TV clipping / monitoring service VMS shuts down

Long-time TV clipping and monitoring service, VMS (video monitoring service) announced on Friday that they’ve shutdown their service as they file for bankruptcy (chapter 7, evidently). While their website is no longer working, the note on their site yesterday (Sunday Aug 28, 2011) read as follows:

The VMS Board with the input of qualified professionals have elected to close VMS.

Unfortunately almost all VMS personnel have been terminated effective today.

The decision has been made after exhaustively evaluating many different options and with sadness for our loyal staff and customers.

At some point in the very near future a Trustee will be appointed to liquidate VMS. We anticipate the trustee will make future communications with customers.

VMS thanks all customers for their loyal support.

My perspective, as the CEO and founder of SnapStream (a company that makes TV recording and search software used by many of the media monitoring companies out there today): As a member of the International Association of Broadcast Monitors, IABM, I had met a lot of execs from VMS over the years– but none that still worked there this past Friday. Based on conversations I had with former VMS folks this morning, Friday’s conclusion started with a big round of layoffs over a year ago. And since then, VMS had been trying to both cut costs and become profitable and they had been simultaneously trying to sell the company. VMS was one of the oldest companies in the TV monitoring and clipping business and as such, their cost structure was a lot higher than some of the companies that entered the market after them like Critical Mention and TV Eyes. I don’t think VMS ever adapted to this new market reality– for example, they still had 200 people in Kentucky that were manually reviewing lots of daily TV recordings and creating improved transcripts for them. Meanwhile, I think the market had moved on to “good enough” and cheaper services. Also, there were new options for recording and searching television (ie our product, SnapStream) that also ate into their customer base.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that SnapStream provides an alternative for folks who want to put their finger on the pulse of television… so if your organization gets mentioned on television a lot, SnapStream might be the right fit for you. Contact us if you think we might be a fit.

More information on VMS’s shutdown here on the O’Dwyer’s blog. I’ll continue to post updates as I hear about them.

Also, here’s a search on twitter for mentions of “VMS” (warning, a lot of “false positives” in the search results… While it probably wasn’t their biggest problem, VMS also had a search engine optimization (SEO) problem that went straight back to their name. ‘VMS’ or even ‘video monitoring service’ is about as non-unique of a name as they come!)