Financial Industry News Monopolizes Cision s Q3 Corporate Media Reputation Index

But tech companies Microsoft and Apple rise above negative economic news environment to capture top spots for second straight quarter

CHICAGO, IL, October 29, 2008   The massive upheaval in the financial markets in the third quarter resulted in a 472 percent year-over-year increase in financial industry news that dominated the Q3 Cision Index, a quarterly assessment of how news coverage reflects and helps to shape the corporate reputation of the 100 largest U.S. companies. But in spite of the corresponding across-the-board decrease in coverage of non-financial industries, technology-related companies Microsoft and Apple landed in the top two slots for the second straight quarter.

Financial news overwhelmed the Cision Index in an unprecedented way. In the third quarter of 2008, the percentage of financial company news comprised 46 percent of the Index, up 32 percentage points from the same quarter last year. No industry has ever dominated the Cision Index to this extent.

“We haven t seen any business story such as the financial crisis overshadow the news to such extent in recent memory,” said Joe Bernardo, President and CEO of Cision North America. “With many non-financial companies finding it more difficult to communicate with their stakeholders, creativity in thinking and strategy is necessary in order for them to effectively communicate key messages to target audiences. 

Almost every major industry group saw its Index coverage percentage drop in the third quarter of 2008 when compared to the third quarter of 2007. The IT industry s volume of coverage dropped to 10 percent from 14 percent last year, making the performance of the technology-related companies in the top 10 even more impressive. Both telecom and news and entertainment companies  share of coverage decreased from 8 percent to 3 percent. Also, despite the major issues facing the auto industry, its volume decreased from 15 percent to 9 percent. Finally, consumer products coverage decreased from 5 percent to 2 percent.

Despite the doom and gloom on Wall Street, several companies were able to take advantage of their relatively strong financial positions to improve their standing in the Index. Bank of America, with a significant turnaround in media perception, landed in fourth place, climbing 72 places. Other financial companies gaining were Goldman Sachs, climbing 30 slots to number 17 and Wells Fargo, climbing 51 slots to number 26.

Microsoft remained number one with favorable product news and increased quarterly earnings, despite slightly missing Wall Street expectations. Number 2 Apple benefitted from strong sales of its new iPhone and was able to shake off a forecast of weaker earnings. Technology titan Intel held down the third spot, reporting a 25 percent jump in quarterly profits while pushing forward with its strategy to diversify beyond the computer market.

Making its top ten debut at number eight was Best Buy, which was bolstered by its announcement that it would become the first independent retailer to offer Apple’s iPhone. The other retailer in the top ten, Wal-Mart, slipped two spots to number 5.

Rounding out the top ten are Verizon at number 6, Hewlett-Packard (7), Motorola (9) and Exxon Mobil (10). Motorola had the largest gain on the Index, climbing 73 slots. In addition to Motorola and Bank of America, other big gainers in the third quarter were Dow Chemical, General Electric and Pfizer, all up 68 positions; Altria up 47, FedEx up 38 and Cardinal Health up 31.

Methodology of the Cision Index   U.S. Edition

Cision’s Corporate Media Reputation Index includes analysis of news items to rank the media reputations of the largest 100 U.S. companies. Cision gathers news from America’s most prominent national dailies, and top business and news magazines, ranging from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to Fortune and Forbes. Each company is assigned a score based on the number of positive and negative reputation-driving attributes found in each story. These attributes are classified into five dimensions: stakeholder relations, financial management, products and services, organizational integrity and organizational strength.

About Cision:
Cision is a leading global media intelligence company, serving the complete workflow of today s communications, social media and content marketing professionals. Offering the industry s most comprehensive PR and social software, rich analytics and a Global Insights team, Cision enables clients to improve their marketing and strengthen data-driven decision making. Cision also represents the Gorkana Group, PRWeb, Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and iContact brands. Headquartered in Chicago, Cision has over 100,000 customers worldwide and maintains offices in Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Finland and China. For more information, visit www.cision.com or follow @Cision on Twitter.