Denmark’s UNSILO Working With BMJ; France’s Vivendi Approved To Buy Editis

In News by Porter Anderson

The winner of the Frankfurter Buchmesse’s international wildcard stand in October, UNSILO, announces a partnership with journal publisher BMJ, while Vivendi is approved to close its acquisition of Editis in France.

Image – iStockphoto: Pinkomelet

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘A Largely Automated Process’
Readers of Publishing Perspectives will remember that the Danish AI-based publishing platform UNSILO was the winner of last year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse international wildcard competition.

Over the weekend, the Aarhus-based company (which has offices in the UK) announced that it has a new agreement with London’s BMJ, the health-care journal publisher.

According to UNSILO’s messaging, its program for BMJ will use its branded user-interface tool called Classify to extract articles for each of the BMJ journal sites and automate updates. UNSILO combines unsupervised machine learning with configurable human curation. In-house staffers adjust the level of automation they want.

In the future, UNSILO and BMJ reportedly expect to explore more ways AI can automate manual processes and study decision making.

In a prepared statement, UNSILO CEO Thomas Laursen is quoted, saying, “UNSILO has been very successful in identifying solutions to workflow challenges in scholarly publishing. BMJ will use UNSILO’s concept extraction to solve this specific publishing challenge. We look forward to building more tools and working with a very talented in-house team.”

And for BMJ, journals publisher Janet O’Flaherty is quoted, saying, “BMJ publishes more than 70 journals, and it’s a challenge for our editors to create collections of recent articles by hand for each of our journal sites.

“Using UNSILO, we can update each of these journal home pages more frequently using a largely automated process. We look forward to using UNSILO to improve our processes as we gain more familiarity with this new technology.”

UNSILO’s tools are designed to make improvements in workflow by reducing processing time, while upping quality and accuracy. The UNSILO “document enrichment”  service forms the basis of more than 20 separate functional solutions and APIs for publishers, including identifying trending topics, automating collections, locating precise relatedness, and manuscript evaluation.

UNSILO works with companies including Springer Nature and Taylor and Francis on internal publishing processes and external discoverability.

France’s Vivendi Cleared To Buy Editis

France’s business competition authority has authorized the acquisition of the Editis publishing group by the media corporation Vivendi, determining that the buy “will not have the effect of reducing competition” in either literary or visual-media sectors of the market, according to Alexandré Deboute writing at Le Figaro.

That and other reports cite the deal as being valued at €900 million (US$1.03 billion) and public information has it that in 2017, Editis produced some €750 million in revenue (US$858 million), with a profit of around €60 million (US$69 million).

Editis has been owned by Spain’s Grupo Planeta since 2008. As Michael Cader wrote in August of last year, Editis—France’s second-largest publishing concern (behind Lagardère’s Hachette Livre)—”was owned by a different incarnation of Vivendi, Vivendi Universal Publishing, which also used to own Houghton Mifflin.” Hachette Livre, Cader wrote, “bought and retained 40 percent of the European Editis empire in 2004; the remainder was sold to Wendel Investments, which sold Editis to Planeta in 2008.”

When it announced its talks with Grupo Planeta to attain 100 percent of Editis, the rationale for the acquisition was described by Vivendi as being “another major step in building an integrated media, content, and communications group.

“The proximity of the businesses of the two groups,” the statement went on, “their common culture focused on creativity and the importance of their know-how in talent management would be all elements that would facilitate Editis’ integration. As part of Vivendi, Editis would benefit from a unique ecosystem to attract and retain the best talent and to enrich the Group’s content portfolio. Educational publishing would also allow Vivendi to have a better understanding of the younger generations.”

Bestselling authors published by Editis include Marc Levy, Raphaelle Giordano, and Michel Bussi, and the group includes publishing houses Nathan, Robert Laffont, and Plon.

Vivendi adds the Editis group to its portfolio of operations in television, film, video games, and music.

More from Publishing Perspectives’ series of Industry Notes is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.