Media and PR Influencers Survey Findings


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As part of our thought leadership series, Asia Media Monitors has surveyed PR practitioners and media professionals in Malaysia and Singapore markets. The major objectives of the survey are to find out that are considered most influential by the PR professionals,
2.current challenges faced by PR/media professionals
3.state of the relationship between the PR professionals and media professionals and areas where it could be improved preferences for getting information from PR practitioners

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Media and PR Influencers Survey Findings

  1. 1. Media and PR Influencers Survey Findings >Malaysia >Singapore Presented by Leon Hudson, General Manager, South East Asia Analysis by Sanjay Khanna, Market Research Manager August 2010
  2. 2. 2 Media Monitors - Thought Leadership The Media Analysis Series examine the discourse regarding key issues in traditional and new media, providing valuable insight into today’s media landscape. The Energy Debate - Discussion on nuclear, coal, solar, wind and other energy sources in Asia Pacific. The Climate Change Debate - Discussion about solutions differed greatly, ensuring the most likely outcome is indecision and therefore inaction. The Obama Report Analysing the Media Response to President Obama across the Asia- Pacific Region. The Water Debate in Australia - A Drought of Action; A Flood of Politics, Vested Interests and Nimbyism. The Global Financial Crisis Report Analysing the Media Response to Global Financial Crisis across the Asia-Pacific Region.
  3. 3. 3 Table of contents 1) About the survey 2) EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: key take-outs and key findings 3) PROFILE of survey respondents? (PR professionals/Media) 4) Which Media are most INFLUENTIAL? Why? 5) What CHALLENGES are faced by PR/Media professionals? 6) PR - Media RELATIONSHIP: A snapshot 7) Media PREFERENCES 8) CONCLUSIONS and Recommendations Making Sense of the Media
  4. 4. 4 1. About the survey
  5. 5. 5 Survey background Surveys conducted in Malaysia (in collaboration with Public Relations Consultants’ Association of Malaysia) and Singapore Survey Period: 15 June to 9 July 2010 Online survey ~ 10 min; closed-ended questions, tick one/more as applicable Two separate surveys: with some common questions Public Relations (PR) professionals: in- house and agency Media professionals: Press, Broadcast, Online, News-wires, Bloggers 378 completed surveys in total: About the Survey Survey Objectives As part of our thought leadership series, Asia Media Monitors has surveyed PR practitioners and media professionals in Malaysia and Singapore markets. The major objectives of the survey are to find out 1. media that are considered most influential by the PR professionals, 2. current challenges faced by PR/media professionals 3. state of the relationship between the PR professionals and media professionals and areas where it could be improved 4. media preferences for getting information from PR practitioners Key survey findings are included as the Executive Summary on the following pages and detailed findings have been graphically presented in the report that follows. Demographics - PR professionals: > 309 respondents in total (Malaysia + Singapore) > A mix of agency (1/3) and in-house professionals (2/3)  junior, middle and senior management levels represented from small, medium and large organisations  PR/Communications qualifications is the highest level of qualification for 40% respondents  Previous role most likely in PR/Communications – only ~13% have had held a journalism role previously  Median age is ~37 years, with a median ~10 years of experience in PR/Communications  Gender balance: more female practitioners overall, in-house practitioners’ comprise ~60% female/40% male and agency sample has an equal representation of both genders Demographics - Media professionals:  69 respondents (journalists, writers, correspondents,editorial,management staff) from publications, online news publications and broadcast stations. Twelve bloggers are also included  Unlike PR sample, the gender breakdown indicates a skew towards male gender (64% of the sample)  Median age ~39 years; 12 years experience in media/communications
  6. 6. 6 2. Executive Summary
  7. 7. 7 The greatest challenge faced by the PR profession in Malaysia is to raise the profile of the sector and to demonstrate tangible value of PR that impacts the bottom-line of an organisation. PR professionals do not have much control over exogenous factors such as the domestic political and economic environment impacting the sector. However, factors such as talent management, demonstrable value through monitoring and analysis, managing the growing use of digital/social media and interaction with the media might be well within the sphere of control of PR professionals. Clients are more demanding of the PR/communications practice in Singapore and the profession is much more accepted, recognised and established here. Yet there is an apparent dichotomy - traditional media is still considered relatively more influential compared to that in Malaysia, while the penetration of social media usage is high as well. The biggest challenge in Singapore is to clearly demonstrate the value of traditional as well as new media communications to demanding internal/external clients by using appropriate media monitoring and analysis tools and showing the contribution to the bottom-line. Media is comfortable with the use of technology for research / news- gathering as well as providing online news content. However, the need of the hour is to provide unique and more relevant online content that is interactive, user-generated content that is also more engaging for the target audience. Executive Summary – Key Take-outs Demonstrating the value of communications to the bottom-line of organisations is the key … Relationship between the two professions is and has been tenuous. There is scope for improvement by two–way communication on a timely basis, where relevant and with transparency. Finding a common middle ground is a challenge but this can be overcome by understanding the needs and preferences and delivering accordingly – whether it is media information (e.g. broad based industry trends provided with product news) or media providing a timely acknowledgement and response to a media release. More research in this area is recommended to uncover the dynamic and growing needs and requirements of in-house as well as agency practitioners and media professionals. Two-way communication is required to understand the needs and preferences …
  8. 8. 8 1. INFLUENTIAL MEDIA Traditional media (especially newspapers and television) are perceived to be most influential for communicating with the target audience in both markets, as reported by PR professionals in the survey. The key reasons are: >traditional media is considered relevant to the target audience by a majority of respondents, relatively more in Singapore than in Malaysia >traditional media is also perceived better on quality of analysis and opinion as compared to digital/social media Communicating with the target audience using digital/social media is, however quite common (80% of respondents reported using these media in the last 12 months as part of their communication strategy). These new media are seen to be relatively more influential than magazines, radio, outdoor and below-the-line media Malaysia PR: Malaysia PR professionals have much better perceptions of digital/social media than their Singapore counterparts. In Malaysia, digital/social media is perceived to be >balanced/unbiased compared to traditional media and >is already performing the social monitoring/ watch-dog role. This watch-dog role has been held by traditional media ever since the evolution of media. Media professionals responses also support this finding as well. Recently the PR week commented that Malaysia has in fact become the ‘poster- child for the transformative power of social media.’ (see slide 23) Singapore PR: Perceptions of traditional media are better on >relevance to target audience >quality of analysis and opinion and >being balanced and unbiased However respondents are equally divided when asked to compare traditional media to social media for the social watch-dog role Most survey respondents who have used digital /social media believe that this medium >provides a wider reach >reaches a niche target audience such as young adults >allows the organisation to engage directly with the audience and >works faster, more effectively and efficiently Looking into the future, it is highly likely that the future media mix for an organisation would incorporate both traditional media and digital/social media. It would also work best if communications through these two channels can be integrated. Media intermediation is also becoming important and organisations can use this to get more media attention than was ever possible through using just press releases and focussed pitching in the past. Executive Summary – key findings Future media mix will incorporate both traditional as well as digital/social media … Malaysia has become the ‘poster-child for the transformative power of social media.’
  9. 9. 9 2. CHALLENGES Survey respondents were asked - to pick one challenge that they believe is the ‘greatest challenge’ for them as PR/media professionals, from amongst the several challenges listed on the questionnaire. In both the markets, PR professionals’ greatest challenges are >determining the return on investment of PR campaigns and >managing social media discussion Dealing with traditional media only interested in paid content is also mentioned as one of the top challenges. The greatest challenges for media professionals are >declining audience/circulation >declining advertising revenues and >working with limited budgets/resources These three challenges are related and dependent on each other. Another survey finding puts a context to the above finding. The proposed and much publicised business/revenue model for traditional media especially for publications is charging for online content or ‘putting up the pay- walls’. More than 60% of all respondents answered in the negative when asked “as a consumer of news, would you pay for online news content?”. Experts have opined that consumption of online news is likely to grow as it is a dynamic medium and news is delivered real- time. But online news is also seen by many as a commodity - media pay-walls are likely to face resistance unless niche, original and unique content can be delivered in a cost effective and efficient way. Malaysia PR: In Malaysia, other challenges voiced by respondents are >recognition of the strategic role of PR >getting commitment from senior management (although 60% respondents indicate a direct line of relationship of their PR / Communications head to the CEO) Executive Summary – key findings Singapore PR: In contrast, recognition and commitment are not viewed as major challenges in Singapore, possibly due to PR / Communications being a mature, relatively well established and recognised sector in Singapore. However, a challenge that ranks high is >dealing with demanding internal/external clients who expect greater value from PR In Malaysia, a question about PR accreditation and implementation of the proposed PR Act was asked. There is consensus within the two groups i.e. in- house and agency professionals , but polarised perceptions exist between the two groups >Would mandatory PR accreditation raise PR industry standards? (only in- house PR professionals are in favour) >Should PR Act be implemented? (only in-house PR professionals are in favour) GFC and its impact: GFC has had its impact on PR agency revenues and in-house communication budgets but optimism is returning in line with the recovery in the broader economy. Determining the Return on investment (ROI) of PR campaigns is the greatest challenge for PR professionals
  10. 10. 10 3. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PR AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS This section of the survey explored the overall experience and state of relationship that PR professionals have with traditional media professionals and vice versa. PR professionals: The overall experience with media is rated positive in both the markets. Accuracy in reporting by the media (particularly in Singapore) and availability to discuss story ideas are seen as good or fair by most respondents. However, in both markets PR professionals expect >better acknowledgement of media information sent >better acceptance of follow-up by media Media professionals are not so positive in their overall experience rating of PR professionals. Attributes that influence this rating are >little awareness of deadlines >perceived lack of understanding of topics covered by media >perceived low level of familiarity with media outlets/broadcast stations and >lack of authenticity The above findings are re-inforced by responses to another question where more than half the media respondents rate less than 50% of the media releases received as ‘timely’ and ‘relevant’. Looking at the above aspects impacting the overall relationship between the two professions, it is evident that a few of these are communication issues in itself (such as awareness of deadlines) that can be resolved with both sides. finding a middle ground and communicating openly. 4. MEDIA PREFERENCES Media releases sent through e-mail are the most preferred means of contact by the media because most media professionals are seldom available at their work-place. This also allows the media to review the information unobtrusively and judge the newsworthiness independently. As mentioned above, a majority of media releases currently need to improve in terms of timeliness and relevance. Another factor for PR professionals to Executive Summary – key findings consider is that most media professionals work with multiple platforms nowadays. So there is a need to customise media releases to suit each of these platforms - including tailoring these to the bloggers’ needs. (Most bloggers surveyed, welcome contact with PR professionals.) Face-to-face communications seems to have a role to play as well - events /conferences/media visits are perceived effective due to >the direct interaction with company /client PR staff >the opportunity to interview/ask questions and >to get first hand information/visuals related to the product/service/process being showcased Media professionals are most interested in industry trends followed by company/product news. Research sources most used are news websites/portals, traditional media and corporate websites. Less than 50% of the media releases are ‘timely’ and ‘relevant’
  11. 11. 11 3.1 Survey respondents’ profile PR professionals
  12. 12. 12 Current Role - PR professionals Wide cross-section of PR professionals included n = 309
  13. 13. 13 Organisation size - PR professionals Malaysia, n = 118 Singapore, n = 108Small , medium and large organisations represented
  14. 14. 14 Management level - PR professionals n = 258 Influential PR professionals from all levels of management
  15. 15. 15 Reporting Relationship of PR Head to CEO n = 217 6 in 10 Head of PR/Communications have a direct, hard line of reporting to the CEO Direct hard line 63% Indirect line (regular contact) 16% Indirect dotted line 14% No line 7%
  16. 16. 16 Highest Level of Education – PR professionals n = 309 Bachelors - Mass Comms/Media 16% Grad. Cert.- Mass Comms/Media 13% Masters - Mass Comms/Media 10% Bachelors - other 34% Masters - other 15% Secondary School or under 3% Other 9% ~40% have PR academic qualifications as their highest level of education
  17. 17. 17 Gender - PR professionals n = 256 Female gender predominant in PR; Agency professionals: 50 / 50 split, In-house: 60% F, 40% M
  18. 18. 18 3.2 Survey respondents profile - Media professionals
  19. 19. 19 Gender – Media Professionals n = 50 Gender balance is quite different between the two professions
  20. 20. 20 Current Role – Media Professionals n = 69 Cross-section of editorial/non editorial staff and bloggers included
  21. 21. 21 Media platforms n = 69 Most media professionals now work across multiple platforms (avg. 2 platforms - print and online common)
  22. 22. 22 4. Influential Media
  23. 23. 23 Influential Media – PR professionals n = 309 39% 18% 12% 14% 36% 19% 15% 11% Newspapers Television Online news sites Social media Malaysia Singapore
  24. 24. 24 >Traditional media offers  better quality of analysis and opinion (64% rated ‘better than’ social media)  perceived to be more balanced and unbiased (57% said ‘better than’ social media) >Traditional Media’s is relevant (38% rated it ‘better’) , but relevance likely to diminish as a result of  media fragmentation?  social media’s widening reach?  Social media seen more ‘relevant’ / used more by a segment of our target audience? >Singapore respondents currently hold a mixed view about the watch-dog role of social media Singapore PR: Traditional Media vs. Social/Digital Media
  25. 25. 25 Singapore PR have a relatively better perception of traditional media In Malaysia, >Traditional media is perceived to be relevant to target audience (34% rated it better) >And seen to offer a better quality of analysis and opinion (41% respondents rated ‘better’ and 34% ‘same as’ social media) However, >Social media seen as balanced and unbiased (44% rated ‘better’ + 31% ‘same’) >Unlike Singapore, in Malaysia, social media is perceived as the social monitor/watch-dog (40% PR have rated it ‘better’ + 36% ‘same’) recent PR Week story … Malaysia PR: Traditional Media vs. Social/Digital Media
  26. 26. Malaysia
  27. 27. 27 >Overall, views of media professionals are similar >Traditional media’s Relevance to target audience is being eroded by social media Social monitoring/watchdog role is now with social media >However traditional media’s strength is evident in the area of offering quality opinion and analysis (58% rated it ‘better’) and presenting a balanced and unbiased view (43% rated it ‘better’) Media: Traditional Media vs. Social/Digital Media:
  28. 28. 28 5. Challenges
  29. 29. 29 Greatest challenge – PR professionals n = 309 Demonstrating the strategic value of PR is the biggest challenge 15% 13% 13% 17% 11% 6% 18% 16% 13% 10% 3% 15% Campaign ROI Managing social media Dealing w/ trad. media Recognition Commitment by mgmt. Demanding clients Malaysia Singapore
  30. 30. 30 PR Measurement: Media Monitoring and Analysis n = 309Image Credit: Gauges and Dials by mag3737
  31. 31. 31 PR Measurement: Media Monitoring and Analysis n = 309Image Credit: Gauges and Dials by mag3737
  32. 32. 32 What was the impact of GFC on the PR budgets/revenue? What is the outlook for next 12 months? Singapore PR >Impact on most corporate/govt sector budgets across the board: 44% said budgets ‘declined’, 7% ‘increased’ >Mixed impact on PR agency revenue: 33% said ‘declined’, 31% recorded an ‘increase’ >Optimism is returning fast (>30% said budget ‘likely to go up’ in next 12m, only 6% ‘likely to decline’) Malaysia PR >Compared to Singapore, slightly less impact on corporate/govt. sector : 36% ‘declined’ >Compared to Singapore, slightly more impact on PR agency revenue: 40% ‘declined’ >Outlook for next 12m is positive in Malaysia as well (25% said ‘likely to go up’, only 13% said ‘likely to decline’)
  33. 33. 33 Malaysia only Mandatory PR Accreditation Higher Standards? Polarised Perceptions … n = 154 Would mandatory PR Accreditation promote higher standards? Yes, 26% Yes, 61% No, 66% No, 24% 8% 15% PR agency/consultant In-house Yes No Don't know
  34. 34. 34 Malaysia only Proposed Public Relations Act: Should it be implemented? Polarised Perceptions … n = 154 Should the PR Act be implemented? Yes, 16% Yes, 56% No, 74% No, 24% 10% 20% PR agency/consultant In-house Yes No Don't know
  35. 35. 35 Greatest challenge – Media professionals n = 69
  36. 36. 36 Attitude towards online news consumption PR, n = 309 Media, n = 69Q: As a consumer, would you pay for accessing news online?
  37. 37. 37 Nielsen study Feb 2010* * 27000 respondents, 52 countries
  38. 38. 38 6. Relationship snapshot: PR professionals and Media professionals
  39. 39. 39 Singapore PR: Experience dealing with media professionals n = 155 5% 5% 6% 8% 35% 35% 32% 50% 45% 32% 43% 48% 38% 46% 17% 14% 11% 5% 10% Acknowledgement of info Acceptance of follow-up Availability to discuss Reporting accuracy Overall experience 1. Excellent 2. Good 3. Fair 4. Poor 5. Very Poor 6. Don't know Overall experience ‘good’ or ‘fair’ but PR professionals desire media acceptance of PR follow-up and acknowledgement of media information sent
  40. 40. 40 Malaysia PR: Experience dealing with media professionals n = 154 5% 5% 33% 31% 37% 38% 44% 36% 47% 46% 54% 47% 19% 16% 9% 5% 7% 8% Acknowledgement of info Acceptance of follow-up Availability to discuss Reporting accuracy Overall experience 1. Excellent 2. Good 3. Fair 4. Poor 5. Very Poor 6. Don't know Similar experience compared to Singapore. However, accuracy in reporting perceived to be relatively lower
  41. 41. 41 Media professionals: Experience dealing with PR professionals n = 63 ~1 in 3 media professionals expect a much better understanding of media deadlines, a lack of ‘spin’ and much better awareness of their media outlet/blog requirements/subjects 5% 27% 25% 17% 14% 21% 22% 16% 54% 40% 54% 54% 44% 33% 56% 10% 16% 21% 22% 22% 25% 16% 8% 8% 8% 10% 11% 14% 6% Responsiveness Access to executives Understanding of… Authenticity Familiarity w/… Deadlines Overall Experience Excellent Good Fair Poor Very Poor Don't know
  42. 42. 42 7. Media preferences
  43. 43. 43 Which is the most preferred mode of contact? n = 62
  44. 44. 44 Which media relation activity is most effective overall ? n = 61
  45. 45. 45 Which story ideas interest media the most? n = 60
  46. 46. 46 Which research sources are preferred by media? n = 59
  47. 47. 47 8. Conclusions and Recommendations
  48. 48. 48 Conclusions and Recommendations >Future media mix: Traditional + social media = broader influence, wider reach >Traditional media still relevant and strong on quality of commentary/opinion >Social media has taken up the ‘watch-dog’ role (+ seen as unbiased - in Malaysia) >Greatest challenge for PR is to demonstrate the value and strategic role of PR >Dealing with traditional media remains a challenge for PR as well as managing social media >As media revenue models are challenged and new models/pay-walls are tested, importance of paid content/editorials might increase Conclusions continued on next slide…
  49. 49. 49 Conclusions and Recommendations >Strong economic recovery is aiding the recovery of the PR/media sectors as well >Gender imbalance in PR and media sectors – does it have an impact? >‘Communication’ between PR and media professionals is still a challenge  PR professionals want more acknowledgement/acceptance of follow-up  Media want a better understanding of subjects/outlets before PR pitch any stories  Stories need to arrive timely and be devoid of ‘spin’ >Media releases sent through email preferred – simple/direct/largely un- obstrusive >Events/conferences have a role to play - allow face-to-face contact and industry trends can be disseminated
  50. 50. 50 Verbatim comments SG: (We have) used digital/social media to keep pace with changing information- receiving habits of audience SG: …. what the writers can gain from you in terms of press trips determine how much media interest you hold … it also how much media dollars you spend with the publications. Digital media, it is not really developed in Singapore. MY: Malaysian corporates have yet to reach the level of sophistication as other markets eg Singapore, HK. SG: Getting enough competent PR and communications professionals in your team or to serve your account …(is a challenge) SG: the role of PR should provide a guide into the tracking and measuring the success of digital campaigns … and to provide a roadmap with detailed objectives and measurables in order to showcase value MY: We are seen as the fire-fighters, spin doctors, glamour boys n girls..not as an essential and strategic management tool
  51. 51. 51 SG : (challenge is … to come up with a medium term PR strategy for the coming 3-5 years and provide a vision for PR value for business) MY: Corp. Comm. /PR should be put under MD/CEO … not under Marketing …Marketing and PR are two different school of thoughts using different approaches in order to meet the goals of the company. Verbatim comments SG: Publications are leaning towards newsmaker that has investment via advertising or conference sponsorship MY: PR practitioners failed to be recognised … because they failed to earn their seat at the … decision making level. … must ensure that they are not just cost centre but business generating centre MY: Relationship between the media and PR professionals is a 2-way process - both have to work in partnership, and it's not always the PR professional that has to lobby for stories.
  52. 52. Thank you! The full report is available for download on our website