Thomson Reuters' PR platform offers new competition

NEW YORK: As Thomson Reuters prepares to launch its first PR services platform in January, some industry insiders believe the new tool will offer stiff competition for existing newswires and other PR services.

NEW YORK: As Thomson Reuters prepares to launch its first PR services platform in January, some industry insiders believe the new tool will offer stiff competition for existing newswires and other PR services.

Mark Kollar, partner at CJP Communications, said he expects Thomson One PR will affect the newswire industry by increasing competition, which will result in lower prices for users and increased commoditization.

“As a PR professional, I'll always look at new options that help me provide advice and counsel to my clients. And Thomson Reuters has proven its value with its IR product,” Kollar said. “To really compete, it's going to have to be better. But it's a strong brand that people trust, and they know how to make products. I expect Thomson will be able to adjust their product to fit consumers, and it will find success.”

One industry source who spoke to PRWeek on background agreed that Thomson One PR will become an important player in the newswire market, threatening the stronghold of current leaders PR Newswire and Business Wire.

“What I'm hearing from clients is that the level of competition in this industry is intense,” the source said. “Thomson Reuters may be late in the game, but they have the resources that will help them in the long run."

“The media landscape is changing so quickly that if you have a platform that will give you a chance to land in the national media, that will be very difficult to compete with,” the source added.

Current industry leaders in the news distribution services industry, though, counter that they are well-equipped to thwart any threat.

PR Newswire EVP Scott Mozarsky said that while Thomson Reuters has excellent resources at its fingertips, it's a player that his company has already had to contend with in the past.

“Thomson has fostered a strong business in the analytics fields," he said. "They're a great competitor in the financial sector, and they've built a good business in IR, but we've already been competing with Thomson Reuters in the IR sector, and we do so effectively. And Thomson hasn't really done distributing until recently.”

Tom Becktold, SVP of marketing at Business Wire, declined to predict the new competitor's likely success, but suggested his company's history in the space gives it an advantage over Thomson Reuters.

“We're paying attention, but frankly, we feel we're light years ahead of competitors in terms of our technology. It's a new area for Thomson Reuters, and we're going to have to see the product before we can know what type of effect it might have on the industry,” Becktold said. “What we do isn't easy to replicate. If it were, there wouldn't be two major players with 80% of the market share.”

In addition to news distribution, the new Thomson Reuters platform offers analytics and monitoring for clients. Vanessa Bugasch, SVP of marketing and client services for competitor Cision North America, said she predicts the most immediate effect of Thomson Reuters' wire will be a more competitive market, with a growing demand for integrated workflow solutions.

“It will take a long time for any competitor to come close to us in two of the most critical areas; media research and measurement,” Bugasch said. “Thomson Reuters has distribution capabilities, but distribution per se is less important than making sure you are finding the right people to talk to.”

"In any case, there is plenty of competition out there, which is a healthy thing overall,” she added.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article included a quote from a source that praised Thomson Reuters' connection to Dow Jones. In fact, the companies are separate. We regret the error.

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