The PRSV White Paper provides background to PRSV, why it’s necessary and how it works.  Download the PDF now:


The PRSV for media coverage algorithm is now available here.


For over 25 years the public relations industry has been calling for the media evaluation industry to provide a robust and credible way to measure the financial returns delivered by media coverage and finally banish the discredited AVE (advertising value equivalent).  PRSV Media Analysis delivers this by taking advantage of the opportunities created by the widespread use of ‘earned media’.

PRSV Media Analysis is based on two simple principles:

  1. The coverage being analysed must reflect what audiences are most likely to see, read, listen-to or watch. This might seem obvious but existing services evaluate all coverage, regardless of its relevance or audience, which is both wasteful and can lead to misleading results.
  1. Any financial valuation must be based on freely available, market-driven pricing and be completely transparent.


How We Select the Coverage to be Analysed

Existing media evaluation companies base their costs on the volume of coverage they analyse.  This is highly flawed because of something called a ‘power law’, more commonly referred to as the ‘80/20’ rule.  In simple terms, this means that 80% or more of the effectiveness of media relations is delivered by just 20% or less of the coverage it generates.

This has two negative consequences.  First, it means that clients are paying far more for more media analysis than they actually need to determine the effectiveness of their media relations; and, second, that only 20% of that analysis is focusing on what really matters.  To make matters even worse, the remaining 80% has the potential to bias results in favour of what is least likely to be effective.

For these reasons, PRSV Media Analysis charges exactly the same regardless of the volume of coverage we analyse: nothing.  In case you think you might have misread that, let us repeat it: you pay nothing for the media coverage being analysed, regardless of volume.  All of our costs are based on the media analysis itself, not the coverage.  So how do we ensure that the coverage we do analyse is the most relevant?

The vast majority of media coverage is now online.  Many media are now only available online, with those that still use print also offering online versions.  In fact, most online media have significantly higher audiences than their hard copy versions, which is hardly surprising given that online news is available instantaneously.  Put simply, if you want to capture timely coverage of greatest interest to an audience by far the best way to achieve this is through online media coverage, which is also going to include 95% of coverage that appears in print.

The second way that PRSV Media Analysis focuses on media coverage of greatest interest to audiences is by sourcing it through Google News.  In addition to covering a vast number of news sources nationally, locally and globally, Google News also covers all vertical sectors and blogs, taking account of the popularity of its sources as well as the stories themselves.

The PRSV Media Analysis approach means we can also look back in time, capturing and analysing media coverage from more than 10 years ago.   This can be very useful, for instance to understand how trends have developed or themes and issues have changed over the longer term.


Assessing the Audience and Financial Value of Media Coverage

Crescendo has built significant expertise in the application of its ‘Public Relations Search Value’ (PRSV), which was launched in 2016 and is now used by an increasing number of organisations, including one of the world’s biggest companies.  It is this expertise that Crescendo is now applying to media evaluation, enabling the financial return from media coverage to be determined robustly without resorting to the discredited AVE (advertising value equivalent).

PRSV takes advantage of ‘traffic value’, which was developed by the SEO (search engine optimisation) industry to place a financial value on the number of people who visit a website.  Based on open market rates from keyword auctions carried out by search engines such as Google, traffic values are freely available for every single website on the Internet.  Traffic value is perfect for use in PR as public relations and SEO converge more and more closely.

PRSV Media Analysis combines a media site’s traffic value with the number of people who both see and read a piece of coverage appearing on it, from which its value can be determined.  Further benefits of this approach, therefore, are that PRSV Media Analysis provides far more robust audience data while the financial return for coverage directly reflects the business benefits that will be gained from it.


How We Carry out the Analysis

Computers are great at some things and terrible at others.  So, too, are humans.  We have developed a suite of tools that enable us to combine the most effective blend of automation and human analysis, which we use to deliver actionable insights and meaningful reports to achieve business objectives.

Crescendo’s expertise takes advantage of sophisticated text mining capabilities and language ‘framing’ to determine the level of semantic association between an organisation and its key messages or themes.  This way, we can look at how effectively key messages that an organisation is proactively seeking to deliver are actually being received by stakeholders.

We can also identify any ‘unplanned’ messages that stakeholders are receiving and determine gaps between how the organisation wants to be perceived and how it is most likely being perceived by key audiences.  Such detailed analysis also enables us to identify what we call ‘undercurrents’ – topics and issues which might ultimately have a significant impact on reputation, but which are currently only producing a weak ‘signal’ in coverage.

PRSV Media Analysis can deliver near real-time reporting, typically within one to two hours of a news event breaking.  This is ideal for crisis management, where events can unfold unpredictably and very quickly, and also for tracking activities such as media launches, enabling plans to be fine-tuned effectively in real-time.


How We Measure Sentiment

All organisations want to understand whether their media coverage is positive or negative.  For us, classifying content as positive or negative reveals very little.  Instead, we analyse emotional impact, which provides much richer and deeper insight that enables far greater control to be exercised over communication activities.

For instance, we frequently find that fear or sadness lie at the heart of what would otherwise be classed simply as negative impact, enabling far more sensitive and appropriate responses to be applied than would otherwise be the case.  Independently tested and endorsed by Cranfield University, one of the world’s leading business schools, our emotion analysis is based on Ekman’s well-established and trusted classification of six key emotions: anger, happiness, sadness, fear, surprise and disgust.

This approach allows far more accurate feedback on sentiment of media coverage for organisations and the stories they want to tell.  Last but not least, we determine sentiment using a combination of automated and human analysis, taking advantage of the benefits of each, as appropriate.  For instance, automated systems are vastly superior to humans at analysing how language is ‘framed’ by keywords in large volumes of text, but even here we carry out human checks to maintain accuracy.

Because we measure audiences for every single piece of coverage we can also determine reach, enabling likely exposure to be taken into account when decisions have to be made over the likely impact of any unfavourable coverage.  For instance, if audience reach for any potentially damaging coverage is small it might be decided that the best course of action is to do nothing as response can often exacerbate a sensitive situation.  Coverage and exposure can then be tracked – in near real-time if required – and the position continuously assessed so that timely decisions can be taken accordingly.


Competitor and ‘Under-current’ Analysis

Understanding competitors’ media coverage is just as important as understanding your own.  Knowing what they are offering is vital for differentiation while understanding their strengths and weaknesses enables threats to be addressed and opportunities to be exploited.  Another major benefit of PRSV Media Analysis is that it can capture competitors’ media coverage and analyse it in as much detail as required, providing unprecedented intelligence across whole sectors if required.

Under-current analysis is extremely useful for providing early warning of unplanned messages, issues or themes with the potential to damage reputation.  Conversely, it can identify potential opportunities at an early stage and provide crucial competitive advantage.


Media and Journalists

PRSV Media Analysis determines how different messages, themes and issues are most likely to be covered by individual media and journalists, enabling activities to be tailored and targeted accordingly.  Combining this with financial return and audience data also enables ROI and reach to be maximised, respectively.


In Summary

PRSV Media Analysis delivers major benefits to support your PR and marketing activities:

  1. Robust measurement of financial returns from media coverage enables robust and credible ROI of PR activity to be determined and compared with any other marketing or business activity
  2. Measuring what audiences actually see and read focuses effort on what works best and maximises cost-effectiveness
  3. Audience volumes – and therefore reach – enables the success of different activities to be determined and compared
  4. Breaking out key messages, themes and issues by audience reach provides insight and understanding based on what audiences are seeing and reading
  5. Near real-time analysis and reporting allow timely decisions to be taken based on the most up-to-date information available
  6. Competitor activity can be analysed in as much detail as required, enabling threats to be addressed and opportunities to be exploited
  7. Under-current analysis increases the likelihood of revealing potentially damaging messages, issues or themes at the earliest stages. It can also identify potential opportunities, which can be developed and exploited for competitive advantage
  8. Revealing coverage by individual media and journalists enables activities to be tailored and targeted to maximise results
  9. Tracking results over time allows trends to be determined, up to 10 years into the past if necessary
  10. Making no charge for media coverage, regardless of volumes, minimises costs and maximises cost-effectiveness

Return to top