One company providing these services is Media Info Groep, a leading media monitoring and evaluation company in the Netherlands. With 135 employees and 2,500 customers, it gathers information, insight, and intelligence from 3,900 newspapers and magazines, 15,000 websites, 216 radio and TV programs, and also covers social media. Every day it monitors some 107,000 sources of information then collects them in its online channel, media∙web.
Media Info Groep has several online tools for customers to manage their media coverage ranging from basic web portals and dashboards to a real-time content delivery module. Through its associations with external press agencies, it also distributes news to journalists and the media on a global level.
“Our customers range from non-profit to profitmaking, healthcare to construction, and modelling agencies to pharmaceutical companies – in fact, all companies who appear in the news media are potential customers for us,” says Mark Reisz, CEO of Media Info Groep. “We originated from the traditional press clipping agency but in recent years we have noted a change. First the customers just wanted all the clippings, later on they wanted just a small number of clippings and summaries, and now they want to have insights into trends and tone of voice. There has been a big shift in customer requirements.”
To meet these increasingly demanding requests the company introduced an archive of all clippings and mentions. Held in a Microsoft SQL database, the archive is fed by a team at the company’s production facility in Indonesia. They clip and scan physical and digital media and use speech recognition software to convert radio and TV voices into text that they then input.
“At the moment we have 60 million documents in the database but for us, the biggest challenge was not the number of documents but the fact that each day, we store approximately 40,000 to 50,000 new documents,” explains Reisz.
“The software we were using was not up to handling such large amounts of data and we also had to have people monitoring certain radio and TV stations 24x7. We were working almost round the clock, seven days a week, on weekends and holidays, and we were still limited on the number of stations we could cover. At peak periods, it could also be several days before we could send out alerts to customers.”
Seeking a new solution, Media Info Groep spoke to one of its contacts who was already using Verity, a forerunner of HP Autonomy software. This led to discussions about the information analytics platform, Micro Focus IDOL.
“We had a small demonstration of IDOL and we liked what we saw,” says Reisz. “We started with very limited server and document licenses but it’s now expanded a lot to the point where we have a license for 100 million documents and are allowed to have 10 servers up and running.”
IDOL provides a single processing layer that gives users a real-time contextual understanding of both structured and unstructured data. It enables agencies like Media Info Groep to access many different media sources then monitor and analyze the information in a single user interface.
For radio and TV, Media Info Groep uses speech recognition engine, SoftSound. This advanced audio recognition technology is part of IDOL and enables users to understand and analyze audio content in a number of ways, from speech recognition to sentiment analysis. Speech is translated into text and subtitles are also used to input data into the database.
“Using IDOL may have saved us money but the biggest advantage is that it enables us to quickly retain all the information stored in the database. With our previous software, this was almost impossible or it took quite a lot of time. Now, within five seconds we can research ten years of history and get summaries back with all the relevant information. It’s really amazing,” says Reisz. “Our technical guys understand the capabilities and the power of IDOL and even large publishers think it’s a very good choice, so technically it makes a good impression that we are using it.”
“With SoftSound we are now able to translate 20 channels simultaneously and because it runs automatically, 24x7, it enables us to cut back dramatically on staff working hours and we can monitor many more TV and radio stations in a very short time period. We also send the alerts to the customer within two or three hours after broadcast when previously, it could be several days.”
IDOL gives users the ability to deliver comprehensive reports for any vertical specific workflow, including video clips, images, and transcripts in reports, audio, video and text analysis, key frame detection, face recognition, logo detection, and text recognition.
“We now add between 40,000 to 50,000 new documents a day to our database and the old software just couldn’t cope with those volumes.”
The analytics technology has also helped Media Info Groep meet the increasingly sophisticated levels of service required by its customers. In addition to just tracking mentions of a company, its products or its competition, the agency can now deliver more detailed information such as key messages and tone-of-voice. Social media monitoring is also offered for special projects.
Looking to the future, Media Info Groep plans to implement automated classification of results, automated search profiling, and automated sentiment analysis.