• Oliver Plauschinat

50th World Media Intelligence Congress: International Industry Meeting in Copenhagen

The participants of the 50th WMIC in Copenhagen. (© FIBEP)

Discussions about a possible merger of professional associations, the Facebook scandal and the consequences, new licensing models of PMG in Germany, the ancillary copyright law passed by the European Parliament and then the increasingly accelerating digitalisation: the participants of the World Media Intelligence Congress (WMIC) did not lack topics. From 1 to 3 October, 200 media observers from over 30 countries met for their 50th specialist congress. Oliver Plauschinat, who illuminates the most important discussions for the PR-journal, was also present.

The first Congress of Media Observers took place in Paris in 1953 with the founding of the international association FIBEP (Fédération Internationale des Bureaux d'Extraits de Presse). Today there are over 130 association members from over 40 countries who meet annually at the World Media Intelligence Congress to discuss new trends and technologies in the areas of press reviews, media monitoring and analysis. In addition, the congresses are used to enter into cooperation and contracts with each other, including the supply of information and data across national borders.

Personnel Changes at the international associations AMEC and FIBEP

Johna Burke's appointment as Managing Director of the AMEC (International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) had already been discussed in the run-up to the Congress, as she was only elected as the new President of FIBEP last year. A successor to Johna Burke therefore had to be found at the congress in Copenhagen.

The members of FIBEP unanimously elected Laura Garcia from Globalnews, Argentina, as the new FIBEP President on the first day of the Congress. The personnel rochade at the head of the two international associations led to a renewed discussion among the congress participants as to whether the two associations should not merge with each other because there is a great deal of overlap in both the association's topics and its members. It will be interesting to see how this discussion will develop at the next congress, which will take place in Peru (Lima).

Data protection and licensing law dominant topic among the participants

One problem for all media monitoring companies is limited access to data. Facebook started this year and, under the impression of the Cambridge-Analytica scandal, massively restricted access to Facebook data. Since July of this year, comprehensive monitoring and evaluation of Facebook is no longer possible without appropriate verification. A similar situation threatens Instagram at the end of the year. Social media specialists such as Talkwalker, Brandwatch or Ubermetrics, from whom almost all media observers worldwide obtain social media data, can no longer guarantee that they will be able to deliver data from Facebook and Instagram in the usual form and to the extent next year, as this depends solely on the decision by Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram. In addition, Facebook and Co. are not currently showing much interest in verifying the media watchers' solutions, as they would rather market their data independently.

Search for alternatives

The restrictions on Facebook and Instagram apply not only to German, but to all monitoring companies, so that many participants at the congress were looking for alternative ways to offer their customers Facebook and Instagram content next year as well. Social media providers who, according to their own statements, already have Facebook verification, such as Datagnion or Twingly, were particularly in demand at the congress. What is certain is that customers will have to reckon with further restrictions next year when observing large social media networks. This is currently in line with the fact that Google+ will completely shut down the service after the publication of a security margin.

The introduction and implementation of an additional licensing model by Presse Monitor GmbH (PMG) also sparked discussions among the German participants at the congress. PMG wants to enforce a so-called digital processing license with the German media observers and is conducting a model process with a media observer from Hamburg. So far, only the customers have paid the license fees for their press review to PMG; in future, the media observers will also pay a monthly processing fee directly to PMG for scanning newspapers. It is to be expected that the license costs for press reviews will continue to rise as a result, even though German customers are already paying the highest licenses in Europe.

The recently approved ancillary copyright law of the European Parliament will also further increase the license costs for customers of a press review. It is to be expected that PMG will also extend the digital processing license to online media.

In view of these developments, German PR service providers are increasingly asking themselves how the increase in license costs will affect customer demand.

An industry in digital upheaval

Technical developments have always shaped and changed the media intelligence industry in the last 60 years. It all began in 1957 with the discussion about the introduction of electric scissors or in 1964 with the use of fax machines. But never before has the speed with which new technologies change the offers, working methods and processes of PR service providers been so rapid as in the last ten years.

Following the introduction of the Internet and the establishment of social media, the industry is currently in its third major phase of change. As a result of increasing digitalization, more and more information and data is being created that needs to be processed and analyzed faster and faster. To achieve this, increasingly new technologies and methods have to be developed or purchased by media intelligence companies.

These include technologies such as speech-to-text, logo recognition, text mining and the use of AI.

In Copenhagen, therefore, in addition to the use of new technologies, the focus of the presentations was primarily on changes on the customer side as a result of increasing digitization. Among other things, it was discussed which new requirements arise for PR service providers when customers increasingly transfer their communications departments to a central control unit such as the corporate newsroom. Are established instruments such as a media resonance analysis or a daily press review for such customers still up-to-date or are other formats, data etc. required? The congress has shown: The international media intelligence industry must and will react to these changes with new products and technologies, just as it has done in the last 60 years.

Read the original article in German at: https://pr-journal.de/


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