A national newspaper has requested information on the cost of how we evaluate the city council’s media coverage. Our full response and comment on the importance of tracking whether our messages are reaching residents is as follows:
The total spend of the last 5 financial years on media monitoring is £108,915.16, broken down by financial year:
A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “In recognition of reduced council budgets as a result of central government cuts since 2010, no stone has been left unturned by the council to make savings. This is reflected by the fact that spend on media monitoring was scaled back and has reduced by 84 per cent since then.
“There remains a need for some media monitoring to be carried out, to ensure the council’s important information to residents can be evaluated to see if it is reaching the public and other target audiences and so we can ensure any future communications work is refined to make it even more effective.. The council does not have the in-house resources to carry this out . Using an external contractor enables us to do this efficiently.
“The other option would be to employ people specifically for this task, to watch every single news bulletin on every single broadcast station and to subscribe to every newspaper in the UK and thousands of different magazines, which would then need to be read and evaluated. This cost would be many, many times more than the modest fee we pay and would clearly not represent best value for the taxpayer.
“Last year alone, 10,174 items from the media relating to the council were monitored and evaluated along with 71,402 social media mentions.”