What is media monitoring?

A media monitoring service provides clients with documentation, analysis, or copies of media content of interest to the clients. Services tend to specialize by media type or content type. For example, some services monitor news and public affairs content while others monitor advertising, sports sponsorships, product placement, video or audio news releases, use of copyrighted video or audio, infomercials, "watermarked" video/audio, and even billboards. Such services hold, or have held, various names - changing over time as new forms of media are created. Alternative names for such services include: * Press/media cutting agency/service * Press/media clipping agency/service In the past, the mass media consisted almost solely of printed matter, so monitoring the press was the chief activity of such agencies. But with radio, television and the Internet now providing output of interest to their clients the services have expanded their activities. Typically, a client (either an individual or an organisation - such as a charity or corporation) approaches a media monitoring service to keep track of what is being said about them, their competitors, or other topics of interest. Illustrative example An author has a book published and has a strong interest in tracking how well the book is received by critics. The media monitoring service will have a method by which they extract any information about the author and their book from newly printed magazines, radio programmes, television programmes and so on. The author will receive a printed bundle of clippings, i.e., the bits of the magazines and newspapers relating to them and their book. They may also receive recordings of any radio reviews, television programmes and so on, in which they are featured. Working methods In the past the services relied on employing people to read through printed matter and physically cut out relevant articles. With the vast amount of publications on offer now some services use scanning equipment with optical character recognition to automate this task to some degree. Television news monitoring companies, especially in the United States, capture and index closed captioning text and search it for client references. Some TV monitoring companies still employ human monitors who review and abstract program content. Trade Groups The International Association of Broadcast Monitors (IABM) is a world-wide trade association made up of news retrieval services which monitor television, radio and print news mediums. It acts as a "clearinghouse" or "forum" for discussion on topics of collective concerns and acts as a united voice for the news monitoring industry. Future trends Some people can argue that Google News provides a media monitoring service by allowing queries on the number of times a keyword have been mentioned in thousands of publications. However, specialized services will very often provide a much more reliable service based on trusted publications and human reading.