The Power of Article Impact Measurement

The recent diesel emissions scandal was, and continues to be, a major reputation challenge to the automotive sector. Volkswagen, the highest profile casualty of the scandal, has seen its share price decimated, its CEO removed and its reputation damaged.

Although communications professionals do not have the power to reduce CO2 and NO2 emissions or go back in time, they aim increasingly to anticipate the impact of a particular story and advise on what response, if any, is necessary. This is where the NLA’s Article Impact Measurement (AIM) software comes in.

AIM offers PR and communications professionals access to previously unavailable audience data on the coverage generated on major UK national newspaper websites.  Data captured by AIM includes:
•    The total number of views of an article, provided by 10 national newspaper publisher websites
•    The number of times an article is republished, and on which third party websites

The Diesel Emissions Scandal

The insight this data provides can be demonstrated by analysing the reach of the media’s coverage of the emissions scandal. On 18 September, two major national papers reported the story (point A), generating around 12,500 page views between them. By 19 September, the number of page views rose considerably to around 75,000 before interest in the story dropped through to 20 September (point C). Between 21 and 22 September, other national news outlets broke the story; perhaps unexpectedly, this provided a boost to the number of page views for outlet four that broke the scandal (point D). It was not until 23/24 September that the first tranche of stories on the scandal began to fade from the public eye (point E).




So, what does this information reveal to a communications professional?

The AIM data provides a number of valuable insights for communications professionals seeking to prepare for crises or sell ins. Firstly, it shows the value that breaking a story first can have in achieving maximum coverage. It also shows that not all newspaper audiences are the same: despite breaking the story on the same day, outlet four achieved significantly more page views than outlet three.

Second, it shows that just because a story’s online reach falls after it has stopped being breaking news, it does not necessarily decline forever. Although page views on outlet four’s reporting of the scandal dropped after point B, it rose again as other outlets took up the story following point C. This demonstrates that it would be foolish to assume that a temporary drop in page views mean that public interest in the article will not recover at a later date.

Thirdly, it shows the inter-relationship between different outlets’ coverage of the same story. When other outlets first published the story on 22 September (at point D), page views were lifted for outlet four and outlet two. In this instance, while breaking the story first produced the most page views, new articles galvanised the page views of existing web content.

AIM also allows the user to view the relative ‘shelf life’ of news stories. The graph below is a representation of the same outlets breaking of the same story arranged by the number of page views each article received up to seven days after its first publication.

The statistics suggest that although articles may attract large amounts of page views for short periods, it is rare that a single article will sustain the public’s attention over the mid to long term. This is a vital insight for the communications professional when too often the instinct is to respond immediately. In absence of other articles, AIM data suggests that on occasion it can be better to avoid commenting on coverage if you have been the subject of critical media. Conversely, if pitching a story to media, taking a staggered approach over a number of days can generate a larger overall audience than a simultaneous one day sell in.

In conclusion

An empirical tool such as AIM cannot hope to replicate the skills, experience and knowhow of experienced communicators in demystifying appropriate responses to crises. It can, however, provide the industry with a new insight into the dynamics of the news-cycle and the ability to place clear values on the reach of newspaper coverage audience.  In the hands of skilled communicators, AIM is the key to spot trends, help communication professionals target their work and demonstrate their value internally.


Ninestars battles the elements to meet eClips deadlines

The NLA has had a close connection with India for many years now. Since 2006, our partnership with Ninestars Information Technologies Ltd., has enhanced the supply of press cuttings to UK media monitoring organisations via the eClips database. It is always distressing to see friends in trouble, as we look from afar at the news stories concerning the worst flooding for over 100 years across parts of Southern India following a cyclone that developed in the Bay of Bengal.

Two of the NLA’s outsourced production centres – Chennai, and further down the east coast at Pondicherry - are directly affected. Ninestars have been managing the situation over the last few days, the first priority being to ensure the safety & security of all staff. They have arranged transport for staff and changed shift patterns at short notice – and are still hitting the processing deadlines we set to service UK media monitoring organisations. This is a great testament to their professionalism, something we have seen time and again over the years of our partnership.

NLA publishers’ content is processed at 3 geographically separate and inter-changeable centres – Chennai, Tirupathi and Pondicherry – so that production can be switched at any time to safeguard services to publishers and monitoring clients. So far that has not been necessary, due to Ninestars’ detailed planning and management skills.

Let’s spare a thought for our friends at Ninestars as they battle very real dangers in supporting the eClips service over the coming days. It makes our commuting delays over ‘leaves on the line’ seem very trivial indeed.


Henry Jones of Meltwater named as new Managing Director of NLA media access

NLA media access has today announced that Henry Jones, currently area director (UK and Ireland) of leading media intelligence provider Meltwater, is to replace David Pugh as Managing Director on his retirement in spring 2016.

Commenting on the appointment, Tim Brooks, Chairman of NLA media access said:

"'In appointing Henry Jones as our Managing Director from a very strong field of candidates, we have made the best choice to enable NLA media access to build on the great success it has enjoyed under David Pugh's leadership. David has stressed innovation, service and partnership as key drivers of growth. Henry's experience, expertise and vision are exactly right to take us to the next level.”

Henry Jones said:

“When the opportunity came up to lead NLA media access I knew it was one I had to take. I have had a brilliant few years at Meltwater and have been proud to play a part in its growth and success. Now, I am looking forward to working with Tim, the board, and the management team in what I know is a creative and dynamic business.”

Henry is expected to join the company during the first quarter of 2016.


Where does the money go?

NLA is often asked by clients ‘where do the licence fees we pay go?’    

The answer is – back to the publishers who employ the journalists creating the content. NLA revenues support journalism.

In 2014 NLA media access collected and distributed over £31m in royalty payments to publishers - the equivalent of employing 1,300 journalists. This figure  has grown year on year as commercial use of published content has increased.

Over 84% of NLA revenues are returned directly to publishers and 16% is spent on NLA costs and development of publisher and database services. In addition, NLA supports the Journalism Diversity Fund on behalf of the national newspapers with an annual contribution that has now reached over £1M.

Licence fees are paid by thousands of organisations seeking to copy and re-use published content for their own commercial purposes. This includes both media monitoring agencies and their clients.

A licence from NLA gives PR agencies, Government departments and in house PR teams access to and the right to copy from, 2800 newspapers and magazines and over 2000 web titles.

NLA’s formula of investment in news services and efficient and regular royalty payments to publishers means an effective service for all; it also ensures the vast majority of the money collected goes back to the content creators - newspaper and magazine publishers.


NLA Announces Simplified Copyright Licensing for PR agencies

We have today announced the introduction of a simple copyright licence for PR agencies supplying news clips to clients.  It is a direct response to our clients request for a comprehensive flat rate licence that provides 1) budget certainty and simple administration for the agency and 2) advance copyright permission for delivery of news articles to clients.

The new licence is an efficient and economical means of securing advanced copyright permission by a PR agency for its client use.  In return for a flat fee of £194.00 per client (email address) the PR agency is granted rights to supply articles to clients from the entire NLA repertoire, in whatever format the client would like it delivered.

The licence has been designed with involvement, direction and advice from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and Coast Communications. We are very grateful to both for their guidance and insight.  You will find the official press release here. In addition, the CIPR has created a helpful Q&A document for agencies requiring full details, which you can find here.

If you are an existing client of NLA, you will have the option to remain on your existing licence or transfer to the new licence when your current licence expires. As always, my team are available to answer any queries and will advise on the most appropriate licence for your needs.

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