Access Intelligence CEO will focus on ‘internal investments’ to help iSentia bounce back

Access Intelligence and iSentia are merging operations to meet the global market evolution in marketing and communications, focussing on the media intelligence market.

The two media and audience intelligence Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) businesses are being brought together after iSentia shareholders voted in favour of the deal on 17 August.


Access Intelligence, CEO, Joanna Arnold, who has already joined the iSentia team in APAC to spearhead this next phase of investment told Mumbrella: “Combined we have the opportunity to create a next generation of media intelligence that is truly customer centric and highly innovative, providing clients with a deeper understanding of key consumers and other stakeholders. We plan to accelerate investment in iSentia’s existing products as a fundamental part of our innovation roadmap.”

In terms of partnerships, Arnold said its “key priority” at this first stage is to invest in internal investments within iSentia, before focussing on any external opportunities.

“It’s very early days, it’s only been the first week, but the first thing we’re doing is to see how we can support accelerating what work iSentia already provides to its clients. This will naturally lead to partnerships locally,” Arnold said.

With a 6,000 global client base across 4 continents and 10 markets, the combined iSentia and Access Intelligence Group, Arnold said, is resolved to make communication more representative and relevant through establishing connections driven by audience insight.

With its suite of products spanning media and audience intelligence and campaign activation, the Access Intelligence Group offers tools to fuel brand purpose, communications effectiveness, creativity and campaign impact.

“The whole premise behind Access Intelligence is recognising that PR and comms, and in fact the much broader marketing communications industry, has developed a two-way relationship with its customers and audiences. Whether it’s the press, customers, other key stakeholders, that ultimately make up the ecosystem of the industry that our customers work in, [the PR and marketing sector], they need to have a really detailed understanding of what matters to those different communities,” Arnold said.

Access Intelligence, CEO, Joanna Arnold

“In the context of what Access Intelligence brings to the Australian market, it is being able to take social media to the next level. It’s not about, ‘can I listen to conversations on social media?,’ but rather, ‘how I understand the different communities and audiences?,’ by having those conversations, and most importantly the diversity of those communities and audiences. One of the things that has come out over the last two years or so has been different sub-communities, whether that’s audiences like Black Lives Matter in the United States, really saying to brands, ‘you don’t see me as a consumer of yours, you see an amorphous persona’.”

Arnold continued: “As a result, consumers don’t feel there’s an authentic relationship with brands. For us it’s about how we can help different brands and organisations, because we work with a huge number of public organisations as well, to better understand the rich tapestry of different audiences that ultimately make up that ecosystem. How can they communicate authentically with them? Why that’s particularly important in iSentia’s world, is that as the media industry is adapting to the social media nuances that have arisen over the last five years, it’s become a very strong influence in its own right.”

The integration of iSentia’s media intelligence capabilities with Access Intelligence’s flagship product Pulsar provides realtime data analysis of social media, search data and online conversations.

“Pulsar is the platform which we bring into the market, totally unique, there’s nothing else on the market that is similar,” stated Arnold. “If you look at the clients we have globally, Twitter, Amazon, some of the other top tech giants, are using our technology to better understand its communities and audiences. It helps to understand the level of advancement that’s needed for brands today to deliver that authentic relationship to its key communities, and how that is driven by this type of technology.”

iSentia, CEO, Ed Harrison

Arnold also detailed what the merger means for iSentia and its staff and customers moving forward: “Greater investment, greater innovation, a broader suite of products, the social media capabilities that Access Intelligence can bring to the market, and stakeholder relationship management longer term, various different software solutions, but ultimately it’s about how we can really support iSentia in growing the relationships they have already, and growing a greater market presence.”

While Arnold will remain as the group CEO, she said iSentia’s chief executive, Ed Harrison will take the helm to drive the local operations across Australia and New Zealand.

“Harrison will take the lead in all local operations, and I’m more the group CEO, so I’m more focussed on the broader, global mandate of the group. In terms of the existing business, it will be about strengthening the leadership team around Harrison, to make sure that we have the right level of commercial expertise, marketing expertise within the business in ANZ. We want to be able to move our products and services from the PR and comms space into that broader marketing space as well. We will be investing into the business to be able to do that,” Arnold said.

Harrison commented on the merger: “We have a strong local presence in APAC across mature and emerging economies, award-winning insights capabilities, continued growth potential for social media, and technology and content innovation. These opportunities are perfectly complemented by the integrated offering of our combined group.”

iSentia’s financials were impacted in part by the cyber incident in October 2020 that had an approximately $3.3 million direct impact on revenue, and approximately $4.4 million direct impact on cash.

In addition, and as previously reported, the cyber incident resulted in a delay to key strategic projects which were aimed to reduce churn in the business and, as outlined in the 1H FY21 results presentation, has impacted FY21’s results when compared to expectations.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.