VMS specializes in monitoring the broadcast media. Network television and radio such as ABC or NPR; Cable Networks like CNN; Nationally syndicated programs, for example, Entertainment Tonight; And newscasts prepared by local TV and radio stations throughout the country.
We also maintain relationships with many foreign monitoring companies, and thus can provide clients with international States daily and non-daily newspapers, trade and consumer magazines. We routinely record television and radio newscasts from 48 networks, 55 nationally syndicated programs and 536 local stations in 110 markets throughout the US. That's more than 65,000 broadcast hours of news each month. From these recordings we compile approximately 2 million broadcast news summaries monthly.
We create monitoring summaries in two ways. For Network and in the top 50 markets (as ranked by Nielsen Media Research) we actually have 2 methods. First there are human editors that actually play back the off-air recordings within 2 hours after the broadcast and create a summary of each news story. These summaries contain all the key names and places mentioned in the story, identify all significant visuals and include text designed to reveal the essence of the story.
We also capture the Closed Caption Text that is fed by the networks and stations. The Captioning arrives at VMS approximately 12 minutes after the words are spoken on the air. We keep it in a way so that it can be used to supplement the human monitoring. The closed caption text is displayed to provide a brief view of "Keyword in Context", and is limited to a maximum of 15 lines. These diverse methodologies complement each other and provide the most accurate monitoring in the shortest possible time.
We believe that human monitoring, complimented by closed captioning, offers the best quality coverage to our customers.
There are two major reasons why human monitoring is more accurate. First, it captures the visual references that are so important to the PR industry. Many times the background for a negative story was a client's logo or store front, but the client was not mentioned verbally. Those references are not picked up at all by closed caption monitoring. The second reason is that closed caption monitoring is subject to a fairly high rate of technical failure. Characters are often garbled making words unintelligible, and the transcribers the stations use for creating the closed caption text make many spelling errors. Since searching for stories in these gigantic databases are based on key word searching, such errors cause entire stories to be missed.
Since data from closed captioning requires no human intervention, it gets into the VMS search system the quickest. Then, when the human monitoring is completed (VMS normal deadline is within 2 hours after the newscast has ended) that monitoring goes into the system as well. Thus, VMS clients gain both the speed of closed caption monitoring with the accuracy of human monitoring. We do both methods in more markets (nearly three times as many) than any other monitoring service can offer.