Panarc's Media Coverage Analysis service
a personal historical note from Paul Georgiou,
founder and MD of Panarc International
In 1978, after several years working as marketing manager and board member of Visnews (now Reuters TV), it struck me that there must be a better way of exercising editorial judgement than relying on the gut instinct of an editor-in-chief. Surely, with the advent of relatively cheap computer processing power, it must be possible to evaluate the content of media coverage in a more systematic and objective manner.
The idea of media coverage analysis was born.
I took the concept to the board of Visnews but they decided that, although an interesting idea, it was not commercially viable.
Undeterred, I decided to end my life as an employee and to set up my own business. For five years I lived on freelance consultancy work, all the while promoting (unsuccessfully) the idea of media coverage analysis. It seemed Visnews was right. Until I managed to persuade a foreign government that they needed to know what the Western media (television, radio and the press) were saying about their country and the main issues in which it was involved. I signed a contract for one year. The contract ran for 20 years. Other contracts with the government of half a dozen other foreign countries followed.
As a devout believer in second strings, after two or three years, I thought we should start selling the idea to UK companies. Surely they needed to know what the media were doing to them and to their brands.
Our first client was British Gas, closely followed by BT. These were for us the golden years. There was no competition - a perfect but inevitably transient marketing scenario.
After two or three years, the competition arrived. Happily the market expanded. Banks, charities, telecoms companies and, especially, the BBC kept us busy.
Then we managed to realise our original goal. We sold the service to the UK government. The British Government, under Tony Blair, was highly sensitive to how the media treated them. Panarc ended up working for most of the major UK Government departments, producing analytical reports which identified the key issues and assessed the likely effect of the coverage on the audiences it reached.
For a list of Panarc's clients for MCA, click here.
The business evolved. It became a key service for public relations departments which seized on it as a means of quantifying the reach and likely effect of their efforts to influence the media, a narrower objective than the one on which our service was based. Today, MCA is known as media evaluation. It is now an established professional management information service for PR departments, both in the UK and abroad.