SnapStream Blog

Tracking TV Mentions of Your Government Agency

April 02 2009 by Lynne Burke

Governments use SnapStream to monitor television for a variety of reasons. In most government uses, it’s the PIOs who are using SnapStream to keep themselves, and thus the public, informed about issues that relate to the governing of the city and the reaction of the media to those issues. It is the responsibility of the PIOs to track events, issues and people relating to their specific department/agency.

So as the PIO, you are responsible for being spokespeople for the City and for coordinating all other communications activities with the media and citizens. Being able to respond quickly to coverage relating to your city is key. SnapStream servers allow you to do just that. Using the TV search function, you can find whatever you’re looking for immediately, without having to scan through hours of media coverage manually.


The SnapStream Servers also give you the ability to edit out just the segment you need and then email that clip. You can even have an email alert sent to you notifying you of mentions of whatever it is you’re looking for. Read more about SnapStream email alerts.


Do More With Less. With SnapStream, administrators can easily control who has access to the server and what features they have access to. For a lot of government groups, for example, access to media recordings is limited to one centralized group, and so those departments that have access are often overloaded with requests for copies of news coverage – which is both time-consuming and expensive.

By using SnapStream Servers to streamline your media monitoring efforts, you can:

  • Improve reaction time to media coverage
  • Eliminate costs of VHS tapes and shipping
  • Give access to multiple departments; reducing unnecessary strain on one centralized group

Recently, The City of Austin was a guest speaker for a webinar we held on the benefits of using SnapStream for government media monitoring. Reyne Telles, the Media Relation Manager at “Corporate PIO” says that as the City of Austin has been on a hiring freeze and his team has been short-staffed, SnapStream has enabled his group to do more with less. Read more about how the City of Austin is using SnapStream.

Tracking TV in the live music capital of the world

March 03 2009 by Rakesh



First, some background. The City of Austin is the 14th largest city in the United States, the capital of Texas and home to 700,000 residents. Known for its high-tech companies (for example, Dell and Samsung), its government, and seven-time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong, Austin gets it's fair share of attention in the media.


And Austin's residents are active citizens, with a great interest in things happening in the City of Austin. Accordingly, there are six TV news organizations in Austin -- ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Univision and News 8 Austin -- all of whom individually cover things happening in Austin City Government. The City of Austin team estimates that there are probably 150 news stories about the City of Austin in any given month -- that's about 33 TV news stories a week!

Austin's Public Information Office

Wikipedia has a good description of the job of a public information officer:

"Public Information Officers (PIOs) are the communications coordinators or spokespersons of certain governmental organizations (i.e. police departments, army, city, county, state governments). They differ from public relations departments of private organizations in that many of them typically do not engage in marketing, but solely in providing information to the public and the media..."

So Austin's Public Information Offices are responsible for being spokespeople for the City and for coordinating all other communications activities with the media and citizens.

The City of Austin has one central public information group, called the "Corporate PIO", and then there are another 25 to 30 department PIOs for each of Austin's various city departments, including:

  • Austin Police Department
  • Austin Fire Department
  • Austin Water
  • Austin Energy
  • Austin Convention Center
  • Economic Growth and Redevelopment
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Public Works


Austin's "Corporate PIO" handles anything relating to the central city management and larger issues that span multiple departments. With 6 local TV news organizations and television being approximately 60% of all media mentions the city receives, monitoring TV has always been important to them.

How the City of Austin USED to monitor television

Before SnapStream, the City of Austin's Corporate PIO and 25-30 department PIOs monitored television in a fragmented fashion -- everyone was doing their own thing.

VCRs and VHS tapes: The "Corporate PIO" group and 2 other departments PIOs had large banks of VCRs that they used to record television onto VHS cassette tapes. Naturally, VCRs were a labor intensive solution.


DIY PC TV Recorders: Two other department PIOs had built their own DIY PC TV recording devices. These devices requires constant upkeep and maintenance and were, ultimately, unreliable.


What the rest did: All the other PIO department would call the "Corporate PIO" group asking to be sent physical VHS tape copies of media mentions they had received. This put a lot of burden on the "Corporate PIO" group to take requests, dub tapes and then physically ship VHS tapes around the city.

So the way the City of Austin used to do media monitoring was fragmented (everyone was doing their own thing), expensive (lots of labor went into making recordings and then making cuts of those recordings), and time-consuming.

How the City of Austin monitors television TODAY (yes, with SnapStream!)

Sometime in 2007, Keith Reeves at the City of Austin saw a demonstration of SnapStream at a TATOA event and after a few more meetings, the City of Austin bought a 10-tuner SnapStream Server in 2008.


The City of Austin's SnapStream Server is hosted inside of a data center in Austin City Hall and it's used by all the department PIOs across the city. The ability to schedule new recordings is limited to a few administrators. Here's a breakdown of how the City of Austin uses the 10-tuners on their SnapStream Server:Tuners 1 through 6: These are used to record every news broadcast from Austin's 6 news channels -- FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision and News 8 Austin.Tuner 7: One tuner is dedicated to recording the City of Austin's municipal channel -- this includes recordings of all City Council meetings and many of the City's other public meetings.Tuners 8, 9 and 10: The last three tuners are dedicated to record one-off newscasts (for example, if there is a news segment on CNN that the City of Austin knows they'll be covered on) and to record TV shows requested for educational purposes. For example, there was a documentary airing on TV about a particular gang that was moving into Texas and the City of Austin's Gang Task Force was able to request that video and use it for educational and training purposes. Finally, these last few tuners allow for very limited live TV viewing by a handful of users.

Single solution with self-service for departments: Now, SnapStream's client software is installed on 50 desktops throughout the city. When a particular department wants a TV clip, rather than calling Austin's "Corporate PIO", they just run the client software, search for what they are looking for and create their own clip.


Keith Reeves, Manager at Austin 6 and the architect for SnapStream at the City of Austin says, "SnapStream has allowed us to cut down on our DVD dubs for City Council meetings and various department PIOs. Before, we'd get consistent requests for burning stuff for each of the 25-30 departments around the City of Austin! Now we just tell them, talk to the rep in your office and they can make you a clip of just that segment. You don't have to wait on us, just go do it yourself."

And as other city government employees have seen SnapStream, additional users have wanted access to the City of Austin is in the process of adding additional clients to their SnapStream setup.

Getting more done with less: Reyne Telles, the Media Relation Manager at "Corporate PIO" says that as the City of Austin has been on a hiring freeze and his team has been short-staffed, SnapStream has enabled his group to do more with less. And Reyne is able to respond and react more to the media.

"If I get a call from a reporter at ABC asking about something that was said on another network in Austin, I can immediately pull it up in SnapStream, see what was said 10 minutes ago and get back to the reporter very quickly with a response," said Reyne.

Stratatech automates TV recording and analysis with SnapStream

February 24 2009 by Lynne Burke

Stratatech is an IT and consulting company that offers analysis of television marketing efforts as one of their services. To do this, Stratatech provides clients with detailed reports that measure and evaluate on-air mentions versus cost for specific televised sporting events.

How Stratatech's service works: So let's say your company decided to sponsor a NASCAR event. Stratatech would record that televised event, then carefully listen to the recording of the program for mentions of your company's name, and finally tally up the number of media mentions. They would then compare the cost of sponsorship against the number of media mentions to evaluate whether the exposure received was worth the cost.

The Old Way: Stratatech was coordinating recording between 6 and 8 TV programs at once on cumbersome VCRs and VHS tapes and needed an easier way to schedule recordings.

“We would be recording anything from a NASCAR race, which can be multiple hours, to a two-hour basketball game throughout the day,” notes Fior Lostumbo, Sales Associate for Stratatech.

Some notes about the old, labor intensive VCR/VHS process at Stratatech:

  • Television programs were scheduled manually by VCR and recorded on VHS tapes
  • Once a program of interest was recorded, it then had to be manually reviewed by a human for mentions of their clients.
  • Mentions would be tallied up and manually entered to a separate system, which they had designed to analyze the media exposure versus the cost to the client.

They needed a better and faster way to monitor television.

The SnapStream Way: Stratatech’s growing clientele prompted them to look for a more efficient TV monitoring solution.

SnapStream delivered that solution, with the capacity to record up to eight channels at once, and enough storage for 2,300 hours of recordings. In addition, the SnapStream appliance allowed Stratatech to automatically search closed-captioning data for mentions of their clients, making the data collection process much simpler, more efficient and more accurate.

Fior Lostumbo explains, “Previously, we would have to sit and listen to audio for mentions of our clients. Now we simply just use the keyword search feature, saving us immense amounts of time.”

Some of the benefits that SnapStream has brought to Stratatech's media monitoring and analysis operation:

  • Automated Scheduling: Stratatech's 8-tuner SnapStream appliance gives them the ability to easily schedule and manage TV recordings and avoid conflict using a simple, easy-to-use interface.
  • Faster, Automated Search: With SnapStream’s search technology, Stratatech is able to quickly and accurately pinpoint media mentions with a simple keyword search.
  • Less Physical Space: Recording and archiving recordings digitally has eliminated banks of VHS tapes and VCRs.
  • Integration using SnapStream's powerful API: SnapStream’s powerful API (view the SnapStream Enterprise API) allowed Stratatech to integrate their in-house data collection system with TV data from the SnapStream appliance, eliminating the need to manually input data from one system to another.

The old set up of VCRs:

Lots of VHS tapes, too:

The SnapStream setup in the rack under the TV; Stratatech can now schedule, record and search TV straight from their desktop:

How to find SnapStream at NAB 2008

April 10 2008 by Rakesh

The Las Vegas Convention center is huge at 3.2 million square feet and while at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas, SnapStream only occupies 100 sq. ft. of that space. And based on feedback from visitors last year, we know that the SnapStream booth was hard to find.

Hopefully this year we're easier to find simply because we're not as far back in the South Upper Hall as we were last year (many thanks to our contact at the NAB, Joy Lindsey!):

NAB south upper bird’s eye view

But, we still wanted to make it easier for you to find us so here are some maps and directions.

Directions to SnapStream at NAB2008:

1. Get to the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center (veterans of the Las Vegas Convention Center will know that this is on one end of the convention center, furthest away from the Hilton and the North Hall)

2. Take the escalator up to the South Upper Hall

3. Walk down the main corridor of the South Upper Hall (you'll pass massive booths from companies like Sony and Motorola)

4. When you see the Ross Video booth, hang a left.

5. You'll see us on a corner to your right -- our booth number is #SU6008.

See you at NAB!

NAB map to SnapStream

NAB map to SnapStream

SnapStream is:
  • how The Daily Show finds TV clips for their show
  • how organizations clip TV to Twitter and Facebook
  • how broadcasters can monitor their feeds for regulatory compliance
  • and more

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