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'The Art of Media Monitoring'
05 Mar 2013 : Eva Hall
Kantar currently employs 55 staff dedicated to delivering a seven day-a-week service
Media buzz - whether in print, broadcast or online - can make or break a TV show or organisation, a reality that is well understood by Kantar Media, experts in media intelligence monitoring. Dan Halliwell explains how the company has evolved since its inception in 2002, from the early days of electronically scanning press clippings to the current age of social media in which all content must now be analysed to gauge public reaction.

With offices in Dublin and Belfast, Kantar currently employs 55 staff dedicated to delivering a seven day a week service that helps keep organisations up to date with the latest in what is being said about them across all media formats. TV success stories such as Love/Hate and The X Factor have demonstrated how social media can generate online discussion and elevate a show’s popularity to a whole new level. But failure to harness the tide of public sentiment can have the opposite effect.

There are few companies that have the time or the resources to keep track of such a constant flow of data, let alone have the time to quantify and record it, which is where Kantar Media comes in. Critically acclaimed at an international level, Kantar Media counts major broadcasters, film producers and distribution companies among those who have availed of its all-encompassing monitoring services. Speaking to IFTN, Mr Halliwell discusses how media monitoring plays such a pivotal role in any company’s marketing strategy…

Q. How important is it in the current times we live in to monitor Media for a particular brand/organisation? Reputation plays a huge part in brand building and brand management and so it is critical to measure the media response to campaigns or what is being reported. With the rise of social media, increasingly word of mouth, reviews and general buzz around a brand are incredibly powerful channels. Companies now have the ability not just to monitor, but dissect and manage or coordinate that buzz, in some cases. That is pretty powerful.

Q. When did you realise there was a market for this, when was it exactly that you realised people needed to monitor media. Before the digital age, you collected press clippings? Media monitoring has been around for just as long as media channels have existed. Organisations have always been conscious of what is being said about them or what is going on in their industry. When we set up 11 years ago media monitoring was still quite antiquated. We used human processes teamed with new technology to bring our market into the 21st century. We delivered electronic scans of newspapers when our competitors were still posting or faxing through press cuttings. We managed to gain a large chunk of the market due to our speed and accuracy for finding relevant material for our clients. That has remained our USP and we are still quicker and more accurate than most monitoring businesses in the rest of the world. Whilst social, online and broadcast media are a significant part of our business, the newspaper market is still dominant when you consider the amount of local titles and magazines in the Irish market. So this part of our service still thrives today.

Q. Clients are taking social media monitoring just as seriously as mainstream media? I think social media monitoring is becoming increasingly important to our clients, depending on what market they are operating in and depending on where the responsibility or usefulness of social media sits within an organisation. For example, in some service industries social media is much more customer service centric and is used as a communication channel to speak to customers or deal with their complaints. In other businesses it is used as a marketing channel to promote and create buzz. For other companies they are still finding out its significance to their business, their audience and their industry. So it really depends on the sector you are in. For film and TV it’s a great channel to create momentum for a film release or inspire interaction alongside a TV programme. Reality TV is a great example of this.

Q. In terms of the work that Kantar does, what would you say the ratio of monitoring broadcast media to print media is? Print is still dominant, as there are hundreds of titles in the Irish market and as a country local press is still hugely popular, so the opportunity to get news into this channel is greater. However, broadcast is a big part of what we monitor and we cover most current affairs and news bulletins in TV and radio within our services; in both the RoI and NI regions. There is obviously a shift from publishers to an online platform, so this is increasingly becoming more and more prevalent.

Q. Are all these media outlets are aware that you’re monitoring them – do you have to disclose that before hand or how does it actually work? Media outlets are aware of the services that monitoring agencies, such as ourselves, provide and some require us to hold the relevant licenses issued via copyright bodies. Interestingly, many of these outlets use our monitoring, which is natural in any competitive industry. Companies like to keep up to date with what is being said about themselves, their competitors and the industry in general.

Q. Within the film & TV industry, are there many production companies looking to avail of Kantar’s services? We are working, or have worked, with most of the major broadcasters, film producers and distribution companies. I believe that monitoring is a key tool within their marketing process and with such competitive forces at play, it is critical to monitor what is going on in the media. We work with large and small companies, we have a service that fits most budgets.

Q. Is there a trial run option? So a production company can see results and plan out a marketing strategy in time for the release/TX date? Yes absolutely. Our team will build a service around the company’s requirements, they can even draw on our own data to help establish what services may be useful in a campaign. The free trial is for two weeks and this will give the company a very good idea if it is going to be of value to them.

Q. How could an independent production company, with a low budget, benefit from Kantar Media? Our monitoring services start from as little as €99 a month. We can help production companies establish what is being said about a production or release and we can also track any number of subjects that may help with their research or even establish opportunities to help promote their work in a cost effective way.

Q. Talk us through a recent case study relating to the film & TV industry… I certainly think that media monitoring is pertinent to many aspects of the TV and Film industry. Providing evidence of a strong media interest in a production or film can be very useful when trying to create opportunities for it over the long term. If you take a look at the phenomenal success of something like Love/Hate – there is an incredible buzz around this series and this got stronger and stronger as time went on. Social media would have played a big part in this as well as strong reportage across all the media channels. This creates an audience in itself and quantifying this to other potential broadcasters can certainly help in its success. Other examples like Xfactor and many of the reality TV shows thrive on social media and PR activity to promote themselves and actively promote campaigns in the media and online to gain share of voice. Tracking this is a critical part of the process.

Q. (Discussing ‘Love/Hate’) - Is the US a market that you cover? Absolutely, we are able to cover pretty much all mature media markets across the world. We have clients within Kantar Media that monitor hundreds of countries. That is another thing that stands us apart from our local competition, our network and scope of coverage is the biggest in the market.

Kantar Media is the Official Media Monitoring Partner of the Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA)


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