News & Events

PDLN Berlin focused on DSM implementation opportunities 

Over 60 PDLN members and guests were at the PDLN Berlin conference, which focused on implications of the new DSM  directive on media monitoring. The directive is new and the many opportunities it creates are still being explored. The conference helped licensing bodies and MMOs digest and plan next steps. PMG were thanked for providing a fabulous venue, agenda, and speaker line up.

PDLN Vice president Ruediger Baumberger, PDLN President Sandra Chastanet, and PMG MD Ingo Kastner

Are Snippets Valuable?

28 word extracts are all the rage. Some from the PDLN Conference;-

·         OSDEL (Greece) now has 1200 corporate licences in place
·         DALRO (South Africa) is seriously threatened by planned copyright law changes·        
·         Robert Nespeca is the new head of Swissdox, and expert in computational linguistics
·         CEDRO report that Spanish copyright law has clarified that corporate copying needs a licence
·         PMG (Germany) have developed a new schools licence
·         CFC (France) have deployed their Bots blocker on 35 publisher sites, and licensed 10 scrapers
·         NLA (UK) have created a cheaper licence for public use of articles by smaller corporates
·         NLI (Ireland) are seeing good growth, especially from archive rights
·         Copyright Australia report local regulators are looking at ways to ensure journalism is funded
·         Infomedia are benefitting from accelerating paywall take up in the Nordics
·         APA (Austria) report automated speech to text conversion is delivering good value
·         CLA (UK) are developing changes to their web licences

Who says snippets aren’t valuable???

WPP shortlists final bidders for Kantar

Reuters reports that WPP has shortlisted a series of U.S. buyout funds to submit binding bids for a majority stake in its data analytics unit Kantar as it wants to finalise the sale in late June. Four private equity firms are in the running and it is expected to be finalised towards the end of June.

Kantar generates about 15% of WPP’s overall sales and provides brand and marketing communications research for some of the world’s largest advertisers. The business is valued at about 3.5 billion pounds, representing a multiple of seven to nine times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $550 million, two of the sources said.

Some investors have expressed concern over Kantar’s business model which is being challenged by disruptive digital technologies. The unit’s underlying sales slipped 2 percent last year to 2.6 billion pounds with operating profits down 14 percent to 301 million.

Kantar’s media monitoring businesses are market leaders in UK, France, Spain and Germany.

Evaluating the Challenge

Francois Gabai, CFC, describing the French approach

The PDLN media evaluation seminar in Brussels on 26th March saw presentations from Infomedia, PMG, CFC and Belga, with ad hoc contributions from NLA, CLA, CEDRO, NLI, and APA. Dutch financial daily HFD joined as a guest. While all organisations are different, the common theme was accommodating user and publisher expectations on rights and revenue as evaluation services slowly absorb more of clients attention and budget.

The fact that the EU Parliament approved the DSM legislation at the same time as the seminar was highly relevant. In broad terms this says the availability of a licence and publishers clear statement of the fact they require one will together assert the publishers’ rights to require agreement before data is used. So any uncertainty over whether the rights to create evaluation derivatives by using text and data mining rights are being resolved by the directive in publishers favour. Now is the time to create a specific mining and evaluation licence. 

Infomedia – closer to an MMO than most PDLN members – started the session with a thoughtful presentation of how the changing service requirement drives changes in their publisher royalty model. Belga in particular see offering a text and data mining right as a way of broadening licence rights to create additional value, especially for ‘self service’clients – those not using an MMO- and for MMOs who are mostly on flat rate deals  Paywall content is also extremely helpful in these negotiations. CFC are using data mining- initially of web content – as a basis for moving towards flat rate per client agreements with MMOs. 

PMG see evaluation as a task of market education, with long lead times and limited client understanding of how to approach the DIY challenge in media analysis. The market is conservative, but growing. Both PMG and Infomedia confirmed the challenges of royalty attribution in a fixed price model. PMG use usage data, as do Infomedia, but as services develop the value of usage data will likely decline.

Positioning licensing initiatives in this area in the wider context of current or expected clippings volume falls was an issue for most. NLA and CLA recognise that simply identifying and defining the rights offered is missing from their current offerings. Like many other licensing bodies they want to ensure publishers benefit from the additional value extracted by new evaluation services.



Ingo Kästner appointed as Managing Director of PMG Presse-Monitor  

PMG have announced some immediate management changes; Ingo Kästner has replaced Dr. Oliver Graßy. Ingo Kästner (52) joined the company in 2011 as Commercial Director.

"We would like to thank Oliver Graßy for the very successful service in which he set important milestones for PMG. His dedication and know-how helped PMG expand in a forward-looking manner and played a decisive role in shaping the company's success. Under his leadership, PMG was able to significantly strengthen its position in the market. We wish Dr. Graßy all the best for the future", said the chairmen of the PMG, Andreas Gericke (Süddeutsche Zeitung) and Franz-Josef Gasterich (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) in a joint statement.

"We are delighted that Ingo Kästner, a very experienced manager and a long-standing PMG executive is taking over the management of the company. A proven expert will continue to be responsible for the successful PMG products. With him, the company will continue to expand its core business and open up new markets," Gericke and Gasterich added.

Oliver Graßy has also stepped down from his role as Vice President of PDLN. The PDLN members and board thank Oliver for his support and leadership and wish him all the best. We look forward to working with Ingo Kästner, who will host the PDLN Berlin conference in May.

Copyright Wars – Portugal

The battle to establish licensing in Portugal entered a new phase last week with court hearings between PDLN member Visapress and Cision Portugal, who object to the Visapress licence, despite its acceptance by most other MMOs. The argument is already 9 years old. Visapress are seeking a licence based on a 4.5% share of MMO turnover plus an end user licence. Cision – who have more than half the local market - argue the share is unfair and does not take into account their wider services. The case was heard before a smart lady judge and her ruling is expected in the summer.

Carlos Eugenio, MD Visapress, said “ I am confident that our case is strong and the court hearing was positive. The PDLN Survey data was useful in showing their fees are fair, and we thank fellow members for that. The recent progress on the EC DSM Directive provides a positive backdrop”.

The local MMOs licensed by Visapress are paying copyright fees and are understandably keen to see a level playing field, and an end to the uncertainty that results when a major player rejects licensing.  


DSM expert confirmed for PDLN Berlin

PMG have confirmed a 6th guest speaker for the Berlin conference. Dr. Ole Jani is an outstanding specialist for the EU neighbouring rights. He specializes in consulting companies and associations of the digital economy. He has particular expertise in the development of new business models in the digital media. His practice focuses on copyright law and the collective management of rights by collecting societies, as well as legal issues relating to e-commerce. Ole Jani is highly experienced in advising on IT and IP law in connection with M&A transactions and in advising start-ups and their investors on IT and IP law. Due to his many years of experience as a consultant in the German Parliament, he is particularly familiar with legislation in the field of copyright on a national and European level. He is also co-author of many standard works on copyright. See:


Dr. Dirk Lüth - Lead Mentor, (Blockchain) will be presenting at PDLN Berlin 2019

Speakers for the Berlin conference May 26-28th include;-

1. Axel Springer - Dr. von Klaeden will focus on digital business models at Axel Springer SE and also on their role in the US News Media Alliance. Axel Springer is the largest digital publishing house in Europe, with numerous multimedia news brands, such as Bild, Die Welt and Fakt. In the U.S. it is best-know for Business Insider, one of the most popular and well-respected business news websites.

2. DPA - the German national news agency. Klaus-Peter Frahm is Head of Innovation Management. His role and presentation will focus on innovation of media products at dpa and news aktuell and innovative business models for the media industry.

3. Dr. Dirk Lüth - Lead Mentor, (Blockchain) Entrepreneur - lives and works in Silicon Valley and he will give us an insight into the innovation centre of the world and how local investors regard the media landscape. He will also focus on blockchain technology and its future impact on DLOs.

4. We have already confirmed Andreas Westermann, CEO of leading German MMO Argus, who will address MMO development and consumers needs.

Full conference details and booking forms are on the website 


German Courts Rule Digital Copying by MMOs Must Be Licensed

Berlin courts ruled on 18th December that MMOs need permission for a mastercopy (as opposed to one copy per client) digital processing of press content and have rejected Kantar Germany’s counterclaim that publisher owned PMG is abusing market power.

The case follows MMOs resistance to PMGs introduction of a licence covering digital production. In Germany MMOs use press content from online, epaper or scanned print editions for their production of press reviews in competition with PMGs direct client service Presse Monitor. Individual copying of an article for a specific client has been replaced by the use of one master copy for a multitude of clients. These master copies are held within searchable databases from which a range of additional services can be created. That process and whether a licence is required for mass digitisation was the central point of the case.  The ruling suggests that German MMOs will require permission (a licence) from individual publishers  or PMG as a one-stop-shop. This could have significant financial impact on service fees.

Kantar were ordered to pay PMGs costs in this action. They have until early February to decide whether to appeal the ruling.


Cision buy Trendkite


Cision have continued their acquisition roadmap with the purchase of Meltwater spin off Trendkite for $225m. This deal - announced 23rd January - is the twelth purchase since the Cision - Vocus restructure. Whether they will - or need to - integrate the resulting rather diverse portfolio before they float or sell the main company remains to be seen.  

EU DSM discussions logjammed

The final trilogue on the DSM Directive was delayed on Monday 21st January. It was called off on Friday evening by the Romanian presidency, after an almost 10-hour meeting of EU ambassadors. According to reports, a group of countries big enough to form a blocking minority (including Germany, Poland, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary and the Netherlands) said the meeting should not go ahead because they could not approve the updated mandate, after MS representatives clashed over “whether SMEs should be subject to the filters, whether platforms should be liable for their users and how “snippets” should be defined.”


A chic Berlin hotel that's making quite a splash. PDLN conference 2019

Hidden down a quiet street in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district you'll find a chic hotel that's making quite a splash – just be sure to keep an eye out or you might walk straight past it.

Hotel Oderberger is housed within an imposing brick building (with a very discreet sign) that for almost a century served as a public bathhouse. Closed in 1986, it underwent a four-year renovation that kicked off in 2012 before reopening as a hotel in January 2016. Original features have been carefully restored, and private bathing rooms have now been turned into guestrooms.

Whether we make it more or less chic is for others to judge, but the 2019 PDLN conference will be held at the Hotel Oderberger, in Berlin May 26-28. The  conference website contains further details. 


Australian Competition Regulator Fires Warning Shots at Google

A draft report from Australia’s competition regulator (ACCC) into the market power of digital search engines, social media platforms, and digital content aggregators has been published.

The ACCC makes a number of policy recommendations including strengthen our merger laws, preventing mobile operators installing default search settings (e.g. for Google), setting up a new regulatory authority to monitor, investigate and report on the behaviour of such entities (with over $100 million turn over in revenue).

“The regulatory authority could have the power to investigate complaints, initiate its own investigations, make referrals to other government agencies and to publish reports and make recommendations.”

The ACCC finds that Google has a substantial degree of market power in a number of markets including the -on-line search market (94% of searches in Australia are through Google), the supply of on-line search advertising and the supply of news media and referral services.  They also find Facebook has a substantial degree of market power in the market for social media services, display advertising and the supply of news referral services.

The ACCC also says  that they both act like media companies (compiling content etc.) but are not subject to traditional media regulation (which does impose costs, such as Australian content quotas, on news media  organisations).


Barcelona sunshine - web licensing seminar  

Bob Johns, NLA, talking on paywall solutions

CEDRO and Catalunya laid on a late autumn treat in late November with a well attended seminar on web licensing and some stunning weather. Many PDLN European members are preparing for the new EU DSM directive which will potentially create new licensing roles between platforms and publishers. The steady growth of B2B web content use is also encouraging the development of MMO web licensing solutions. At the seminar CFC presented an update on their novel website protection techmology which is now being deployed to support licensing of web scrapers. PMG provided an update on the German licensing roll out, and NLA talked throuh learnings from the Meltwater case that might be applied in other countries, and how it addresses the content access issues arising from growing use of paywalls. CEDRO had good news to share on local developments, especially new revisions to Spanish law which will support MMO and end user licensing.     

PDLN are now planning a seminar on licensing and media evaluation. The likely date is late February, in Portugal. Please register interest and suggestions to 


New Zealand - UK Partnership Announced 

NLA licensees will now be able to copy most New Zealand newspapers under the terms of their NLA licences, following an agreement reached between NLA media access and PMCA, New Zealand’s newspaper licensing agency. NLA and PMCA are PDLN members, making this one of many licensing advances PDLN has helped create.

This new agreement further simplifies licensing of international content, and builds on the growing range of agreements NLA has reached with its peers abroad. NLA users can now copy content from over 20 major countries using their UK NLA agreement. 

The agreement is reciprocal, and allows PMCA licensees to use UK content. This covers print and web content, and includes rights for media monitoring companies as well as businesses and PR users.

NLA and PMCA are focused on making copyright compliance easy. They know that international content is increasingly important to businesses. Andrew Hughes of NLA said ""We will continue to work to make it easier for UK plc to access and use international news, and to support use of UK content in other territories ".  


Copyright Agency takes on Universities Australia

PDLN member the Copyright Agency has lodged an action in the Copyright Tribunal to determine the value of the copyright licence Australian universities rely on to copy and share extensive amounts of educational content. The action comes after a breakdown in commercial discussions with Universities Australia (UA), for a new licensing agreement, beginning in 2019. UA represents 39 Australian universities in these discussions.

The action follows significant disputes between licensing bodies and universities in Canada, New Zealand and recent developments in a long running US case between CCC and Georgia State University. In each case licensing organisations have made progress against determined resistance from the academic sector.

The Copyright Agency’s licence covers copyright material that is a core input into teaching at Australia’s 39 universities. It covers more than 10 million pages (digital and hard copy) annually – for the sector’s 1.4 million students, 60,000 academics and 70,000 professional staff.

The annual cost of the university licence is currently $32.5m, or 9 cents per student per day. The fee has been decreasing in real terms, given inflation, the rapid growth in student numbers and the fact there has been a huge increase in the digital platforms available for copying and sharing material.The current copyright fee represents 0.11% of total universities expenditure of $28.6 billion (in 2016).

Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling says, “The explosion of digital content has radically changed the way universities provide educational content to students. The educational statutory licence, which Copyright Agency administers, provides access to an enormous amount of material, including material that is printed, digitally stored and communicated to students across multiple digital platforms.

“Licence fees support the Australian educational publishing industry to continue to produce high-quality educational material. Not paying a fair rate undermines the ability of publishers, authors and artists to invest, innovate and develop more Australian content".

Copyright Agency is also in dispute with local MMOs and the NSW state government.

Canadian Exclusives worry market

Following Cision's acquisition of French language specialist aggregator CEDROM and Meltwater's purchase of its competitor Informart, Cision have signed an excusive agreement with Globe and Mail. Smaller MMOs are anxious that - as in some Nordic countries - users will face issues getting comprehensive coverage.

Cordoba ruling welcomed

A welcome new  judgement ECJ on the Cordoba case makes the rules on whether the audience is a 'new public' simple and clear. In short you need the copyright owners consent in all cases. They say "the posting of a work protected by copyright on one website, other than that on which the initial communication was made with the consent of the copyright holder,…must be treated as making such a work available to a new public". See . The rules around using links have also been getting clearer - they not allowed for profit. There is an even simpler rule. If you copy or link for commercial gain, get a licence.


About PDLN

PDLN aims to protect and promote the interest of publishers in media monitoring services. Its members seek to encourage the development of simple, efficient market solutions to the supply and use of press information internationally. PDLN works to share best practice in licensing and supply and to create forums for content owners and users to come together to solve the challenges of improving these services. The Press Database and Licensing Network (PDLN) is an association representing organisations owned or controlled by publishers who license or supply newspaper, magazine and website material for media monitoring, press cutting and press review services. PDLN was founded in 2008 and has grown rapidly. PDLN has 27 members in 23 countries.