Although 16% of Americans now say watching television is their favorite way to spend an evening, down from 48% in 1966, according to Gallup, television remains a major news source. When asked where they get the news, 53% of the global respondents named television as one of their go-to sources, according to a Neilson survey of more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries last year.
More Americans named television news as the most helpful source to learn about the 2016 presidential election, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Out the 3,760 adults polled, 24% said cable news was most helpful. Social media and local TV tied at second with 14% each. With both network and local TV news now available on cell phones and tablets though mobile apps, television viewing has become a mobile activity with near-instant accessibility.
An Essential Strategy
Clearly, companies, government agencies and major nonprofit organizations cannot ignore TV when developing PR pitching and placement strategies – and when doing media monitoring and measurement.
Yet many organizations don’t monitor television news or don’t strategically monitor the news to drive actionable business outcomes. It’s now considered essential for major companies, government agencies and not-for-profits to include broadcast monitoring in an integrated media monitoring program to monitor the organization’s brand names and products, competitors and industry issues. Local organizations will usually be notified when they appear on TV news and can usually avoid the cost of an on-going broadcast monitoring subscription.
TV Monitoring Services
In the United States, broadcast monitoring services search the closed-caption text, originally intended for the hearing impaired, from all network news broadcasts, cable news programs and talk shows, and local TV news broadcasts for each client’s keywords. The services deliver the closed-caption text and/or a preview video of any news segments containing the keywords. The services also save the clips in an online archive, often with in-depth media measurement features.
In other countries, media monitoring services use speech to text software to create a transcript of news programs, and then search the transcript for clients’ keywords. Speech-to-text software is also used to monitor radio news. In general, speech to text software is less accurate than closed caption. Neither is perfect. Closed caption captioning, for instance, isn’t included for some live remotes by on-the-scene reporters. Speech-to-text software (and closed caption too) often misspells corporate and brand names. Most TV news monitoring services require clients to subscribe to a service that includes preview video of each found media mention.
A few services such as Glean.info offer clients the option of receiving only the closed-caption text at lower cost. In most cases, the text excerpt of the broadcast is all that’s needed for monitoring and measurement purposes. For most clients, the closed-caption monitoring is part of a fully integrated media monitoring and measurement service that also includes print, online news, and social media.
Clients should be aware of the potential legal ramifications of downloading and sharing video files from their media monitoring service.
Due to a recent legal decision, clients cannot download video clips without permission of the broadcast company that owns the copyright. Fox News recently won a court case against TVEyes, a company that creates a text-searchable database of broadcast content television and radio stations. A federal judge in New York ruled that TVEyes could continue to stream Fox News clips to subscribers, but could no longer allow people to download clips to their own computers.
The order also directed the monitoring service to block people from sharing clips on social media services and to prohibit subscribers from emailing clips to more than five recipients at other organizations. In addition, the court injunction ordered TVEyes to block clips from playing on social media networks.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will review the case this year. What ever your feelings about Fox and copyright and fair use issues, the case is one to watch in 2016, says Law360.
Strategies for Broadcast Monitoring
These are some important techniques for monitoring television news.
Check the text first. For a more cost-effective solution, employ a media monitoring service that permits clients to subscribe to only the closed-caption text of broadcast news or one that will do customized keyword searches after broadcast. In most cases, clients can then opt to see a preview video of only the most important clips that the monitoring service has identified.
Focus on specific keywords. Selecting specific keywords terms is critical to locate relevant videos. Concentrating on specific high-priority searches, such as a brand initiative, is more effective and affordable that attempting to monitor every brand mention. It’s important to include spelling variations, and common misspellings of the company, brand, and high-level executives. It’s often beneficial to use Boolean search queries for companies, brands or executives with common names such as “Adele” AND (song OR singer OR Top 50 OR album).
Integrate with social media. TV networks and local stations now promote their programs and engage with their audience on social media where viewers share and discuss TV news stories. Because of that noteworthy trend, it’s essential to use a media monitoring service that integrates TV and social media data. If all media mentions are under a single umbrella, online reputation management and media measurement is much more comprehensive, accurate and convenient.
Monitor both networks and websites. While many news organizations put some of their newscasts on their websites or on YouTube, not all stories from the live broadcast are posted and stories are often not posted in their entirety.
Bottom Line: Despite the rise of online news, it remains vital for large organizations to monitor television news. Even today, television remains the most popular source for news. That means it’s essential to integrate TV news monitoring into a comprehensive media monitoring program.
William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, media measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.