Are Co-Op SMTs Still Effective in Today’s Media Environment?

No doubt about it, broadcast public relations and how companies get the word out to the media (and ultimately the consumer) has changed drastically in the last several years.  And it’s definitely changed since I left network TV production 15 years ago and started producing for corporate clients.   The shift in broadcast media tools and newsrooms’ colder reception to these tools leaves a lot of public relations experts asking, “Are co-op satellite media tours (SMTs) still effective in today’s media world?” Although this small industry has seen some ups and downs largely due to an unwarranted and biased smear campaign by the Center for Media & Democracy, it’s constantly evolving.  Adjustments are constantly being made to ensure the media is getting what it wants and that all outlets of new media are being used effectively too.

The ultimate question is are you and your broadcast public relations tactics evolving to meet the changes of how public relation efforts are being delivered to the media and are SMTs still viable with new forms of media available to reach the consumer?  There are definitely a lot of new media tools available for your P.R. toolkit.

Internet Media Tours and Social Media.  Some stars with new sizzle in broadcast public relations devices include internet media tours and social media campaigns.  First, I will be blogging about this topic soon, but internet media tours may be the hot new flavor of broadcast P.R., but as someone who has one of the top ranked travel websites I can tell you that they are way overpriced for your true audience reach and the numbers being reported are very distorted. Second, social media has some amazing possibilities (I currently have over 2700 Twitter Followers as @TravelProducer and a Klout score of 62), but even if you’re using social media successfully, it’s still only one piece of the publicity outreach machine you need to be pursuing to maximize any public relations campaign.

All social media has done is increase our options in a similar way that the 500 television stations increased viewing options on TV.  There is no one single way to reach your audience, but an editorial feature of a product, expert or brand in broadcast media continues to the be gold standard to add credibility to your name.  As much as viewing habits are shifting and diversifying to the internet & mobile phones, TV is not only still the originator of most of the news, but it’s still the driving force of credibility.  You see, almost anyone can get featured on the internet these days, but it’s still an elite group that gets featured on television news.

What About Audience Reach and Consumer Impressions.  As a producer, in addition to being creative, I’m also a numbers person and clients are very concerned about audience reach (i.e. consumer impressions).  Let’s talk about audience reach numbers then but let’s ask a few questions first:  What’s the audience reach for the top rated prime time show?  What time of the day are these shows broadcast?  Should a satellite media tour (SMT) expect to reach the same amount of audience numbers that the top rated prime time show gets?  I think you can see where I’m going with this.

The top rated shows on TV in general will get up to 15 million viewers on average during the winter when everyone is home and the numbers can drop almost in half during the summer when the weather is good and people are out enjoying the nice weather instead of being glued to the tube.  Sure, you’ll hear the finale of <i>American Idol</I> will get high audience reach numbers exceeding those averages, but they are the exception to average Nielsen ratings.

So continuing on the numbers theme.  Let’s say a client pays a participation fee on the high end of $15,000 for a Co-Op SMT and the company guarantees an audience reach of seven million viewers (including sponsored content on syndicated television programs).  How much does it cost to reach each viewer (not the CPM, but each viewer)?  The answer is easy.  It only costs $0.002 to reach each viewer – way less than a penny per person.  Can any company produce a printed brochure with product information, purchase mailing lists and place stamps on envelopes to seven million people for that price?  Can you produce a commercial and purchase airtime for a DRTV spot for that amount per viewer?  Even if you could (which you can’t), would the product have the same credibility as the editorial news feature?

It All Boils Down to Credibility.  So the question remains: are Co-Op SMTs still effective in today’s media world?  Given the audience reach results for the dollar value, they’re still a very good bang for your buck.  It’s important to reiterate that no amount of advertising can give your product the credibility that an editorial feature on a television program can.

To find out more about Co-Op Satellite Media Tours and broadcast public relations options, visit us at CMP Media Cafe.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Copyright (c) 2011. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.

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