• Sudel Retief

Throwbacks from the media monitoring industry

By Paul Chapman

The media industry is a real passion of mine and has been for over 20 years. I have spent a decent amount of time living and working (in the media industry) over in the eastern states of Australia and the UK before returning to my home city, Perth here in Western Australia. I have seen how media and the monitoring industry have changed. Here are a few throwbacks of our media monitoring industry that might make you smile as you reminisce with me.

Today's consumer of media monitoring services expect as a very minimum their press content delivered conveniently to their inbox, with the option of viewing it on an online platform later on. The thought of receiving this press content as hard copy paper clippings would certainly not cut the mustard today! Throw back only about 15 years and the hard copy newspaper media packs were the go-to delivery in the biggest daily newspaper market in the world. On big news days the stacks of paper were numbered in the hundreds but even a slow news day would see fifty plus pages copied multiple times (sometimes over 100 times for one client).

Working in London in the early 2000's and working with major UK government departments as well as Buckingham Palace and St James Palace (Prince Charles), I remember the morning of the 2005 London bombings well. It was the biggest news day of modern times in Britain and saw us produce and deliver a media pack to clients such as the Home Office, 10 Downing Street and Department of Transport that numbered over 600 pages (copied several hundred times) before delivery throughout the parliamentary and department precinct of Whitehall by 06:00 am. Directors, account managers and editors worked through the night to feed the line of couriers hungry to deliver to Monarchs, Ministers and media teams trying to make sense of this new world.

The clients of today have ease of access to any content that is of interest. Audio and video content can be accessed either by clicking on a link within a portal or downloading the content from an online source. It wasn't that long ago that audio and video orders were copied onto a tape - a cassette or a VCR and physically delivered via courier, mostly a guy on a bike zipping through the city rush hour traffic in an attempt to unite content with client in a satisfying time frame.

Our media content editors enjoy the digital advances of the Snipping Tool when they are unlucky enough not to receive their content via digital feed directly from the publishers. What we consider every day tools in the clipping room today of course had it's origins in the good old fashioned classroom staples - scissor and glue! If you've never had the pleasure of trying to fit a broadsheet paper's article on an A3 size page assisted only by the scissor and glue the technological advances might be lost on you but trust me, it's a massive step up.

Handwritten summary sheets is something our content editors have most likely never even seen! We benefit from the voice to text technology to make it able for us to capture relevant audio content for clients from a very broad range of broadcast sources as we receive the content digitally from our suppliers. Even though we do use human editors to refine the content no pens are required here!

Rather than today's convenient API feeds of newspaper content it wasn't that long ago that content editors were relying on industrial size newspaper scanners to capture the newspaper content

Indulge me as I include a more general throwback from my time in London in the early 2000's (and certainly not restricted to the media monitoring industry) - the Blackberry! Oh that keypad, sadly never to be repeated it seems.

As we celebrate MyMedia's 6th birthday this month and recalling these advances in the industry and technology more generally it is impossible for the mind not to wander and think what we'll reminisce about in the next 20 years.

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