The newest entry into the social monitoring ecosystem is Meltwater’s completely rebuilt media intelligence platform, which launched today after a $25 million development effort by this veteran collector of news clips and brand mentions for corporate-communications departments.

The new release provides the capability to scan billions of social conversations, blogs, and news stories as well as track topics, find and connect with key influencers, and benchmark brands’ performances against competitors. Dashboards offer word clouds, sentiment analysis, and geographical home bases for top influencers.

Although it also offered monitoring of different kinds of editorial and social content, “our prior platform was a collection of platforms,” chief marketing officer Valerie Fawzi told me. In this new incarnation, she said, “we’ve integrated it all into one platform.”

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A “completely redesigned UI,” she added, “is meant for our customers to live in it.” There are now also iOS and Android apps for viewing and dissemination.

Senior director of product management Jonas Oppedal told me that Meltwater’s “huge investment in data science [to] extract key elements [provides] an identification of entities instead of just keyword searches.”

The system, for instance, knows that Obama and Barack all refer to the same “entity,” even if the search is only for “Obama.”

A screen from the new Meltwater, comparing Spotify to competitors.

Above: A screen from the new Meltwater, comparing Spotify to competitors.

Image Credit: Meltwater

Meltwater traditionally has tracked journalists and their beats as a way to get out corporate messages, but the new platform, Oppedal said, is oriented toward top influencers — who could be reporters or “Mommy bloggers.”

The San Francisco-based company began in Norway in 2001 as a leading-edge clipping service, automating the process of reporting brand- or company-related news largely by tracking it online. Its approach to clipping the news (and reselling it to its customers) was aggressive enough that the AP and New York Times sued Meltwater for copyright infringement, a lawsuit that the news organizations won in 2013. Under the terms of the judgement, AP and Meltwater agreed to work together and share revenues.

When asked about the lawsuit, Meltwater noted only that it was working with the AP.

The new platform doesn’t break any major new ground in the realm of online-monitoring and management tools. But its role is to fit into the transitional territory occupied by at least some of Meltwater’s 23,000 corporate customers.

Meltwater is “living between two worlds,” Fawzi told me. “One [has] the traditional media monitoring players,” still oriented toward automated clipping. She pointed to Cision and Isentia, which, she added, “really started as paper-clipping companies.”

The other world, she said, is occupied by the Hootsuites and the dozens of other social media monitoring, analysis, and management tools out there, as standalones or as part of marketing suites.

We’re using “similar technologies” to Hootsuite, she said, but “with a deeper focus on corporate communication functions.”

Other companies often need to know about online discussions in order to deal with customer service problems, Fawzi said, while Meltwater’s customer base is more oriented toward corporate communications plans and PR workflow.