“Virtual Reality is an active medium, rather than a passive medium”: Q/A with Todd Murphy, Vice President, Universal Information Services

Todd Murphy, Vice President, Todd Murphy, Vice President, Universal Information Services

Todd Murphy, Vice President, Todd Murphy, Vice President, Universal Information Services

Todd Murphy, Vice President, Universal Information Services, shares in this post his views on predictive analytics, virtual reality and its possible implications for Media Monitoring and why Universal Information Services does preservation and what are the challenges.

Q: Predictive analytics is quickly becoming a key aspect for data-driven organizations like media monitors or PR agencies. What is your strategy going ahead?

TM: Since our solutions try to focus on the theme of “empowering the PR professional”, our research into predictive analytics centers around the correlation between tactics and outcomes.

Currently, we’re deep into a study to show how historical PR results can indicate specific tactics needed in order to affect future outcomes. In other words, for our analysis clients we believe we can reliably show what tactical moves they should make in order to achieve the results they want. For the PR practitioner, the basic cycle soon can be:

  1. Set Goals
  2. Formulate Strategy
  3. Review Results
  4. Modify Tactics
  5. Improve Performance
  6. Repeat…

Q: Virtual reality is coming to mainstream news. A great example is the VR app that New York Times, called NYT VR launched last November. What implications do you see for Media Monitoring?

TM: The bleeding edge of media monitoring and analysis has always been a dangerous place for our industry to try and make predictions. I recall back in 1991, when I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bob Waggoner pulled me aside and said, “Printed newspapers will be gone in five years”. Now Bob is one of the brightest minds in our industry, but while all the indicators were predicting that was a safe bet for him, in media nothing ever goes as planned.

More specifically, those designing the technology often fail to account for human nature and the persistence of behavior. Virtual Reality is an active medium, rather than a passive medium. I have to participate in order to take full advantage of the experience. Much like 3D television, it is not in our human nature to alter our behavior in order to enjoy an enhanced experience.

At most I anticipate consumers may dabble in VR news consumption, but PR professionals don’t need that experience in order to determine the effectiveness of their efforts. PR professionals only need to see the resulting data that tells them how effective their efforts have been and what tactics need modification. I believe VR will be a metric to track, but nothing more to media monitoring.

Q: Universal Information Services also provides digital preservation services. Why do preservation and what are the challenges?

TM: Universal Information Services developed a digital preservation department to help our clients, and others, with the digital dark age that is coming. I know Wikipedia is not a credible source, but they have a good definition of this digital dark age, as well as some good links to resources.

Basically, as a company that has been providing news monitoring since 1908, we found our clients had accumulated many media formats that were already impossible for them to use, or would soon be obsolete due to the lack of playback equipment.

We saw an opportunity to create an archive of legacy equipment that would allow us to assist colleges, museums, historical societies, and our clients with the process of restoring and preserving their valuable media assets for future generations. Our Digital Preservation team is not in the business of digitizing mountains of legal documents, but rather assisting organizations with the stabilization, restoration, and digitization of their most important information. Whether it is film, video, audio, or documents, much of that data will be lost forever if not preserved in a forward thinking format.

The greatest challenge is funding for the organizations that need this work performed. Nearly everyone recognizes the value, either for the future or near-term monetization, but many non-profit groups lack the funding needed. We’re also helping those institutions find the grants they need so their history is not lost forever.

About Todd Murphy, Vice President, Universal Information Services
Todd has developed the broadcast monitoring, web/social media monitoring, and media measurement services for Universal Information Services. Heavily involved with the news monitoring industry associations, Todd has served as president and on the committees of several international media monitoring organizations (IABM, NACPCS, NDS). Specializing in corporate organization, copyright law, and US legislation affecting the use of media, Todd Murphy is positioned to continue the innovation Universal has enjoyed over the last 100 years. As the owner of Universal, Todd oversees strategic planning and all research and development for the corporation. You can reach Todd via email, follow him on Twitter, or discover more on LinkedIn.

Universal Information Services

From print and broadcast to web and social media, Universal covers it all. With customizable reports, unlimited access to media archives and a comprehensive media contact database, the Universal team offers unparalleled insight on the reach, impact and effectiveness of our clients’ PR efforts.

Universal monitors sources across the country, but with an important difference: Customizing solutions to include a local, regional or international focus. And every solution crafted is based on specific objectives for the client’s entire PR media monitoring and measurement cycle.

Universal Information Services provides a comprehensive set of media monitoring services to corporations, public relations professionals, and other organizations. For more about Universal Information Services, please visit their website, follow them on Twitter, or learn more on LinkedIn.

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