Originally published on The Business Post.
Truehawk Media, set up in response to a change in the market, will go live in September
By Colette Sexton – Aug 27, 2017
A new media monitoring company will launch in the Irish market this week. Truehawk Media, founded by Derek Finnegan and Peter McFadden, is in the process of testing its systems and will be ready to supply clients in September.
The company was set up in response to a change in the market, which saw Kantar Media acquire Newsaccess Media, which together are the biggest print and broadcast media measuring service providers in the country.
The merger was approved by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, subject to several conditions.
These conditions included the sale of Newsaccess fixed assets at a reduced cost; Kantar releasing a number of its customers from their contracts to open the market to a new entrant; and no restrictions on any former employee of Newaccess, besides directors or shareholders, from being employed by a business which is currently providing or is intending to provide a media monitoring service.
Revolutionising the market
Finnegan and McFadden have a combined history of 25 years in the Irish media monitoring industry, and both previously worked for Kantar.
Finnegan was a founding member of media monitoring service Media Market, which produced media marketing solutions digitally, in 2002.
“It revolutionised the market. Previous to that it was reading the newspaper, getting the scissors and Pritt-Stick out, pasting it onto a page and either faxing or couriering the clips to the client,” Finnegan said.
McFadden was appointed as regional director when Media Market opened its Belfast office in 2007. Media Market was subsequently bought by WPP and renamed Kantar Media in 2009.
Finnegan, who was operations director at Kantar, left last year, while McFadden, who was head of product development in Ireland, left in 2015. After his departure, McFadden acquired NIMMS, Northern Ireland Media Monitoring Service, in December 2015, and spent 2016 overhauling the business and acquiring new clients. He said he was then approached by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, which was investigating the Kantar acquisition of Newsaccess, as NIMMS was the only other media monitoring service on the island that offered all of the media channels.
“To cut a long story short, I was able to acquire Newsaccess’s equipment,” McFadden said. He said he had always intended to launch in the South when NIMMS was more established.
In the meantime, after leaving Kantar, Finnegan began doing a part-time MBA in Dublin Institute of Technology, which he will complete next year.
“My original plan was to finish the MBA in 2018 and then start [to set up a company] but because of the changes in the market there is no point delaying,” he said.
“Everything I have taken on so far in relation to the modules has been hugely beneficial. Every module has tied in in some way to what I’m doing. There are a lot of supports in the college that point me in the right direction.”
The pair are investing over €100,000 in launching the company. It has moved into an office in the Guinness Enterprise Centre. It will be operating under the name Truehawk Media, and the pair said the most frustrating moment in setting up the business was coming up with the name.
“It was A4 page after A4 page of ideas and names,” McFadden said. “We probably had five pages of names,” Finnegan added.
The name, represented by a hawk, suits the company, as hawks “hunt in short dashes, find [their prey] and are very accurate and fast, so it works well with what we do,” Finnegan said.
There has been a trend towards automation in the industry which leads to a one-size-fits-all offer and taking out the personal touch, Finnegan said. Truehawk Media wants to return to the previous way of offering personal client services, he said.
“Because we have the personal touch, it will not be a Ryanair model, but it will be competitively priced,” he said.
Hawk Media has hired five people, and it has support companies working on technology.
“Media monitoring is something that you shouldn’t have to worry about”
A new platform has been developed for the Irish market which clients will be able to interact with more. It will integrate with all media channels, including press, broadcast, online and social, and clients will be able to do their own media analysis. It will also offer a service for high-end media analysis. It will maintain archives, but will fully adhere to copyright law, Finnegan said.
Its clients will be a mixture of PR companies and brands with any size of business, from SMEs to global. Together with NIMMS, it will be an all-island provider, McFadden said, although the companies will remain as two separate brands for the foreseeable future.
“Media monitoring is something you shouldn’t have to worry about. It should be something that is there when you need it and you don’t need to pick up the phone to ask for it. We want to take the worry out of the media intelligence service.”
The USP of Truehawk Media will be reliability, personal touch and local knowledge of the market, the pair said.
“If people phone us and ask for a clip from the Meath Chronicle, we will know exactly what they are talking about,” Finnegan said.
In relation to Brexit, Finnegan said that there was always going to be issues like it, but that it might present opportunities also.
“Nothing is to stop us at looking at Britain and further afield when the time comes,” McFadden said.
Other media monitoring companies are expected to launch shortly to also take advantage of the gap in the market left by Newsaccess. Truehawk Media will be actively talking to clients from tomorrow, and will begin client testing and trials in early September.