Media Monitors launches new media value measure

Media Monitors has launched a new service which it claims will allow brands to measure their media and PR coverage online and in traditional media and work out its equivalent value in advertising dollars.  

The service comes as part of a tie in with audience research organisation ComScore.

In a release, Media Monitors claimed the tool will “provide the region’s most comprehensive quantitative analysis tool for editorial content across all media types”.

It said it had developed “a measurement methodology that incorporates data on page impressions, unique visitors, content style, advertising rates, size, language scaling and placement to provide instantly comparable advertising space rates (ASR) across internet monitoring content.”

Gregg Amies, Media Monitors’ GM for Australia and New Zealand said: “Our clients will be receiving comprehensive and immediate ASR values across press, broadcast and internet, allowing full and consistent reporting of both campaign and ongoing media relations measurement.”

The announcement may trigger some debate as many PR pfressionals challenge whether advertising equivalent is a credible measure of media coverage for brands.


  1. Matthew Gain
    8 Jul 10
    9:16 am

  2. Oh dear. What wonderful innovation Media Monitors is bringing us.

    Nobody with any credibilty, and hardly anybody without credibility, thinks AVE is a suitable measure of anything.

    Wouldn’t it be better for Media Monitors to be focussing its efforts on measuring outcomes as a result of media coverage?

  3. Lani Pauli
    8 Jul 10
    9:24 am

  4. Agree with Matthew.

    Why not look at developing a measurment service that truly reflects the impact and influence of media coverage.

    AVE is no longer a valid measurement and the more people in the industry begin to devlop alternative means of measuring outcomes the better we will be. My experience, however, has shown clients still expect a dollar figure when reporting on results. It is just as much about educating clients that AVE is not the be all and end all of measuring outcomes.

  5. Ben
    8 Jul 10
    9:25 am

  6. Agree. AVEs are not the way

    That being said am very intrigued to see the mechanics of how they measure online PR coverage in $$

  7. Jye Smith
    8 Jul 10
    9:29 am

  8. Echoing Matt’s comments. All this does is highlight the disconnect between certain business functions and the wider business outcomes of clients/brands.

  9. Margaret Stuart
    8 Jul 10
    9:42 am

  10. I remember telling my old boss that this was a dated and meaningless evaluation tool – in 1993. I had hoped we had moved on from this long ago.

    There is nothing like the simplicity of a $ value created vs $ spend, is there?

  11. Nat Bradford
    8 Jul 10
    9:54 am

  12. AVE continues to be measurement tool because clients, particulalrly those not familar with other metrics, continue to demand it – its value has always been questionable, even when it was alledgedly fashionable.

    The industry needs to continue to focus on educating clients in better methods of measurement – MediaMonitors wouldn’t have created this service without the expectation of demand for it, which must have, in part at least, come from agencies.

  13. Jye Smith
    8 Jul 10
    9:58 am

  14. Good point on the clients demands. And education.

  15. Ella
    8 Jul 10
    10:32 am

  16. Would prefer MM to concentrate on keeping its contacts lists up to date.

  17. Ben
    8 Jul 10
    10:48 am

  18. The videos from MM staffers really help understand their methodology….

  19. Kiz
    8 Jul 10
    11:11 am

  20. Agree with Ella! I think MM also needs to work on improving its clipping service.

  21. J
    8 Jul 10
    11:47 am

  22. PR is not advertising and should not be compared with it. Ad agencies don’t report their success in terms of PR equivalence, but what other measurement tool can provide results as ‘impressive’ as AVE? Also agree with Ella and Kiz, MM contact lists are SO out of date it’s a joke.

  23. Brendan Swale
    8 Jul 10
    11:55 am

  24. I’m the Product Director at Media Monitors, responsible for the recent release of our new metrics. We really welcome this debate.

    Some points of clarification if I may. I think it is important to understand that Media Monitors does not use the term Advertising Value Equivalents, because it is not viable to equate the value of editorial content with advertising.

    Our metric is an Advertising Space Rate (ASR) which is calculation of advertising space only, without qualitative elements such as tone or message. Our metric is based on advertising cost, space of coverage and relevant audiences. The intention of our product release is to allow clients to use these output metrics, such as audience data or ASR, in their reporting as they see fit.

    Media Monitors does not believe that ASRs or AVEs are in any way a measurement of the value of public relations or communications, nor do they inform future strategy, which is what good outcome based measurement provides (which Media Monitors also provides). I fervently agree with all the above comments to that effect.

    What is new with our service, and an industry first, is that we are able to provide a methodology across all media, allowing clients to benchmark their media coverage in a consistent manner. One of the key reasons for us to provide this enhanced service was the strong client demand for these metrics, especially for internet content.

    Happy to take any further questions here, or on twitter @bpswalenz. We at Media Monitors would like to host an event on 22nd July (free drinks!) to continue the debate. Details TBC.



  25. Rei
    8 Jul 10
    1:42 pm

  26. No method is perfect. Whether you think it is accurate or not, in my experience dollar value or column inches is the most requested method of measurement in most consumer-facing PR.

    Even if you think that it’s crude, when you are working on an overarching campaign involving marketing, advertising and PR, it is virtually the only way you can measure the sole impact of PR. If anyone has a client who is willing to invest money in post-campaign research to find out exactly how much awareness was raised due to PR only, then please contact me.

  27. DCKit
    8 Jul 10
    4:35 pm

  28. It doesn’t help when fellow industry “professionals” conform to uneducated client demands instead of insisting on an appropriate way of reporting on the merits, value and impact of PR. Stand up for the profession…if you really believe in it and are confident of your ability

  29. Katie Delahaye Paine
    8 Jul 10
    9:47 pm

  30. Brendan. you’re putting lipstick on a pig. This is nothing but AVE’s renamed. It’s no different than VMS’s Weighted Media Cost. You are still equating PR to Advertising in total violations of the Barcelona Priniciples. What’s the point of getting a majority of people in the industry to agree to a standard and then the next month going out and announcing something that is in total contradition to those principles? I’m disappointed and disgusted.

  31. EF
    9 Jul 10
    11:12 am

  32. The main problem here is that, while Media Monitors is good at providing press clips and summaries, they have almost zero media/PR professionals in their fold. They take a stab at developing products that have a chance of selling, but at the end of the day these are built around uneducated guesses. The latest offering is a perfect case in point: 1. can it be automatically built at the touch of a button? check! 2. can it be provided cheaply to the client, while still securing a profit? check! 3. Is it progressive, moving the industry forward with fresh ideas and innovation? who cares. Media Monitors has been pushing analysis services to their clients for the last decade, with little success. I know of no body who has bought any of their services twice – they should stick with what they know. Check out the video link provided by Ben – does this bloke honestly seem like he’s ever worked in PR, or is he a career academic???

  33. Ryan
    9 Jul 10
    12:26 pm

  34. Brendan, just to clarify, you claim this service “will allow brands to measure their media and PR coverage online and in traditional media and work out its equivalent value in advertising dollars.” Then you turn around and say “Media Monitors does not believe that ASRs or AVEs are in any way a measurement of the value of public relations or communications”

    What’s the point?

  35. franksting
    9 Jul 10
    1:32 pm

  36. free drinks!

  37. Karalee
    9 Jul 10
    1:59 pm

  38. *sigh*

    Much agreement with Matthew, Lani, Jye and others.

    AVE and any other variant of qualitative measurement is not accurate nor is it representative of true success for a client. It’s a false economy of assumption that because it’s editorial means xx number of people read it and valued the message 3x higher than the same message in paid media.

    Even if MM argue it’s not ‘like’ AVE, take the spin away and reveal the theory: it’s false economy and AVE.

    Digital PR, MSM PR, social media etc etc have moved beyond this to proving value through direct results. It’s time MM and other providers understood that if you can’t provide a measurement service that attributes outputs with the bottom line, you’re doing a massive disservice to yourself and your client.

  39. Trish
    9 Jul 10
    2:09 pm

  40. Talk about a debate that goes around in circles.

    Yes, we all know AVE etc.. is not an accurate representation of the value of PR, but try telling that to a client who has to justify their spend on PR to head honchos who care about $$$$$$$ and nothing else!

    The unfortunate reality is that until a better system comes up, we’re stuck with it.

  41. RAC
    9 Jul 10
    2:18 pm

  42. “Brendan, you’re putting lipstick on a pig”

    Katie, you’re a living legend.

  43. Matthew Gain
    9 Jul 10
    2:21 pm

  44. @Brendan, thanks for taking the time to respond and engage in this conversation.

    I’m glad you too don’t think AVE is a suitable measure for PR, but I still struggle with your assertion around this being a tool to compare results across channels. In my mind this is still a poor measure. Like AVE, it relies on the value of advertising as the metric for measurement. It doesn’t take into account audience, message penetration, user reaction/behaviour as a result or indeed if the article is even positive or negative. It is a crude and in my mind a pointless measure.

    Of course you wouldn’t have created this tool if there wasn’t demand for it, but in my perhaps too idealistic view, as a leader in this industry you should be taking a stand against this as a measurement device and focusing more on the qualitative measures you mention. Instead you will have your sales teams selling this as a good measure for PR effectiveness and marketing its availability.

  45. Jeremiah
    9 Jul 10
    2:43 pm

  46. Hi Brendan

    I’m a new media analyst. Am I missing something? I’ve been following the launch of ASR. I’m wondering, how do you differentiate real substantive news from mere brand mentions? Also, you said that the methodology calculates advertising space rate only and doesn’t include qualitative elements such as tone and message. So, am I right in thinking that this is purely quantitative? Are you treating positive and negative coverage equally? If the bottom line of this metric is only about dollar value, how valuable is this information to the clients?

  47. Liz
    9 Jul 10
    3:03 pm

  48. I’m with Trish – so long as demand is prevalent, then there will be services put into place in order to meet that demand. AVE-like services wouldn’t continue to be offered throughout the market if there weren’t demands from clients and managers asking for this sort of information!

    Educating is all well and good but at the end of the day it boils down to demands and dollars.

  49. Brendan Swale
    9 Jul 10
    4:49 pm

  50. Hi all,
    Thanks for the ongoing comments. I’ve written a response but it’s quite lengthy, so I’ve posted on our blog. The great thing is that people are so passionate about our industry, as am I.

  51. Mary McNamara
    10 Jul 10
    4:16 pm

  52. Brendan
    I’ve read your blog but I dont think your company can fence sit on this one. As you know I have run a successful media analysis company in New Zealand for years now. I have never know a client who can not be convinced that AVE is wildly optimistic at best and crook maths at worst. Who are these marketing and public relations professionals who are willing to swallow this Pollyanna view of the world. For example if you were to run the ruler over this blog (and some other views of it — lets say Katie Paine’s) what would the outcome be. My clients expect some critical analysis. They don’t expect me to say its all great or a crisis is a marketing opportunity. If it is a career ender for me, so be it. Analysts have to do some informed work.

  53. Julian
    16 Jul 10
    12:25 am

  54. Oh, the irony. How can anyone rely on AVE when no one is even clear on AV? Regardless of whether advertising and PR have equal impact (which they simply don’t).

  55. Wisey
    19 Jul 10
    3:44 pm

  56. Hi all,

    Thanks for the comments.
    Details of our event can be found here:

    Looking forward to the panel and discussion.


  57. Wisey
    28 Jul 10
    11:34 am

  58. Hullo Again! I just wanted to let you know that Penny Rose from Marketing Elements posted a blog on her outtakes from our ASR discussion last week.

    We’ve also included audio from the evening if you missed it.


  59. Dave
    28 Jul 10
    3:15 pm

  60. Brendan

    Maybe media monitors should concentrate on actually having products that work suitably for those of us that actually work in PR, rather than creating products to fool corporates.

    Here’s some examples:
    – a media clipping service that actually works, and doesnt require clients to waste their valuable hours doing their own monitoring
    – better priced video and audio clippings. Charging a non-profit $350 for a 60 second newsclip is ridiculous. I’ve had CEOs tell me they would rather illegally record their own clips than pay your prices.
    – maybe a suitably priced monitoring service for PR agencies, so that they can see the value in using your service?

  61. chris
    28 Jul 10
    4:02 pm

  62. Couldn’t agree more with Brendan. As one who works in corporate pr had a big announcement and needed the clips for the client first thing in the morning. Clips emailed – all good. Problem is MM missed the half page article in the AFR, our leading business daily!!

  63. Wisey
    28 Jul 10
    4:11 pm

  64. Chris and Dave,

    Thanks for letting us know your concerns.
    If you like you can email me your details and I can call you to address your individual concerns further.