Postdate May 8, 2017: France rejects far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen. Emmanuel Macron wins with 66.1% of the vote vs. Le Pen’s 33.9%. Clearly media prominence is not the lynch pin of success at the polls. At least in France, where the historical and cultural backdrop is less receptive to right-wing extremism. Vive la différence!
————–Posted May 6, 2017—————-
The last time we saw a candidate with Marine Le Pen’s earned media trajectory was late October 2016 when every poll predicted Donald Trump’s defeat at the hands of Hillary Clinton in the November presidential election. In contrast, our media analytics showed Trump with a commanding — and expanding — lead throughout the election period. His unrelenting post-primary media surge assured his dominance in the minds of readers and viewers across traditional and social news channels, and, some might suggest — his eventual win on November 9th.
November 2016: Trump had a 1.5x media value lead over Clinton
Let’s look at media value, the monetized value of media coverage in print, broadcast, and online news channels, as a measure of media prominence. In the final month of the U.S. election, October 2016, Donald Trump generated 1.5x the media prominence of Hillary Clinton, with Trump earning $537M to Clinton’s $358M. Cumulative media value over the 12 months preceding the election showed a similar multiple, with Trump out-earning Clinton by 2 to 1: Trump, $5.4B vs. Clinton, $2.5B. On November 1, 2016, Trump had handily won the media race, while every poll had Clinton sitting in the Oval Office.
May 2017: Le Pen has a 5x media value lead over Macron
The same Trump-Clinton media dynamic seems to be unfolding in France. As of this writing, the French election is tomorrow, Sunday May 7th, and Marine Le Pen has an exponential media prominence lead over Emmanuel Macron. For the April news cycle, National Front candidate Le Pen generated $153M in media value vs. Socialist Party candidate Macron’s $29M — a whopping 5x advantage.
Le Pen’s media values are strong across all segments, including North America and Asia Pacific regions. Social media ratings are running within 6 points of traditional media channels, suggesting traction for Marine Le Pen extends beyond classic election news sources (broadcast and metro print dailies).
Can media prominence predict an election?
Clearly many complex and interrelated factors drive victory at the voting booths, and winning in the media court of public opinion remains an enabling factor. Time will soon tell if the impact of media prominence, or in this case, dominance, in the French election mirrors that of its cross-Atlantic counterpart.
Comments Off on Russell Westbrook Media Analysis – The Devil’s in the Details
While mediaQuant makes it super easy to track the media visibility of your brand/topic/influencer at a snapshot level by looking at the prominent topline media rating brightly encircled in orange, and the related change metrics, media value, and peer ranking, we also provide media-segment granularity level and peer-group comparisons that are critical to painting the whole media story. Let’s take a look at OKC Thunder NBA player Russell Westbrook as an example.
Topline Media Performance Down for March
From an aggregate, topline perspective across all 20,000+ traditional and social media channels we measure, Russell Westbrook’s earned media performance for the March 1-31 news cycle was down considerably from his February metrics.
At 130,376 unweighted mentions for March, Westbrook’s current topline media rating of 51 (out of 100) ranks him #22 in the NBA Players sector, tied with Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo. Considering that Westbrook’s 6-month rating average is 64, March was definitely an “off” media cycle for the Thunder’s new team leader.
Media-segment metrics tell a brighter story
When it comes to the diverse and competitive earned media landscape, the devil is frequently in the details, and Westbrook is no exception. Looking at his segment-level metrics shows he lost the bulk of his March traction in U.S. newspapers (largest 50 U.S. dailies).
That’s the bad news, as the U.S. metros carry considerable sports coverage and losing traction in that segment could be a red flag (more on that later).
But Westbrook did deliver exceptional media ratings in a vital sports news segment – online news. As print metros cut back on coverage, their online versions and downstream tier-2 online news sites earned Westbrook a very strong rating for March, coming in at 83, a new high for Westbrook in that segment. If you exclude Jordan and Johnson (we continue to track iconic NBA brands), Westbrook ranked #5, just behind LeBron James (86) and ahead of Stephen Curry (80).
Russell Westbrook also out-performed his own team’s media visibility for March in the online news segment: Thunder, 78 vs. Westbrook, 83. The team is currently media-ranked #26 in the NBA teams sector, out of the 30 NBA teams. While the Thunder beat Westbrook at the aggregate level, that may be more a result of team comparison articles and storylines that exclude individual player commentary.
Besides online news, Westbrook also delivered on blogs (65 rating, +5 pts.), Twitter (88 rating, -1 pt.), forums (64 rating +7 pts.) and search (61 rating +12 pts.). If there’s any alert on his coverage it would be in the U.S. newspapers (51 off -44 pts.) and broadcast (54 rating, -16 pts.), both down from February and consistently under-performing his peer group.
Was March an Anomaly for Westbrook in US Newspapers?
June and November 2016 were also “off” months in the U.S. newspapers segment for Russell Westbrook. It’s difficult to say why, definitively, but those months were well below adjacent periods in that segment. Athlete (and celebrity) coverage tends to be episodic if the individual’s coverage is tied only to on-court/on-screen performance versus off-court storylines. Another area were players pull off-court coverage is on MVP-like storylines, where Westbrook may be overlooked due to the team’s lackluster performance this season. There’s also the question of whether there’s more interest in Durant’s new home with the Warriors and Curry versus Westbrook’s new role as team leader (Durant and Curry’s numbers are well ahead of Westbrook at the topline level, but Westbrook is ahead of both in the online news segment).
Since mediaQuant measures an additional 4,000+ topics, brands, storylines, celebrities, etc., we can see just how Westbrook is competing with coverage outside the NBA. The March NCAA tournament dominated U.S. metro coverage as many readers are tied into the brackets. Complicating matters in the U.S. metros is, unsurprisingly, the protracted editorial focus on Trump-related storylines, which are hitting the U.S. newspaper segment more heavily than others. Let’s just say, cultivating off-court coverage in this segment is like driving with the parking brake on, possible, but not all that effective.
It’s important to note that our metrics only reflect earned media coverage, i.e., there is no direct link to paid promotional coverage. Our data is updated within 3-5 days of the close of each month with a rolling 4-year historical view of every player in our system, with comparisons to 4,000+ other news topics.
Perspective is everything. Viewing any brand or player’s metrics without the context of the entire media landscape (peer players, team brands, celebrities, political coverage, sport controversies, etc.) is like watching the NBA playoffs with just a few pixels lit on your television set. It’s possible, but you’re really missing the full, nuanced story. mediaQuant can provide both the big-picture and granular view on players, athletes, and brands alike.
You may have read Scott Shane’s recent New York Times article concerning President Trump’s misguided claim that the media has been lax in its coverage of terrorism. Credible experts in terrorism studies unanimously refuted the claim, and we have the media metrics to back them up.
mediaQuant tracks the earned media coverage of thousands of news topics, including terrorism, with historical data going back 4 years. We track and report media mentions across global print, broadcast, and online segments, as well as calculate a comparative media rating, by indexing these mentions against the 4,000+ other topics we track.
As the accompanying graphic illustrates, media coverage of terrorism has not declined over the last 4-years. It’s currently at an extremely high media rating of 96 (out of 100; President Trump is a 99). It received more than 5.5 million mentions last month. The topic has been media-ranked #1 or #2 in the crowded U.S. Politics sector over the preceding 12 month period. It has consistently held a top-5 position among competing headlines for political news coverage.
Two other related topics receive similarly strong and sustained coverage in the news — U.S. national security (95 / no change) and Islamic extremism (89 / no change).
Like terrorism coverage, national security stories have also been consistently increasing over the prior 4-year period, actually up +3 percent over the prior year and +4 percent over 4 years. And while the growth of coverage of Islamic extremism has been flat over the prior year, it is up +5 percent over the prior 4-year news cycle.
It’s important to keep in mind that media ratings and coverage metrics this high are difficult to improve upon. There just isn’t that much more room to squeeze additional coverage into the existing news flow. In summary, looking at just how much coverage has occurred over both the long- and near-term, the President’s claim of an underplayed narrative around terrorism in not borne out in the factual (vs. “alternative”) facts.
Waymo, Google’s newly re-branded self-driving car offering, is off to a great start across earned media channels. Way to go Waymo!
Back in December, the “Google Self-Driving Car Project” became a subsidiary under parent Alphabet, Inc., and was renamed Waymo — a name derived from its mission of finding “a new way forward in mobility.” This clever branding that should help distinguish the amazing technology and innovation under-the-hood.
Let’s look at Waymo’s media trajectory.
* Media rating of 65. At 65, its media rating (0-100 comparative score of visibility) is down -3 points over the prior-month rating of 68, which was a 4-year high. However, its year-over-year increase is a whopping 51%. This all translates into surging media momentum, meaning month-over-month growth is outpacing yearly growth.
* Media rank of #3: In the very non-sexy-sounding Ground Transportation sector, the Waymo brand is ranked #3 behind Lyft and Uber. Kudos all around! In the Auto Brands sector, Waymo would be media-ranked #49. Wah wah wah …
* Media value of $140,048. Current month media value is very low, especially compared to Uber’s $53.3 million. Clearly greenfield opportunity for improvement as adoption of driverless cars (82 /+1) technology improves.
All in all an excellent media report card for Waymo! As a new brand under the Google umbrella, the success of the technology will be reflected in the growing media awareness and adoption by the broader automotive industry.
I’ll leave you with a comparison to Google Glass. With all due respect to its ground-breaking technology, the marketing and media hype surrounding the brand did not deliver. While the wearable technology trend is still quite prominent (81/+1), it’s showing signs of media fatigue with slowing year-over-year growth. There’s still some question as to whether Google Glass will find a receptive market, but in comparison to how Google is approaching driverless vehicles, the Waymo introduction seems way mo’ betta’.
The topic of fake news is currently pulling a media rating of 94 coming out of January, up +1 over December and +40 percent over the prior year. It’s not surprising that the cumulative 4-year growth in coverage is an amazing +23 percent. It is one of many disturbing topics (vote rigging, Russian hacking) to emerge from the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Orwell could not have imagined the internet and its role in distributing fake news. Reality check please!
To provide some perspective on how much coverage the topic of fake news has garnered, let’s take a quick look at similar ratings from other subjects covered in the news.
Take media magnet Kim Kardashian. Ms. Kardashian’s January 2017 media rating is 92, just 2 points shy of the “fake news” topic. You might recall that last October Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in Paris, generating considerable media coverage for the the already well-covered celebrity. The Kardashian brand hit a rating high of 94.
All the buzz around “fake news” and “alternative facts” and the debunking of evidence-based reality is indeed startling, a rotten apple that could undermine the reputation and legitimacy of regular news sources. If legitimate news loses credible value, then we’re all in for a heap of trouble. Tracking the trajectory and media values behind this topic can help determine whether it is gaining or losing its own credible grip on the media narrative.
Comments Off on A Media Post-Mortem on the 2016 Presidential Election
Much has been said, and will continue to be dissected and debated, about the role of the media in buoying Donald Trump to the Presidency. While “free media” has long played an important role in our democracy by fostering political discourse and disseminating electoral information, the shear enormity of coverage on Trump puts a spotlight on how the media may have influenced the course of the election.
Many factors are at play to be sure. Fair, balanced, editorial-driven coverage seems to be taking a back seat in the 24-7 competitive world of corporate-owned media. And more and more American voters are getting their news from unvetted social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Then along comes Donald J. Trump, an uncensored political outsider, real estate mogul billionaire with an outsized brand pedigree from reality TV and entertainment tabloids.
We’ll make no causal relationships or predictions, but let’s look at the metrics for the most media-focused election spectacle this country has ever witnessed.
Free media value total: Trump = $4.96 billion vs. Clinton = $3.24 billion
I hesitate to use the term “free media”, because Donald Trump earned his media coverage. He earned it from his bombastic and insulting statements, he earned it from pulling in massive crowds to his rallies, and he earned it from winning primary after primary. Whether by design or accident, he bypassed paid advertising to bask in the attention and validation of a 24-hour news cycle.
The chart above breaks down the media segments that comprise Trump’s and Clinton’s $4.96 billion and $3.24 billion in media value respectively from the preceding 12-month period. Trump outpaced Clinton in every media segment, earning 53% more media value overall, with the starkest percent difference coming from Twitter with 142% more media value.
Trump media highlights
Click to enlarge.
• Media rating: Trump entered the election with a high media rating (comparative 0-100 measure of prominence), at around 80 points. He never conceded rating ground over the entire 12-month period, earning 647 million media mentions over the past 12 months.
• Media segments: Trump displayed no weaknesses in any media segments, even outside U.S. media markets.
• Media sentiment continued to skew negative for Trump with significant negative value at 23% for the latest media period. However, we’ve consistently seen sentiment play a minor role in the ebb and flow of media volumes around brands, topics, and influencers. The PR adage of “any news is good news” appeared to be the case in Donald Trump coverage.
Clinton media highlights
Click to enlarge.
Hillary Clinton crossed the election finish line at $3.24 billion in media value for the trailing 12-months, nearly $2.5 billion behind Trump. From a media rating perspective, the Democratic nominee spent much of the primary and post-primary period trailing her Republican rival by 5-7 rating points. It was not until the Convention when Clinton pulled close to Trump’s then 98 rating figure.
• Media rating: Clinton was already riding high media ratings at 90 points given her existing draw as Secretary of State.
• Media segments: Like Trump, Clinton was comparatively strong in all media segments.
• Media sentiment continued to show a very small negative and positive coverage component, with the majority of earned media falling in the “neutral” range.
• Media momentum: Clinton was beginning to see a slight increase in media momentum over the last few months, but it may have come too late in the election to make a significant difference.
The 2016 election pointed to something we already knew, but needed confirmation on a national and global scale: earned media, both social and traditional, is significantly more effective in driving market awareness then paid media (advertising). During the GOP primary, anti-Trump groups within the GOP spent nearly $30 million in advertising to unseat Donald Trump as the party’s potential nominee! But during the same period Trump drove $400 million in high-stakes news coverage – without spending a dime.
With Donald Trump, we now have a good benchmark for what ubiquitous media coverage looks like. Compared with 2012, Trump earned more than three and a half times (3.5x) the media value of Barack Obama and more than six times (6x) that of Mitt Romney. Time will tell if Trump’s media benchmarks prove the exception or the rule.