Following is an article published in the CT Post:
In the media monitoring industry, David Ives said offering his clients next-level tracking capabilities is key to success.
It’s been four years since Fairfield-based TVEyes moved its headquarters to a former print shop at 1150 Post Road. In that time, Ives, who founded the company 19 years ago, said growth on all fronts has been the primary focus.
The biggest change has come by way of product offerings, Ives said, with the business taking its tracking capabilities to a new level.
“For 19 years, we’ve primarily been a word-spotting company,” he said, but today the media monitoring company allows subscribers to track spoken words, as well.
TVEyes’ online search feature, which launched in January, includes monitoring for topics of interest in popular media specifically featured on platforms including YouTube and podcasts, as well as its traditional tracking of television broadcasts.
“We are tracking the most popular content … videos that have been seen by a million or more people,” Ives said. “This is super powerful because some videos go viral, and if they say something good about your brand, that’s awesome.”
With a keyword, a user can keep tabs on how many times a given term has been mentioned around the world in real time. The service then takes it a step further by transcribing video and logging when the topic was discussed for later review.
Other products recently released include logo detection software, which allows users to spot a company logo in a commercial, video or in the background of a newscast or sporting event. TVEyes also offers advertising monitoring that keeps tabs on ads featured on all U.S. stations under the service’s coverage.
“We’re able to basically, in real time, tell you where an ad is running and estimate what it cost to put it there,” Ives said, adding that the service has become a hit with political campaigns.
“They want to know how much their opponent is spending and where they are spending it,” he added.
Spreading the word
Since starting the business in his basement a mile from his current headquarters, Ives said TVEyes has grown to 25 employees with plans of hiring another six employees this year.
“The last few years, word of mouth has really exploded our business,” Ives said.
The broadcast-monitoring businesses allows users to keep tabs of coverage in more than 1,400 markets globally. The growing industry has been a popular tool for politicians, CEOs, celebrities and anyone looking to keep track of topics of interest in the media.
TVEyes has almost 4,000 direct customers along with partnerships overseas; the company operates in 15 countries in 12 languages. Through those partnerships, indirect users boost its customer count above 10,000, Ives said.
The business has worked with the last three presidential administrations, Ives said.
“Politicians, more than anyone, have to follow those good and the bad stories,” Ives said. “Every station plays the story differently, so what happens is when you have a news story whether it’s good or bad, you’re going to get it presented differently on one channel versus another one, and even internationally how Al Jazeera plays it or how BBC plays it is important.”
Along with growth, the past few years have also been marked by a legal dispute with Fox News, whose parent company sued over what it said was TVEyes’ improper use of its broadcast material.
In February, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled in favor of Fox News, which argued the service exceeded the boundaries of fair use and would ultimately damage the company’s bottom line.
Professor William Yousman, of Sacred Heart University’s School of Communications and Media Arts, sees the lawsuit as part of a trend of media corporations attempting to safeguard as much of their profits as possible by cracking down on monitoring services.
“Fox is the one that brought the lawsuit, but I am sure the other news (outlets) that they provide access to are watching this very carefully and they are probably happy with the outcome,” Yousman said. “I think it needs to be put in the larger context that for years now corporations have been attacking fair use, and they’ve been trying to really limit what is considered acceptable use of copyrighted materials as a business strategy.”
Yousman said Fox News prevailing in its case against TVEyes could pose problems down the line. To a company that relies on incorporating video clips in its tracking services, a court cracking down on or even barring the use of archived videos could be crippling to a business like TVEyes, as well as damaging to users who rely on tracking services for their jobs, research or for managing their brands.
Ives declined to comment about the case, stating it was an ongoing legal issue, but he said TVEyes would continue offering services while the issue is decided in court.
“The value that we bring to our customers is well understood, and our customers understand that this is a requirement to do their jobs. Anyone in public relations and crisis relations has to have this capability, so it’s not going away,” he said.