Audio Media Impact Group launches following merger between Mediameeting and the PureVocation group, which includes France’s positive news radio station AirZen Radio.
Impact Partners, a French impact investment platform with offices across Europe, has invested €6m in Audio Media Impact Group (AMI Group), which it says is the world’s first media group to measure the social impact of its audio broadcasts.
This latest investment, which is being made through Impact Partners’ €155m Impact Growth IV fund, marks the official launch of the AMI Group which has been formed from the merger of French audio broadcaster Mediameeting and the PureVocation group, which includes French national digital radio station AirZen Radio, communications agency PureVocation Conseil and advertising agency PureVocation Régie.
All four business arms have a focus on positive communication with a social impact, with the group’s mission described as “helping French citizens and employees to live and work better”.
Mediameeting specialises in internal communications for employees and works with both private and public companies and institutions to create audio broadcasts mainly focused on improving workplace safety and wellbeing, particularly for workers in non-office settings such as industrial plants or supermarkets.
AirZen Radio, launched in 2021 in response to the need for positive news following the COVID-19 pandemic, is broadcast nationally across France and has four editorial themes: live better, consume better, act better and work better. It broadcasts 300 podcasts per week with 80% of reporting focused on positive news stories from across France as well as from abroad.
With an estimated €9m turnover in 2022 and employing 140 staff, AMI Group announced it would use the investment to double its turnover over five years and demonstrate a measurable social impact on society, including in workplace settings and among vulnerable populations.
Speaking to Impact Investor, Mathieu Cornieti, chief executive of Impact Partners, said: “The companies that have come together to form the AMI Group are very different but share the same socially-focused DNA. Audio is the most accessible medium for reaching and informing the most vulnerable in society as well as workers carrying out more physically labour-intensive work in a wide range of locations.”
AMI Group measures and manages the impact of its broadcasts using an internal tool to track social impact and audience engagement, using indicators such as the number of accidents avoided or reduction in employee sick-leave, as well as external studies to understand employees’ expectations.
Cornieti gives the example of a radio station which is currently being rolled out to 19,000 employees of a French road construction and maintenance company.
“The content has been tailored to focus on the prevention of accidents, such as those linked to working in extreme heat but also on improving well-being, including the importance of good nutrition and staying well-hydrated given the nature of the physical work in often difficult conditions,” he said.
A social impact multiplier
With its triple investment focus on social, local and green investments, Impact Partners also sees this latest investment as a springboard for raising awareness of the other companies across its portfolios.
“We invest in the entrepreneurs responding to the challenges of a just transition, focusing on climate action, reducing inequality and giving a voice to vulnerable and marginalised communities,” said Cornieti. “And we are highly interested in broadcasting the positive work they are doing.”
He gives the example of two companies, including Austrian interpreting platform SAVD, which offers video and audio interpreting services aimed at migrants and refugees living in Austria and Germany, to help them access public services such as healthcare or the justice system.
The other example is PRS, a specialist in the repair of plastic pallets for industry with operations in Spain and Mexico. The company has employed more than 100 workers, including migrants and former prisoners, and trained them as plastic welders to repair pallets and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill as well as CO2 emissions.
“These companies think that what they do is no big deal, but that’s not the case. The multiple and knock-on impact of their work is amazing but no media has been interested in covering these stories. AirZen is a great way to let people know that they exist,” he added.
He said he hoped that the investment in AMI Group would also raise awareness of Impact Partners’ non-investment activities, which include its business accelerator programmes for entrepreneurs from deprived urban neighbourhoods, apprenticeship programmes for young people from deprived neighbourhoods in Paris, as well training and advice offered to entrepreneurs with disabilities.