By Todd Murphy | June 11th, 2014
The dust is settling from the merger of Cision and Vocus, one of the largest consolidations within the media contact management and news aggregating service industry ever. Many are wondering what this will mean for their services, clients and staff. The two easiest elements to address is the impact it will have on staff and services offered. The greater unknown seems whether clients will be impacted.
To quickly recap the situation, Cision evolved in North America out of the Bacon’s company. Bacon’s was the gold standard in media contacts. It was well known for providing outstanding press clippings, and the Bacon’s Directories were found in nearly every PR professional’s office. Vocus entered the game much later, but quickly established itself as a prominent contender in meeting the media contact needs of PR pros. The company also created a new user interface for monitoring news aggregated from other providers. By 2013, both companies were looking very similar in their service offerings and focus. Cision had divested and outsourced most of their news monitoring efforts, mirroring the model of Vocus in aggregating news provided primarily from other vendors.
Fast forward to Q2 2014, and you don’t have to watch CNBC for long to understand that mergers and acquisitions are again all the rage for private equity firms. Enter GTCR and Blue Canyon Holdings (a subsidiary investment arm of GTCR) to rollup Cision and Vocus into one entity. So back to the easiest outcomes to identify. Both companies have great people and management. If Universal Information Services must share a client with another vendor, I’d want it to be either Vocus or Cision. Those who have tried many services probably have identified the other vendors whose promises don’t quite match their deliverables (that’s a post for another day). But at the end of the day, two companies doing essentially the same thing go from being two options to a single option. Simply put, one plus one equals one.
Without speculating or fear mongering, other integrations like this generally result in the elimination of staff to reduce redundancy. Similarly, where ever Cision and Vocus overlap on services, you can bet those services will be combined in such a way to reduce overhead and deliver a single, focused product. But how does this impact the clients of these two companies? Far be it from me to predict an outcome, but so far the online dialogue resulting from this question has created a greater awareness of other service options.
Other players still very much in the game are Burrelles/Luce, for complete media monitoring and measurement, and Meltwater for web monitoring and aggregation of other news from outside vendors. The big changes PR professionals may see from a merger like this is a shift away from what we call “managed news monitoring and pr measurement.” This is the point in my post where I do underscore there are other services, and they are growing as a result of consolidation, that will work as an extension of your PR efforts. Companies like mine provide agencies, corporations, non-profits and PR pros with comprehensive news monitoring and measurement. These growing boutiques manage your search strategies, make staff available to you 24/7 for questions beyond technical support, provide detailed measurement that provides real insight, and make sure you don’t waste time playing with the interface tools when you could be focused on more mission-critical PR tasks.
So, after reading this post do you have a better ideas of what the Vocus and Cision merger will mean to the industry? Maybe not. Hopefully this post will help illuminate how reducing the range of choice can create opportunities and raise awareness for new options. Another great post on this topic can be found at GTCR Math: Vocus Plus Cision Equals…