Isentia CEO John Croll insists company didn’t overpay for King Content, as he looks to more-secure long-term contracts

Isentia CEO John Croll has dismissed concerns the company overpaid for King Content and said the content marketing arm of Isentia will now search for more-secure long-term contracts to ensure it has reliable revenues.

Croll’s insistence that the company had not been misled in the $48m acquisition in 2015 comes after the announcement that the King Content brand would be axed with a number of international office closures as a result.

Croll: King Content was a promising business

Croll dismissed allegations that the company had been misled by King Content’s founders: “We did due diligence with good reputable companies and what we saw was a business going from about $2m in revenue to $7m in revenue to $15m and then $20-odd-million in the first years we had it.

“So there was a good growth profile, a problem for us was a lot of revenue was in quite short campaign-based revenue and content marketing was going through a transitions at that point in time,” he explained. “There had been a lot of revenue in those campaigns which went away quite quickly.

“What our clients were saying to us was they wanted us to answer more questions for them and so where we saw King Content and its strengths was they were very strong in strategy.

“Really what we’ve seen as an organisation is how corporate comms and marketing are starting to integrate their operations.”

Croll said the content creation arm will now focus on strategy and long-term contracts.

“The revenue growth may not be that spectacular but the dependence of that revenue will be much more certain.”

Matthew Stanton, now Isentia’s chief executive officer for strategy and content, cited the UK operation as the model the rest of the company would try to emulate: “The London office is the most successful because it has five or six good clients with long-term, good relationships. That’s the model we’re looking to and you can see that starting to happen with the Sydney business.”

The international arms were one of the bright spots in Isentia’s outlook with Croll expecting growth in Singapore as the company caters to APAC regional head offices of major brands along with corporate wins including Samsung in South Korea and China’s Huawei.

“We think next year will be a tale of two halves,” Croll warned. “The first half will still be be pretty flat but as we move forward with the on-selling to clients then we’ll be in a much stronger position.”

The company’s restructure looks to give clients more relevant and actionable insights from media sources, including the launch of ‘Stories’ as a feature of its recently upgraded MediaPortal platform.

“Stories will show our customers how a piece of news is evolving in real-time so they can make decisions faster,” Croll said. “We’re also improving our data intelligence platform, which will increase the speed, scalability and content sources for our clients in multiple languages.”

Those languages will include Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Tamil, Tagalog, Malay, Indonesian and Korean with 65,000 news websites, online video and audio content across the Asia-Pacific region being crawled each day.

As part of the restructure the company has also revamped its sales organisation and refreshed its internal brand around the mathematical three dots symbol for ‘therefore’.

“This new graphic reflects the personality and nature of the Isentia business as a problem solver and highlights the positive outcomes the company creates for them,” said the company’s media release.


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