Information about the Scottish Government's activity with regard to media monitoring and social media monitoring.
- Whether the Scottish Government pays any private company to conduct media monitoring and if so how much has been paid to that company for these services in each of the last five financial years (including the current financial year of 2023-24) and which company it pays. Please also detail the nature of this media monitoring. For example, if the service compiles articles from news outlets that mention specific terms/individuals/organisations or if it compiles all articles from news outlets on a given day etc. If specific terms/individuals/organisations are monitored, please list all the terms/individuals/organisations that are currently monitored.
As part of the Media Services Framework contract to provide several ‘press office’ services including planning and media response applications, the Scottish Government receives a number of media monitoring services from Precise Media Monitoring Ltd (trading as Onclusive), set out below.
Onclusive provides a daily press cuttings service, delivering headlines and a copy of articles from national newspapers that are relevant to the work of the Scottish Government, including ministerial portfolio activity (other than transport, for which Transport Scotland has separate arrangements) and corporate and organisational issues (the civil service, the Scottish Government estate, etc). The cuttings returned are based on a list of key words/terms that are reviewed several times a year, to align both with the portfolio responsibilities of ministers and with other issues that are the focus of journalists’ queries to the Scottish Government. The search terms in place at the time of your request are attached at Annex A.
Onclusive provides access to broadcast clipping services, including an automated schedule of morning and afternoon radio broadcast headlines covering BBC Radio Scotland and several independent stations: Borders Radio, Central FM, Clyde One, Forth 1, Heart Scotland West, Moray Firth, Northsound, Original 106, Tay, Westsound, as well as a later update with the main headlines from BBC Radio Scotland DriveTime and the main BBC Scotland and STV evening TV bulletins.
Onclusive provides transcripts on request from main TV and radio sources.
The total value of payments for the externally sourced media monitoring services described above, including standing charges and unit fees (e.g. per unique newspaper article), are as follows:
2023-24 (to date) – £3,859.11
2022-23 – £56,127.21
2021-22 – £99,765.36
2020-21 – £118,523.92
2019-20 – £90,291.12
In order to access press cuttings, the Scottish Government pays a separate fee to the Newspaper Licensing Agency, with the payments over the last five years as follows:
2023-24 – £26,432.00
2022-23 – £24,182.00
2021-22 – £23,007.00
2020-21 – £22,809.00
2019-20 – £29,460.25
- Whether the Scottish Government conducts media monitoring internally on top of, or instead of, paying a private company. If so, please detail the nature of this media monitoring and list all terms/individuals/organisations the Scottish Government currently conducts internal media monitoring of.
The Scottish Government has a small media monitoring unit (MMU; employing 3 FTE). The MMU's work is not based on the use of specific search terms; it is primarily based on monitoring particular channels at certain times of the working week for Scottish Government-related news coverage, and collating headlines from these together with data provided by Onclusive to produce media summaries or, where required, interview transcripts.
The MMU monitors broadcasts on the following channels, Monday to Friday:
Radio Scotland 07:00 – 09:00
Good Morning Britain headlines on STV – when broadcast after 08:00
BBC Scotland Reporting Scotland headlines – when broadcast after 08:00
Radio Clyde One – 08:00 headlines
BBC Radio 4 – 08:00 headlines.
- Whether the Scottish Government pays any private company to conduct social media monitoring of any individuals/organisations and if so how much has been paid to that company for these services in each of the last five financial years (including the current financial year of 2023-24) and which company it pays. Please also list all the individuals/organisations who have had their social media account monitored in each of those financial years and what platform that social media account is on (Twitter/Facebook etc.)
The Scottish Government Communications Division uses a tool called Brandwatch to deliver social monitoring. Brandwatch is a digital consumer intelligence platform. The annual cost of the Brandwatch licence for the past five financial years including the current financial year is as follows:
2023-24 - £32,400.00
2022-23 - £25,400.00
2021-22 - £19,859.92
2020-21 - £17,712.30
2019-20 - £17,360.00
The Scottish Government does not monitor any specific social media accounts, whether of individuals or organisations, on any platform.
- Whether the Scottish Government conducts any social media monitoring on top of, or instead of, paying a private company, and if please list all the individuals/organisations who have had their social media account monitored in each of those financial years and what platform that social media account is on (Twitter/Facebook etc.)
The Scottish Government does not conduct any social media monitoring on top of or instead of paying a private company.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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