Microsoft Media Reputation Leads Among 100 Largest U.S. Companies for Fourth Straight Year



    Cision's annual Corporate Media Reputation Index of U.S. companies also
    highlights refurbished image for U.S. auto industry as financial services
    decline

    CHICAGO, Jan. 28 /CNW/ -- Microsoft maintained its position as king of
the corporate media reputation hill in 2007, once again leading the Cision
Index -- formerly known as the Delahaye Index -- of the 100 largest
corporations in the U.S. At the same time, the 2007 analysis revealed a
surprising turnaround in the media portrayal of the struggling U.S. auto
industry.
    
    (Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070405/NYTH008LOGO )
    
    The assessment of how news coverage reflects and helps shape corporate
reputations of the 100 largest corporations in the U.S. is compiled quarterly
by Cision (www.us.cision.com), a provider of business and communications
intelligence for public relations and marketing professionals.
    "Microsoft has been the overall strongest Index company since 2001, and
in its worst showing it only dropped to the second position," said Joe
Bernardo, President and CEO of Cision North America. Microsoft Corp. has been
first in the U.S. Index rankings for four straight years and six of the last
seven. In 2007, the world's largest software company generated positive
financial results and received favorable attention for its product and service
announcements, new business partnerships and acquisitions.
    "In 2007, critical acclaim and strong sales of the Halo 3 game for
Microsoft X-Box console got the company high marks from the media as Microsoft
looked to replicate its desktop and enterprise software success in its
entertainment business," said Wayne Bullock, Sr. Vice President, Analysis
Services, of Cision.
    
    Stark Depiction of Auto Industry Reversed in 2007
    
    Perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2007 Index is the turnaround made by
U.S. automakers Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corp. In spite of an
ongoing struggle to cope with profitability challenges and loss of U.S. market
share, GM soared to second place of the top 100 U.S. corporations, moving up
70 spots, while Ford climbed 86 spots to number 12. Auto industry supplier
Delphi Corporation also gained ground, moving up 34 to number 65 on the list.
    "One year after dropping precipitously in the top 100, GM and Ford did an
outstanding job conveying their turn-around strategies and facing difficult
challenges head-on," said Bullock.
    Both Ford and GM benefited from profitable second quarters, as well as
reaching contract agreements with the United Auto Workers (UAW). GM also swept
the 2007 North American Car and Truck of the Year awards at the North American
International Auto Show. Ford generated positive visibility with the
introduction of fuel efficient vehicles, and Delphi benefited from its new
refinancing plan, as well as its UAW agreement and settlement of class action
lawsuits.
    
    Standings Sink in Financial Services; Decline in the Home Improvement
    Industry
    
    On the down side, some of the biggest decliners were from the financial
services industry. This was especially evident in the fourth quarter when
Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corporation, Merrill Lynch & Co. and Wachovia
Corporation all dropped from the top half to the bottom of the Index. For the
year, home improvement companies The Home Depot, Inc. and Lowe's Companies,
Inc. both fell, 32 and 34 places respectively.
    "Media coverage of financial services companies was dogged by issues such
as the subprime mortgage crisis and the weakening economy, heading into what
could be a tough 2008," Bullock said. "And home improvement companies also
suffered from unfavorable financial stories that affected their rankings due
to the ongoing housing slump."
    
    Other Industries See Gains
    
    For the first time in Index history, two telecommunications companies,
AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., made the top ten. Buoyed by
increased media coverage of its partnership with Apple Inc. as the sole
service provider for the iPhone, AT&T advanced 33 places to capture the number
three spot. Verizon finished in the top ten for the fourth straight year,
advancing three places from 2006, to number five.
    Other big movers on the Index were Merck & Co., Inc., up 70 places on the
list to number 24, The Kroger Co., up 41 to number 25, Tyson Foods, Inc., up
35 to number 61, and The Procter & Gamble Company, up 32 to 27th place on the
list.
    Two companies entered the top 10 for the first time in 2007, with Cisco
Systems, Inc. in ninth place and News Corp. in 10th. Cisco reported strong
revenues and profits, announced plans to expand into China and acquired an
online meeting company, furthering its push into business communications. News
Corp.'s takeover of Dow Jones & Company, Inc. received coverage during three
quarters. The company also started the Fox Business Channel and its MySpace
subsidiary entered the Chinese market.

    2007 Year-End Cision Index - U.S. Edition: Top 10 Companies

    
    1.  Microsoft
    2.  General Motors
    3.  AT&T
    4.  Intel
    5.  Verizon
    6.  Walt Disney
    7.  Wal-Mart
    8.  Boeing
    9.  Cisco
    10. News Corp.

    Methodology of the 2007 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 AB
    
    Cision AB (www.cision.com) is a global industry leader in business and
communication intelligence. The firm provides media research, distribution,
monitoring and communication evaluation, as well as target group
identification and distribution of information for PR and IR purposes. Cision
AB has annual revenue of SEK 1.9 billion, and has around 2,700 employees in
Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Norway,
Portugal, Singapore, Sweden, Lithuania, the United Kingdom, and the United
States.




For further information:

For further information: Stephen Debruyn, Vice President, Marketing, 
Cision North America, +1-312-986-4974, stephen.debruyn@cision.com; Web Site:
http://www.us.cision.com, http://www.cision.com

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