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Media and PR Influencers Survey Findings


Presented by Leon Hudson, General Manager, South East Asia

Analysis by Sanjay Khanna, Market Research Manager
August 2010
Media Monitors - Thought Leadership
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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


8) CONCLUSIONS and Recommendations

Making Sense of the Media

1. About the survey

About the Survey
Survey background Survey Objectives  junior, middle and senior management
Surveys conducted in As part of our thought leadership series, levels represented from small, medium
and large organisations
Malaysia (in collaboration with Public Asia Media Monitors has surveyed PR
Relations Consultants’ Association of practitioners and media professionals in  PR/Communications qualifications is
Malaysia) and Malaysia and Singapore markets. The major the highest level of qualification for
objectives of the survey are to find out 40% respondents
1. media that are considered most  Previous role most likely in
Survey Period: 15 June to 9 July 2010
influential by the PR professionals, PR/Communications – only ~13% have
Online survey ~ 10 min; closed-ended had held a journalism role previously
questions, tick one/more as applicable 2. current challenges faced by PR/media
professionals  Median age is ~37 years, with a median
Two separate surveys: with some common ~10 years of experience in
questions 3. state of the relationship between the
PR professionals and media PR/Communications
Public Relations (PR) professionals: in- professionals and areas where it could  Gender balance: more female
house and agency be improved practitioners overall, in-house
Media professionals: Press, Broadcast, 4. media preferences for getting practitioners’ comprise ~60%
Online, News-wires, Bloggers information from PR practitioners female/40% male and agency sample
378 completed surveys in total: has an equal representation of both
Key survey findings are included as the
Demographics - Media professionals:
Executive Summary on the following pages
and detailed findings have been graphically  69 respondents (journalists, writers,
presented in the report that follows. correspondents,editorial,management
staff) from publications, online news
publications and broadcast stations.
Demographics - PR professionals: Twelve bloggers are also included
> 309 respondents in total (Malaysia +  Unlike PR sample, the gender
Singapore) breakdown indicates a skew towards
> A mix of agency (1/3) and in-house male gender (64% of the sample)
professionals (2/3)  Median age ~39 years; 12 years
experience in media/communications

2. Executive Summary

Executive Summary – Key Take-outs
The greatest challenge faced by the while the penetration of social media Relationship between the two
PR profession in Malaysia is to raise usage is high as well. professions is and has been tenuous.
the profile of the sector and to The biggest challenge in Singapore is to There is scope for improvement by
demonstrate tangible value of PR clearly demonstrate the value of two–way communication on a timely
that impacts the bottom-line of an traditional as well as new media basis, where relevant and with
organisation. communications to demanding transparency. Finding a common
internal/external clients by using middle ground is a challenge but this
appropriate media monitoring and can be overcome by understanding the
PR professionals do not have much analysis tools and showing the needs and preferences and delivering
control over exogenous factors such as contribution to the bottom-line. accordingly – whether it is media
the domestic political and economic information (e.g. broad based industry
environment impacting the sector. trends provided with product news) or
However, factors such as talent Demonstrating the value of media providing a timely
management, demonstrable value acknowledgement and response to a
communications to the
through monitoring and analysis, media release.
managing the growing use of bottom-line of organisations
digital/social media and interaction with is the key …
the media might be well within the Two-way communication is
sphere of control of PR professionals. Media is comfortable with the use of required to understand the
technology for research / news-
gathering as well as providing online
needs and preferences …
Clients are more demanding of the
PR/communications practice in news content. However, the need of
Singapore and the profession is much the hour is to provide unique and More research in this area is
more accepted, recognised and more relevant online content that is recommended to uncover the dynamic
established here. Yet there is an interactive, user-generated content and growing needs and requirements of
apparent dichotomy - traditional media that is also more engaging for the in-house as well as agency practitioners
is still considered relatively more target audience. and media professionals.
influential compared to that in Malaysia,

Executive Summary – key findings
1. INFLUENTIAL MEDIA Most survey respondents who have used
digital /social media believe that this
Traditional media (especially newspapers Malaysia has become the medium
and television) are perceived to be most
influential for communicating with the
‘poster-child for the >provides a wider reach
target audience in both markets, as transformative power of >reaches a niche target audience such as
reported by PR professionals in the survey. social media.’ young adults
The key reasons are: >allows the organisation to engage
>traditional media is considered relevant directly with the audience and
to the target audience by a majority of >works faster, more effectively and
respondents, relatively more in >is already performing the social efficiently
Singapore than in Malaysia monitoring/ watch-dog role. This
>traditional media is also perceived watch-dog role has been held by Looking into the future, it is highly likely
better on quality of analysis and opinion traditional media ever since the that the future media mix for an
as compared to digital/social media evolution of media. Media organisation would incorporate both
Communicating with the target audience professionals responses also support traditional media and digital/social media.
using digital/social media is, however quite this finding as well. It would also work best if communications
common (80% of respondents reported Recently the PR week commented that through these two channels can be
using these media in the last 12 months as Malaysia has in fact become the ‘poster- integrated. Media intermediation is also
part of their communication strategy). child for the transformative power of social becoming important and organisations can
These new media are seen to be relatively media.’ (see slide 23) use this to get more media attention than
more influential than magazines, radio, was ever possible through using just press
outdoor and below-the-line media Singapore PR: Perceptions of traditional releases and focussed pitching in the past.
media are better on
Malaysia PR: Malaysia PR professionals >relevance to target audience
have much better perceptions of >quality of analysis and opinion and Future media mix will
digital/social media than their Singapore >being balanced and unbiased incorporate both
counterparts. In Malaysia, digital/social
However respondents are equally divided traditional as well as
media is perceived to be
when asked to compare traditional media
>balanced/unbiased compared to to social media for the social watch-dog digital/social media …
traditional media and role
Executive Summary – key findings
2. CHALLENGES asked “as a consumer of news, would you Singapore PR: In contrast, recognition and
pay for online news content?”. commitment are not viewed as major
Survey respondents were asked - to pick
Experts have opined that consumption of challenges in Singapore, possibly due to PR /
one challenge that they believe is the
online news is likely to grow as it is a Communications being a mature, relatively
‘greatest challenge’ for them as PR/media
dynamic medium and news is delivered real- well established and recognised sector in
professionals, from amongst the several
time. But online news is also seen by many Singapore. However, a challenge that ranks
challenges listed on the questionnaire.
as a commodity - media pay-walls are likely high is
In both the markets, PR professionals’
to face resistance unless niche, original and >dealing with demanding
greatest challenges are
unique content can be delivered in a cost internal/external clients who expect
>determining the return on investment of
effective and efficient way. greater value from PR
PR campaigns and
>managing social media discussion
Malaysia PR: In Malaysia, other challenges In Malaysia, a question about PR
Dealing with traditional media only
voiced by respondents are accreditation and implementation of the
interested in paid content is also mentioned
>recognition of the strategic role of PR proposed PR Act was asked. There is
as one of the top challenges.
>getting commitment from senior consensus within the two groups i.e. in-
The greatest challenges for media house and agency professionals , but
management (although 60%
professionals are polarised perceptions exist between the two
respondents indicate a direct line of
>declining audience/circulation groups
relationship of their PR /
>declining advertising revenues and Communications head to the CEO) >Would mandatory PR accreditation
>working with limited budgets/resources raise PR industry standards? (only in-
These three challenges are related and house PR professionals are in favour)
dependent on each other. Another survey >Should PR Act be implemented? (only
finding puts a context to the above finding. in-house PR professionals are in favour)
The proposed and much publicised Determining the Return
business/revenue model for traditional on investment (ROI) of GFC and its impact: GFC has had its impact
media especially for publications is charging PR campaigns is the on PR agency revenues and in-house
for online content or ‘putting up the pay- communication budgets but optimism is
walls’. More than 60% of all respondents greatest challenge for
returning in line with the recovery in the
answered in the negative when PR professionals broader economy.

Executive Summary – key findings
3. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PR AND >perceived low level of familiarity with Less than 50% of the
MEDIA PROFESSIONALS media outlets/broadcast stations and
>lack of authenticity media releases are
The above findings are re-inforced by ‘timely’ and ‘relevant’
This section of the survey explored the
responses to another question where more
overall experience and state of relationship
than half the media respondents rate less
that PR professionals have with traditional
than 50% of the media releases received as
media professionals and vice versa. consider is that most media professionals
‘timely’ and ‘relevant’.
work with multiple platforms nowadays. So
PR professionals: The overall experience there is a need to customise media releases
Looking at the above aspects impacting the to suit each of these platforms - including
with media is rated positive in both the
overall relationship between the two tailoring these to the bloggers’ needs.
markets. Accuracy in reporting by the media
professions, it is evident that a few of these (Most bloggers surveyed, welcome contact
(particularly in Singapore) and availability to
are communication issues in itself (such as with PR professionals.)
discuss story ideas are seen as good or fair by
awareness of deadlines) that can be
most respondents. Face-to-face communications seems to
resolved with both sides. finding a middle
However, in both markets PR professionals have a role to play as well - events
ground and communicating openly.
expect /conferences/media visits are perceived
>better acknowledgement of media effective due to
information sent 4. MEDIA PREFERENCES >the direct interaction with company
>better acceptance of follow-up by media Media releases sent through e-mail are the /client PR staff
most preferred means of contact by the >the opportunity to interview/ask
media because most media professionals questions and
Media professionals are not so positive in
their overall experience rating of PR are seldom available at their work-place. >to get first hand information/visuals
professionals. Attributes that influence this This also allows the media to review the related to the product/service/process
rating are information unobtrusively and judge the being showcased
newsworthiness independently. As Media professionals are most interested in
>little awareness of deadlines
mentioned above, a majority of media industry trends followed by
>perceived lack of understanding of topics releases currently need to improve in terms
company/product news. Research sources
covered by media of timeliness and relevance. most used are news websites/portals,
Another factor for PR professionals to traditional media and corporate websites.

3.1 Survey respondents’ profile
PR professionals

Current Role - PR professionals

Wide cross-section of PR professionals included n = 309

Organisation size - PR professionals

Malaysia, n = 118
Small , medium and large organisations represented Singapore, n = 108

Management level - PR professionals

Influential PR professionals from all levels of management n = 258

Reporting Relationship of PR Head to CEO

No line
dotted line
14% Direct hard
Indirect line

6 in 10 Head of PR/Communications have a direct, hard line of reporting to

the CEO n = 217

Highest Level of Education – PR professionals
Secondary Bachelors -
School or Mass
under Comms/Media
3% 16%

Masters - other Grad. Cert.-

15% Mass

Masters - Mass
Bachelors - Comms/Media
other 10%

~40% have PR academic qualifications as their highest level of education n = 309

Gender - PR professionals

Female gender predominant in PR;

Agency professionals: 50 / 50 split, In-house: 60% F, 40% M n = 256

3.2 Survey respondents profile
- Media professionals

Gender – Media Professionals

Gender balance is quite different between the two professions n = 50

Current Role – Media Professionals

Cross-section of editorial/non editorial staff and bloggers included n = 69

Media platforms

Most media professionals now work across multiple platforms (avg. 2 platforms -
print and online common) n = 69

4. Influential Media

Influential Media – PR professionals



Online news 12%

sites 15%

Social media

Malaysia Singapore

n = 309

Singapore PR:
Traditional Media vs. Social/Digital Media

>Traditional media offers

 better quality of analysis and opinion (64% rated ‘better than’ social
 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

Malaysia PR:
Traditional Media vs. Social/Digital Media

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
>And seen to offer a better quality of analysis and opinion (41% respondents
rated ‘better’ and 34% ‘same as’ social media)
>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 …

Traditional Media vs. Social/Digital Media:

>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’)

5. Challenges

Greatest challenge – PR professionals

Campaign ROI
Managing social 13%
media 16%
Dealing w/ trad. 13%
media 13%
Commitment by 11%
mgmt. 3%
Demanding 6%
clients 15%
Malaysia Singapore

Demonstrating the strategic value of PR is the biggest challenge n = 309

PR Measurement: Media Monitoring and Analysis

Image Credit: Gauges and Dials by mag3737 n = 309

PR Measurement: Media Monitoring and Analysis

Image Credit: Gauges and Dials by mag3737 n = 309

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
>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%
>Compared to Singapore, slightly more impact on PR agency revenue: 40%
>Outlook for next 12m is positive in Malaysia as well (25% said ‘likely to go up’,
only 13% said ‘likely to decline’)

Malaysia only
Mandatory PR Accreditation Higher Standards?
Polarised Perceptions …
Would mandatory PR Accreditation promote higher standards?

Yes, 26% No, 66% 8%

In-house Yes, 61% No, 24% 15%

Yes No Don't know

n = 154

Malaysia only
Proposed Public Relations Act: Should it be implemented?
Polarised Perceptions …
Should the PR Act be implemented?

Yes, 16% No, 74% 10%

In-house Yes, 56% No, 24% 20%

Yes No Don't know

n = 154

Greatest challenge – Media professionals

n = 69

Attitude towards online news consumption

PR, n = 309
Q: As a consumer, would you pay for accessing news online? Media, n = 69

Nielsen study Feb 2010*

* 27000 respondents, 52 countries

6. Relationship snapshot:

PR professionals and Media professionals

Singapore PR:
Experience dealing with media professionals

Overall experience 45% 46% 5%

Reporting accuracy 8% 50% 38%

Availability to
6% 32% 48% 11%
Acceptance of
5% 35% 43% 14%
5% 35% 32% 17% 10%
of info
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 n = 155

Malaysia PR:
Experience dealing with media professionals

Overall experience 44% 47% 7%

Reporting accuracy 38% 54% 5%

Availability to
5% 37% 46% 9%
Acceptance of
31% 47% 16%
5% 33% 36% 19% 8%
of info
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 n = 154

Media professionals:
Experience dealing with PR professionals

Overall Experience 16% 56% 16%

Deadlines 22% 33% 25% 14%

Familiarity w/… 21% 44% 22% 11%

Authenticity 14% 54% 22% 10%

Understanding of… 17% 54% 21% 8%

Access to executives 5% 25% 40% 16% 8% 6%

Responsiveness 27% 54% 10% 8%

Excellent Good Fair Poor Very Poor Don't know

~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 n = 63

7. Media preferences

Which is the most preferred mode of contact?

n = 62

Which media relation activity is most effective overall ?

n = 61

Which story ideas interest media the most?

n = 60

Which research sources are preferred by media?

n = 59

8. Conclusions and Recommendations

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…

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 need to arrive timely and be devoid of ‘spin’
>Media releases sent through email preferred – simple/direct/largely un-
>Events/conferences have a role to play - allow face-to-face contact and industry
trends can be disseminated

Verbatim comments

SG: …. what the writers can gain from you

MY: Malaysian corporates have yet to reach in terms of press trips determine how
the level of sophistication as other markets much media interest you hold … it also
eg Singapore, HK. how much media dollars you spend with
the publications. Digital media, it is not
really developed in Singapore.
SG: Getting enough competent PR and
communications professionals in your SG: the role of PR should provide a guide
team or to serve your account …(is a into the tracking and measuring the
challenge) 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 SG: (We have) used digital/social media to
as an essential and strategic keep pace with changing information-
management tool receiving habits of audience

Verbatim comments

MY: PR practitioners failed to be

recognised … because they failed to SG : (challenge is … to come up with a medium
earn their seat at the … decision
making level. … must ensure that they
term PR strategy for the coming 3-5 years and
are not just cost centre but business provide a vision for PR value for business)
generating centre

MY: Relationship between the media and MY: Corp. Comm. /PR should be put under
PR professionals is a 2-way process - both MD/CEO … not under Marketing
have to work in partnership, and it's not …Marketing and PR are two different school
always the PR professional that has to of thoughts using different approaches in
lobby for stories. order to meet the goals of the company.

SG: Publications are leaning towards

newsmaker that has investment via
advertising or conference sponsorship

Thank you!

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