Earnings, offshoring big in media in 2003

SAN FRANCISCO: Outsourcing and offshoring were among the hottest topics covered by the tech media last year, according to a new study.

SAN FRANCISCO: Outsourcing and offshoring were among the hottest topics covered by the tech media last year, according to a new study.

Those subjects were driven by controversy over the offshoring of US jobs and outsourcing announcements from major tech companies, such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and EDS.

Context Analytics, a subsidiary of Text 100, just released the study that looks at the media coverage of 100 top IT companies. Not surprisingly, quarterly earnings and economic forecasting drove coverage for most of the tech firms, as the technology industry began its nascent climb out of the recession.

Coverage of mergers and acquisitions also garnered heavier coverage last year, thanks to PeopleSoft's acquisition of JD Edwards and Oracle's hostile takeover bid of PeopleSoft.

The top nine companies last year - based on quantity of media coverage - were the same nine in 2002, although their positions changed slightly: Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Nokia, Vodafone, AT&T, Motorola, HP, and Time Warner.

The only newcomer to the top 10 was Verizon, which bumped Ericsson from the top 10.

Forrest Anderson, MD of Context Analytics, pointed out that half of the top 10 companies are in telecommunications.

But the most surprising finding was the growth of very specific issues, Anderson added. While outsourcing and offshoring articles increased by 34% last year, others also saw leaps: utility computing (41%), radio frequency identification (167%), information lifecycle management (839%), and service-oriented architecture (218%).

While more articles were written about offshoring and outsourcing than those other sectors combined, tech firms could learn quite a bit from the growth of those smaller sectors.

"Companies really need to take a look at what discussions are going on in their industry," said Anderson. "Those companies that have a stake in utility computing need to see where they fit into the discussion."

Too often companies mistake quantity for quality when it comes to media coverage, added Anderson. By looking at what the media is focused on, companies can be much more strategic about the role they want to play in such discussions

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