Trump Claims of Terror Underplayed in Media is Just “Sad”

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 Off to a Brand New Start

By on February 8, 2017 in Auto Brands, Ground Transportation, Technology Trends

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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’. 


A Factual Blog Post About Fake News

By on February 7, 2017 in 2016 Election, Politics U.S.


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There’s something strange about measuring the amount of news coverage given to the topic of “fake news” (not the actual fake news itself).

We won’t expound on the economic or political motivations behind this scourge (focusing instead on quantitative FACTS), but here are some illuminating links:

The numbers behind the fake news topic:

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.

A Media Post-Mortem on the 2016 Presidential Election

By on November 14, 2016 in 2016 Election

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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.



Rising media coverage for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Aducanumab

By on October 18, 2016 in Condition and Disease Trends, Prescription Drug Brands

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I have a keen interest in medical developments around curing or slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s. Sadly, my father died this year of complications from the disease, after an amazing, well-lived life. It’s articles like this one in The Telegraph that give me hope, providing a glimpse into the ground-breaking work being done to address the disease.

So it is with some satisfaction and relief to report that media attention continues to climb around Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Biogen’s Aducanumab — one of the most promising treatments the medical community has seen in nearly 25 years of clinical trials. Let’s take a look at the numbers behind the news.

Coverage around Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and drug treatments continues to build on strong trailing 12-month gains. As you can see from the media rating trend for Aducanumab, the level of interest before and during the initial clinical trials is gaining momentum.

However, coverage is strong in traditional media segments only, and very low in social and online channels. While Twitter coverage is up +30 points over the prior month, the entire online media group is well behind print, broadcast and regional publications. This might reflect online’s appeal to a younger and consumer-oriented audience, whereas Aducanumab’s stage is the medical research community and it addresses a disease in the elderly. One might also suspect Biogen’s naming of the drug has done little to keep it front-and-center outside the medical community.

Even while industry insiders point to weak clinical results that don’t necessarily correlate to reducing the progression of patients’ cognitive decline, the media continues to gush on the promise of this new drug, Media momentum remains strong , with the drug advancing +15 rating points to close September at 44.

Media attention on Alzheimer’s itself continues its strong rebound after a precarious decline over 2014/2015. Media coverage is up +1 point to a very strong 86 rating. More importantly, coverage has recovered +20% over the same period in 2015. Cumulative 12-month media mentions are very strong at 2.2 million with media value closing at $31 million for the same period. Alzheimer’s story lines are ranked #2 in the Seniors Issues & Trends sector and up +5 positions to #13 in the broad Conditions & Disease sector.

I’ve included Parkinson’s because it’s pulled into the broader coverage on dementia. Interestingly, the media rating curve on Parkinson’s did not go through the 2014/2015 trough experienced by Alzheimer’s. Data-driven pharma product/brand managers should be monitoring and driving media attention and story lines for the conditions their drugs treat. Are these conditions earning increased coverage, and if so, in which segments? Within the competitive media space for ink and bits, how are these diseases faring next to other conditions and diseases?

Parkinson’s continues to garner media attention, showing a gradual rating improvement over the preceding 4-year period. Only within the last 4 months has the disease seen some deterioration in media momentum. While its rating is off -4 points over the prior month, it’s strong across all media segments. Most of the September decline occurred within the consumer media segment (consumer-focused print publications) which declined -16 points over the prior month to close at 69. Major US metro papers also showed some softening, off -9 points from the prior period.

While it’s too late for my father to benefit from drugs like Aducanumab, there are millions suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s who could see their lives progress and end very differently from my father’s. My dad was an amazing engineer, one of the best tool designers, an Italian craftsman who knew the math and physics behind everything he worked on. I’m sure he’s looking over the shoulders of the many scientists and medical professionals who have devoted their entire lives to addressing this dreaded disease, hoping their efforts solve a medical puzzle that claimed his, his father’s, and his brothers’ lives.



NBC Advertising Profit vs. Earned Media Value at Rio

By on September 23, 2016 in Olympic Athletes

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To no one’s surprise, the 2016 Rio Olympics were very good for NBC advertising. While audience and rating numbers were about 15% below the London games, NBC generated significantly more ad revenue and profit in Rio. I’ll leave the implications of lower ratings but higher fees to the media planners, but overall there was a lot money made during the Rio broadcast, with NBC reportedly earning $250 million in profit off of $1.2 billion in ad revenue.

So how did all that advertising compare to the earned media values of Olympic athletes? We look at just 15 of the thousands of Rio participants to see how their media values — the monetized value of their coverage in print, broadcast, and online earned media  — compare to the $250 million NBC earned at the 2016 Games. The list is far from complete, but these athletes represent the top 15 media value earners during the August Olympic media period. We also include their July values given the run-up coverage in the news.

Some highlights:

  • The total media value for our 15 Olympians came in at $202 million for the 2 month period (July/August 2016).
  • Ryan Lochte just edged out Usain Bolt for the #1 spot, earning $62 million in media value vs. Bolt’s $61 million.
  • The most decorated Olympian in the history of the Games, Michael Phelps, ended the 2-month period with a robust $22 million.
  • When it came to the top female media values there was no surprise in Simone Biles earning ~$14 million, just above the already top media athlete Serena Williams at $13 million.

The table below provides the July/August media values. (Detailed analytics on the entire Olympic Athlete sector are available by subscription via our analytic dashboards. At $202 million, the earned media value for just the top-15 media value earners came in darn close to NBC’s record profit from Olympic coverage!

Athlete Media Value for July & August 2016 Endorsements
NBC Advertising Revenue vs. Earned Media at Rio Ryan Lochte $62,185,015 Speedo, Ralph Lauren
Usain Bolt $61,282,863 Puma, Hublot, Virgin Media, Gatorade, Visa, Nissan, Comcast, Samsung
Michael Phelps $22,298,626 Under Armor, Omega,Aqua Sphere, Sol Republic
Simone Biles $13,801,364 Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s, United Airlines, Nike, Hershey’s
Serena Williams $12,684,249 Nike, Gatorade
Andy Murray $10,427,897 Under Armor, Standard Life, RADO, Jaguar, Head
  Katie Ledecky $6,169,307 None (college attendance)
  Kevin Durant $4,316,479 Nike, Beats By Dre, American Family Insurance, Sonic, Panini
  Gabby Douglas $2,194,804 Procter & Gamble (Olay, Covergirl, Pantene), Kellogg’s
  Venus Williams $1,842,007 Nike, Wilson, Gatorade
  Carmelo Anthony $1,687,831 Jordan/Nike,SMS Audio, Panini, Draft Kings, Las Vegas Sands
  Justin Gatlin $1,536,725 Nike, Crisper (restaurant chain)
  Kerri Walsh $1,017,781 Speedo, Gatorade, Sirrus,Halls,Wilson,Visa,Bolle
  Mark Cavendish $598,835 Nike, Jaguar, Oakley
  Marta Vieira da Silva $230,291 Coca-Cola
15 Athlete Total Media Value $202,274,074