Broadcast TV media monitoring – faster, better, cheaper

Like anyone that’s been involved in the communications industry for a few years, I’ve known the frustration that is broadcast TV monitoring.

Some time after the broadcast happens you get a little snippet from a traditional media monitoring company, which indicates that a news programme mentioned a topic of interest. You then go through a process to order a transcript, or a file – which generally turns up well after the story has moved on – and at considerable expense.

It lacks immediacy, it’s prohibitively expensive (for many) … and it’s also increasingly unnecessary.

At Fuseworks we’ve had the sneaking suspicion that material run on broadcast TV news programmes is typically online and freely available to anyone with an Internet connection. This week we decided to test our theory and do some basic analysis of the relationship between the main TV news bulletins and what’s published on broadcaster websites.

Our methodology was simple – we watched TV One and TV3 news bulletins from start to finish, noting down the topics, events, organisations and people mentioned in each local story (we excluded World news stories unless they had a NZ angle). We then searched for those stories on the related broadcaster news website.

We did this for a total of four randomly selected news bulletins – two on TV One and two on TV3. Not a large sample – but enough to give an indication of broadcasters current approach and the likely direction they are heading.

90% of stories covered during the TV news were also on the broadcaster’s websiteFuseworks research

We found:

  • In total, 90% of stories covered during the news broadcast were also covered on the broadcaster’s website as separate stories (rising to 100% if you include their ‘on demand’ product).
  • The percentage of stories covered online by TV One versus TV3 was virtually the same – with TV One having a very slight edge (92% to 88%).
  • A high level of consistency in the approach of the two main broadcasters – placing video front and centre where available – but in a way that is virtually always supported by narrative text.
  • A preference for getting the story online quickly (typically before the news broadcast) – and then updating it later, when the supporting video becomes available.

And most importantly – where a story is supported by video – both broadcasters tend to reuse the same video created for and during the TV news bulletin. ie: the video will typically include both the TV presenters introduction, and the pre-prepared video package.  Exactly what you might get from traditional media monitoring – but at no cost (if you view it on the broadcaster website), with considerably less fuss, and significantly improved immediacy.

A few other points of note:

  • Of the 10% of stories covered in the TV news that weren’t covered online – 100% of them were in the category of features/soft news/fillers. ie: Where the story had ‘legs’, it could invariably be found online.
  • The 10% of stories that were missing shrinks to just 3% (a total of two stories), if you include coverage by other news outlets. ie: even if the stories weren’t run by the TV One or TV3 websites, they are highly likely to be picked up by other online media (the two exceptions we found were a feature on science in Antarctica and one on the founder of the Coast to Coast race stepping down – and both were actually still on the TVNZ website – just not as stories in the news sections).
  • Unsurprisingly given the lack of space constraint online – we found that stories that were only mentioned in passing during the broadcast were often covered in greater depth on the broadcasters websites.

Overall our findings were very similar to our study of print media in 2012 – If it’s important, it’s online.

Our advice is this – next time you evaluate your media monitoring options – consider going ‘online first’. The adage that ‘all media is online’ is more true each year – and the opportunities for you to improve immediacy and reduce costs are significant.

If you’d like to find out more about online media monitoring – please get in touch.