SnapStream Blog

How To Monitor Broadcast TV: 7 Steps

December 12 2023 by SnapStream Staff


The steps below will guide you through the process of TV broadcast monitoring. Individuals and organizations of many varieties can find a lot of value in the process, if  they have a plan for how to do it.


1. Determine your goals: For what reason are you monitoring broadcast TV? Who are the stakeholders, a boss, a client or maybe a whole organization? Are you downloading clips & how fast do they need to be delivered or posted on social media? Ideally right away for most organizations.

determine your goals

2. Explore features: Searching, clipping, posting to social, setting alerts & even AI features are a lot to evaluate. Some good googling and website exploration of broadcast monitoring products should help inform you of what features you'll need to achieve your goals.

explore features

3. Book demos: Try the features. Talk to a sales representative and ensure advanced search capabilities, such as keyword and closed-caption search actually work how you imagine they would.


4. Proof of concept: After a demo many organizations will let you try the software to actually start monitoring broadcast tv. Once you're at this step you can follow the rest to start delivering results to your organization.


5. Set alerts for key words & names: Let your tools do the work for you. Set up email alerts for your brand & stakeholders, when someone makes an appearance on broadcast tv to give an update be notified by email so you can send the footage to them immediately. Be notified of your competitors appearances on tv so you can respond promptly & appropriately.


6. Clip in real-time: High stakes press conferences or newly aired interviews that contain crucial information for your organization can be monitored live- be sure to do so making clips of key moments that can be shared with your team or your broader audience on social media.

Live Clip

7. Monitor live in multi-view: Monitor multiple channels at one time! Enable your teams to watch the news & markets of the day adjust as new information is released by 4 or more news sources at one time (and getting alerts for the ones you are not watching.)



Whether it’s for media monitoring, compliance, marketing analysis, or educational purposes, choosing the right broadcast TV monitoring tool is crucial. Once your workflow is set up be sure that it can be easily scaled so you can provide even more value to yourself and your stakeholders.

Win a Year of Free Maintenance!

November 12 2009 by Rebecca


Those VCRs collecting dust around your office are so 20th century — and we know you've been dying to upgrade. So we've created a cost-effective means for you to update your media-monitoring technology, and we're offering you a chance to win an extra 12 months of free service to boot.

How? Just purchase a SnapStream Server through our new "Switch and Save" program, and we’ll automatically give you a year of maintenance for free (a $1,200 to $3,000 value). Then, once you've installed your new gear, send us a picture of how you and your staff have cleverly dismantled and responsibly disposed of your obsolete systems.* We'll post the images of your handiwork alongside that of others on our Web site. Be as creative as you can, because we'll bestow an additional year of free maintenance upon whoever sends us the best shot.

What's more: Because the SnapStream Server can shorten the task of media monitoring to mere seconds, your organization will save additional time and money. Our digital technology lets you and your colleagues record thousands of hours of television to a centralized appliance, and then locate specific clips by topic, using closed captioning for search. You can copy any relevant video to your PC’s hard drive. It’s that quick and easy!

So, what are you waiting for? Click here to get more information about "Switch and Save" and the SnapStream Server.

*Please recycle. Or ship the parts to us, and we’ll recycle them for you.

How SnapStream's TV search technology works

June 27 2008 by Rakesh

We often get the question, "How does SnapStream's TV search appliance work?" so here's a brief explanation.

First, for anyone new to SnapStream's TV search technology, a quick summary of what it is: SnapStream Enterprise is an "appliance" that allows an organization to record lots of television and then search inside those recordings. By "appliance", we just mean that the product is a self-contained server that you buy from us that's quick and easy to setup. Here's what the hardware looks like:

SnapStream Enterprise: TV search appliance

Once you have a SnapStream Enterprise TV Server setup, the first thing you'd typically do is tell it what you want it to record. You can do this using the SnapStream program guide -- you can record a single instance of a show, you can record every instance of a show, or you can record a particular channel 24 hours a day:

Once recordings are made, you can search inside those recordings for anything you might be looking for. Some examples of TV search scenarios:

  • A presidential campaign wants to search for every mention of their candidate and their candidate's competition is mentioned on TV -- so they can respond to that TV coverage more efficiently.
  • A city government wants to search all of their local TV stations for mentions of their police department, their fire department, and anything else related to their city government.
  • A television comedy show (like The Soup on E!) wants to search thousands of hours of television for things to make fun of.
  • A journalism department at a university wants to do a type of research called content analysis (also known as textual analysis), so they use our search technology to chart word frequencies over time.
  • ...and the list goes on.

As an example of our TV search results, here's an ad-hoc search that I did on "George Carlin" (I ran this query just now on Friday, June 27, 2008):

A search over television closed captioning for George Carlin

You'll see for each search result, there's

  • the name of the program that contained the match,
  • the time at which the match occurred (for example, Anderson Cooper 360 at 8:59pm yesterday),
  • and finally there's an excerpt of the transcript with the matching words bold-faced.

(A side note: you can also setup SnapStream Alerts that would e-mail you everytime certain words appeared on television -- the results would look similar, but you'd get them on e-mail).

So how does our TV search technology work? It searches over a combination of

  • closed-captioning data and
  • program guide data.

The FCC requires closed-captioning to be included on almost all TV programming (more on the details of this on the website). So while SnapStream Enterprise is making a recording, it also simultaneously records all of the closed-captioning data for that show. In the process of recording the closed-captioning, SnapStream Enterprise does some clean-up of the text to make it easier to read and easier to search. And then we index all of that text in a time-coded fashion, so when we find a match, we can direct the user to not only the program where the match occurred, but also to the time within that program. Program guide data is also used in our search process so users can easily filter searches by program genre, by channel, or by program title.

In addition to being simple to use, the SnapStream TV search engine also offers up a lot of power in the hopes that our customers can find whatever it is they are looking for on television. More on this in the next blog posting! Meanwhile, if you have any questions, post 'em in the comments.

What is SnapStream? There's an unlimited amount of video content out there: 24/7 news channels, breaking news events, sports, talk shows, awards galas, entertainment shows, and so much more.

SnapStream makes a real-time news and media search engine that makes it fast and easy to find the video moments that support our customers telling great stories.

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