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Analyst House Restricts Use of Charts August 5, 2009

Posted by billyburnettgbc in Uncategorized.
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As PR practitioners we have seen firsthand how declining advertising revenues have affected the media landscape here in the UK.  Just last week, we learnt that Shiny Media had gone into administration, providing further proof that even companies that once led the new media digital content movement were vulnerable.

Although the steadily growing lists of publications that are victims of this downturn have been well documented, the effect on analyst houses has gone relatively unreported.  One indicator of how analysts have been affected is the constant stream of industry events e-mails that appear in my inbox on a daily basis, with many being cancelled due to lack of industry availability, aka sponsorship.

With the signs of declining revenues upon them, I was surprised to learn last week that analyst house Gartner has restricted the use of images included in their Annual Hype Cycle report for emerging technologies. The details of the restrictions can be found here, but in short the chart cannot be used without Gartner’s express permission, a condition not imposed on previous reports.

But why is this interesting? Although I respect the fact that Gartner is a commercial organisation and can’t give away all its content for free, certain flagship reports produced by the analyst firm have traditionally proven to be extremely effective in generating media coverage and general buzz around the company.  The reputation that these conversations create has no doubt resulted in part to the growth of Gartner’s client base, a major source of income for the company especially when budgets are tight and the spending of $2,000 on a report is hard to justify.

I am unsure as to why Gartner has chosen to restrict the use of the available charts to only individuals willing to go through the arduous task of getting permission, a task which will likely date your blog posting and comment compared to those that have chosen to forego the approval process.

Would it therefore, not have been simpler and more valuable for Gartner to enable casual use of the hype cycle chart, stimulating the use of the chart in blogs and other online resources to drive discussion and create conversations about these reports?  Most blogs and sites will include hyperlinks to where people can purchase the report, or at least to the general Gartner website, driving both traffic and awareness.

What do you think?  Is this a reaction to current market challenges and if so, is it the right one?  Responses on a postcode and the best will be read out in front of the class.