Monitoring SA, one of South Africa’s top media monitoring companies, has gone into liquidation.
The company, which offered a wide range of services from electronic and print media monitoring to transcriptions as well as detailed media analysis, will be formally wound up on May 11. This was confirmed by one of the liquidators, Mr Riaan van Rooyen of Investrust Insolvency Practitioners in Pretoria.
“The final order will be granted on the 11th May 2011 after which the Master will appoint us as liquidators herein,” he told TheMediaOnline. “The company closed down and we are not sure how many clients were lost at this stage.”
News of Monitoring SA’s demise first came to light in the middle of March when a flurry of emails elicited some panic among the company’s clients who relied on them for daily press cuttings and analysis. At that stage, Monitoring SA sent a mail to its clients telling them it had applied for voluntary liquidation, but assuring them it would continue to provide the best service it could.
The email read: “Please note that MSA will continue to deliver services to the best of our ability, while we are experiencing a backlog with a shortage of staff in this difficult time. The goal is to continue to deliver services until the appointment of a liquidator while a permanent alternative solution is sought.”
At that stage, the acting financial manager of MSA, Mr KP Steenkamp, told TheMediaOnline he could not confirm exactly how many clients were affected, nor explain the reasons behind the company’s closure, saying it would be up to the liquidators to share that information.
A mere two days after Steenkamp sent the email to MSA’s clients, it appeared that MSA could not honour its promise to supply monitoring services. Market IQ, one of the companies affected by the MSA shutdown, told clients it was “shocked” by the news.
“…as a back up plan, Market IQ is speaking to other service providers in the market to try and find a suitable replacement for the print and broadcast services which we have been providing to our clients. This is a lengthy process, but we are hoping to provide you with feedback within the next few days.
“On a personal note, Market IQ is just as shocked about this announcement as you must be, but we encourage you not to panic – we will try our best to continue providing you with print & broadcast media monitoring (be it via Monitoring SA or another party),” it told clients in an email.
The National Consumer Forum (NCF), another client, wrote on its website that “The NCF has recently been informed that Monitoring SA, the company that monitors and stores all our media appearances, has just gone into liquidation – taking with it access to all our clippings and recordings in the newspapers, on radio and on TV. We hope that the new owners of this valuable resource will be able to restore it, so that it is once again available to consumers everywhere.”
TheMediaOnline asked Van Rooyen what he thought would happen to clients’ materials, as outlined by the NFC. He was unable to shed light on the matter, saying “we can’t confirm nor deny that the company, or the purchaser of the data will regain the clients. We are three liquidators at this stage and we paid the staff up to the 15th March 2011, the date of liquidation. “