THOMSON FINANCIAL is on a publicity push to drum up new business for its giant corporate services business as it launches new investor relations website and corporate video production services.
The Boston-based company’s corporate services unit, which claims more than 2,700 public companies as hosted IR and PR website clients, has launched an advertising campaign touting enhancements to its investor relations website package.
It says the changes leverage “the latest technologies and trends to provide leading-edge IR Web site solutions.” In conjunction with the launch, it has posted a somewhat blurry 4-minute Flash video presentation that gives an overview of the company’s new IR website features.
We’ll be publishing our own in-depth review of the changes with explanations of what works and what doesn’t. Look out for it next week.
Thomson’s latest IR website enhancements follow an earlier upgrade in February, which failed to add any significant improvements to a platform that has been in a long period of near stagnation.
The year’s second round of changes comes after it appeared that investors were not visiting Thomson Financial-hosted IR website pages as much as in the past. As we reported in April, independent traffic statistics showed that relative traffic to Thomson clients’ hosted IR pages had slumped to all-time lows starting in mid-2006.
Targeting PR departments with video push
Meanwhile, Thomson Financial this week issued a news release about a not-so-newsworthy survey that finds “an increase in the use of video as a communications tool.” (That might be the understatement of the year.)
Actually, the survey is just a hook for Thomson Financial’s corporate services unit to promote its new suite of video products. The company has largely missed the video wave that has been sweeping the Web, including in the corporate PR, IR and marketing arenas. Despite heavy promotion, for instance, Thomson’s iShowcase product (see my earlier review) has failed to make any headway.
Interestingly, Thomson is not targeting its traditional IR audience with its new video products, but rather is aiming to lure the PR community. It says 40% of its survey respondents who now use video plan to increase their use in the next six months, while half of non-users plan to start doing so in the same time frame. The number one reason cited for video use was “branding.”
Getting dressed up for something?
Could all of this activity be a sign that Thomson Financial’s corporate services business is dressing itself up for a possible spin-off as part of Thomson Corp.’s planned $17.7 billion acquisition of Reuters Group? As I wrote in May, Thomson Financial’s corporate services unit does not seem to fit well within the proposed structure of the new combined Thomson Financial-Reuters business.
The corporate services division provides unadulterated corporate promotion such as unfiltered PR, IR and now corporate “branding” videos. However, the agreement between Thomson and Reuters calls for the business to be guided by journalistic principles such as freedom from bias.
Yes, it’s pure speculation on my part, but it does make you wonder.
Earlier this month, the European Union said that Thomson’s plan to buy the Reuters Group raised competition concerns in the financial information industry and it needed more time to study the deal. The commission, which did not say what aspects of the deal were worrying, said it would rule by Feb. 25, 2008. Meanwhile, the US Justice Department will decide by Jan. 15, according to the companies.
Note: For those who might not be familiar with it, the term “pimp” in the headline is a reference to the MTV show Pimp My Ride. In it, one old car is transformed and customized in an episode. Wikipedia has a fuller explanation.