3-3.5 family), it's main feature is to prove it can understand user prompts and provide cohesive responses (although not necessarily factual ones)." With that in mind, Diaz doesn't believe this particular AI gadget has any true potential in our industry, unlike language models in general.
With that being said, ChatGPT and similar technologies are a double-edged sword: "One of the positive aspects can be cost savings due to lower personnel," says Fady El-Murr, the Founder and Managing Director of Pressrelations. However, he can imagine this innovation will bring new competitors and players onto the market, as well as fewer clients who need us. The danger of replacement seems possible even to Simon Ernst-Sunne, the CEO of Opoint: "It definitely has the potential to threaten our consulting and advisor business in Media Intelligence, as we are viewing it today." But not everybody is so skeptical. Diaz, for example, does not think ChatGPT will destroy our business. According to him, the main threat lies somewhere else – the technology is perceived as something that it is not, and it does not perform efficiently.
That brings up another important dilemma – can we present language models as a bulletproof tool? After all, ChatGPT was trained on data, which is now outdated, and if asked who won the latest Super Bowl, the answer is that in 2021, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs (while in reality, the Chiefs actually defeated the Eagles this year). Carlos Alfredo Diaz explains that we have to keep reminding ourselves of the limitations: "ChatGPT is a conversational AI which has had some supervised learning in order to offset bias, but it is not a truthful-knowledge AI, its knowledge is merely statistically significant and is not intended to be more than a showcase of its conversational capabilities." Additionally, Fady El-Murr looks even further when he talks about his fear of society being at risk of blindly consuming biased information. He says that once humans trust a machine, they are open to being manipulated: "The manipulation will be based on the ethical frames of its creators or of those who control it. Ask yourself if you trust google maps or if you trust your own skills in using maps?"
Eventually, the question is not what if – the transformation has been happening, and we need to learn how to deal with the consequences. But it might not be as bad as some fear. Ernst-Sunne assumes language models will keep making our jobs easier. Moreover, there will always be a place for advisory and consultation: "I would argue that it is actually going to be
more rewarding working with media intelligence because we start at a higher level of knowledge," he says. On top of that, El-Murr adds that our advantage is that we will still be data collectors, and it is crucial to keep this upper hand.
Without a crystal ball, it is hard to predict which particular forecasts will come true. But it is clear that ChatGPT and similar language models have the potential to transform the media monitoring and intelligence industry. If you still doubt it, create an account and test its limits yourself. And who knows, maybe you'll find yourself in a similar situation as Fady El-Murr, who admitted he caught himself talking with the machine for hours about ethical constraints.
FIBEP Interview with Arnaud Steinkuhler, CEO at Auxipress, by Oresti Patricios
What is your background and what is included in your current role at Auxipress?
I joined Auxipress to reposition the company on the market and unleash the potential of our assets. I am currently developing with the team a new way to approach our customers and prospects. And we build together a range of solutions dedicated to brand managers, helping them make informed decisions by observing media, analyzing social trends and listening to audiences.
Prior to that, I was Head of Solutions Europe at Talkwalker. There I led a team of consultants who help companies solve their business problems by listening and analyzing conversations and digital audiences. A fantastic experience.
I understand the challenges and needs of brands particularly well as I also led the Media & Public Insights department at Argus de la Presse (now Cision) for over 10 years in Paris. With my team of 70 people, we helped 500 clients manage their brand through a combination of metrics, reports, insights and opinion surveys.
I have worked with many companies, including prestigious brands and international organizations such as PSA (Peugeot-Citroën), Nestlé Waters, Red Bull, Aéroport de Paris, EY, Groupe Seb, Decathlon, Volkswagen Group, L'Oréal... helping them improve their performance by leveraging data.
And to close the loop, I came back to Belgium (where I was born and raised), I found Auxipress and its team of passionate experts, leader of the Belgian market and always looking forward to bring the company to the next level.
What differentiates Auxipress from other media intelligence companies?
Compared to global media intelligence firms, we are based in Brussels and specialize in understanding the small but complex Belgian media and audience landscape. Our country is particularly divided in terms of culture, languages, aspirations and communities, which requires a deep understanding of local challenges to help brands stand out from their competitors.
Compared to local media intelligence companies, we are the leading player in our country, being the only one to offer complete media and social media coverage (press, web, radio, tv, social media), all integrated in a digital solution
coverage (press, web, radio, tv, social media), all integrated in a digital solution
and able to provide a full range of services: monitoring, measurement, insights and trends.
What are your greatest challenges ahead at Auxipress when it comes to serving your customers and developing your offer?
“Get the basics right” isn’t always as easy as we would like it ;-). Our environment is continuously changing in terms of client needs, data access, copyright management, data providers, partners and teams. In order to always push a step forward our skills, process, knowhow, management... we are running an improvement processes named “from good to great” challenging the status quo and aiming for greater efficiency and quality of services.
When it comes to develop our offer, all starts with listening. Of course, we need to listen to our clients in order to frame their needs and bring the relevant solutions, but we also need to observe and listen beyond their requests what are their current challenges and how their environment is evolving. The idea is to be able to grow in parallel to their future needs. In order to do so, our Management team is involved in daily meetings with clients and prospects in order to capture these needs and build a vision within the top executive team.
What is the focus for Auxipress in 2023 and how will you get there?
After recovering from Covid19 in 2020/21, repositioning our brand in 2021, and growing since (thus welcoming nearly 30% of new talents in the last 2 years), in 2023 we will maximize our market share by leveraging our current assets and getting ahead of our competitors while building, training, and consolidating our new team to achieve the best possible practices in the market.
On the product and marketing front, we are currently launching two new solutions.
First, our brand new portal "Universal Insights" innovatively integrates media monitoring and social listening and extends our business from PR to marketing/digital departments.
We are also launching MediaTopiQ, our proprietary "Observatory" of brands and trends in Belgium. MediaTopiQ captures all media and social phenomena in Belgium and allows endless analysis and measurement of brands' media presence, topics, trends... and associated values, thanks to a unique data set and methodology on the market.
When it comes to the actual data behind media intelligence, what kind of data or media not currently used can be interesting in the future?
Data generated by our clients' marktech environment. The ecosystem our clients use generates tons of data that is usually not integrated into a holistic view. Clients don't usually know how to build a holistic view of all their actions. We are currently partnering with the main tools used by our clients
(engagement tools, press release distribution, google analytics, social media
(engagement tools, press release distribution, google analytics, social media insights...) to bring this unique helicopter view of the effectiveness of the communication activity. This allows us to move from a role as a "silo" media measurement specialist to a role as a global consultant measuring the overall effectiveness of communications.
How do you think the media intelligence industry will change in the next five years, and what are the greatest challenges ahead?
I foresee more segmentation among market players. Some are moving towards more "off-the-shelf" solutions with standard offerings, less customer service, more automated processes, and lower prices (and easier to replace), while others are moving towards offering dedicated, integrated, and more complex solutions. I don't think that a "mid-range" positioning can last very long.
In the meantime, the "SaaS bubble" is bursting and I hope all players will face the same economic reality. Most MMOs are not externally funded and we have to make difficult choices between protecting our margins and investing in our future - while competing with social listening players pumping significant external money into developing their technologies. This should stabilize the MMO landscape and allow for more stable, long-term partnerships and integration.
How would you like to see FIBEP develop over the next five years?
First of all, Fibep is very valuable to us. We appreciate the opportunity to meet, network, and build close relationships with our peers. We always come back with a useful list of improvements to apply directly to our operations and new ideas to implement. In addition, it is very interesting (and sometimes reassuring) to see how others are addressing the same issues.
Ideally, FIBEP should continue to exist, offering a unique experience and spirit alongside AMEC, and providing a forum for MMOs to share best practices while staying away from blanket statements and presentations. By focusing on a forum for MMOs, FIBEP can continue to be an industry organization that has a recognized voice to represent and promote our business by explaining our important role and value to marketing, media, and political and legislative bodies.