The Media Overlooks the Long Tail in the Research Industry

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A survey of about 200 technology and business journalists in the US and Europe revealed that they rely highly on industry analysts as part of the research they conduct when developing a story. According to the survey, journalists’ preferred analysts to contact as part of their reporting are those at Forrester, Gartner and IDC. The survey also revealed that journalists value interviews with analysts at specialized firms such as iSupply or Infonetics given these analysts’ technical expertise.

To access the press release on the survey results, click here, or go the bottom of this page.

The results of this survey might not come as a surprise for many. In fact, anyone who has read a media piece on tech or business will notice a quote or two from Gartner or iSupply. However, let’s see how this fact affects some key players in the investment research space:

Research providers (firms and individual analysts) that are quoted in the media:

No brainier here: being quoted in a widely-read (or not) publication positions the firm and the quoted analyst as an expert in the topic, and provides them with a visibility that no marketing campaign can attain. In many cases, the actual quote is irrelevant and what counts is the sheer appearance in the medium. McLuhan’s “The medium is the message” seems to be applicable here.

Investors seeking for research:

Why should investors care if journalists tend to prefer quoting Gartner’s analysts?

On the one hand, the media might transmit the erroneous idea that the only research available or valuable is the one provided by media-favored firms such as Gartner or Forrester. Research providers less approached by the media might also offer great value to a research mosaic but do not get the visibility their competitors are getting through their media appearances.

On the other hand, investors who already benefit from research providers not exploited by the media, benefit from journalists’ analyst preferences in the sense that the information they are receiving remains exclusive and actionable.

Integrity Research:

Part of the reason for Integrity’s own existence is candidly illustrated in the results of the survey. The investment research space is characterized by a long tail, where a few players dominate the game in terms of visibility and market share. Nevertheless, there are a large number of smaller providers that share reduced parts of theindsutry, but that offer great and exclusive research to their clients.

Integrity’s mission is to help our clients uncover those research providers that typically do not get quoted by the media, or that occupy a spot in the long tail if the research industry, but that offer tremendous value.

Press release summary of survey results

A press release summarizes the survey ‘s results: “49 per cent of US-based [participant journalists] said they typically contact Forrester or Gartner as one of their top three choices for market information; however, survey results also showed a strong media preference for contacting specialty analyst firms such as Enterprise Strategy Group, iSupply or Infonetics… One quarter of respondents said they would be more likely to contact these smaller, more focused analyst forms, while 26 percent said they do not consult with any particular analyst… In Europe, the same survey revealed similar results with two annalyst firms, Gartner and IDC, overwhelmingly being the firms of choice for media to contact…”

Other research firms mentioned by survey respondents, as go-to places for media reporting, include Enterprise Strategy Group, Freeform Dynamics, Quocirca, The 451 Group, Macarthur Stroud International, OVUM, among others.

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