Media Review International launches monitoring service

Monitoring company Media Review International (MRI) has been introduced into the growing market of electronic monitoring companies. MRI is an independent Australian company that provides an independent electronic watermarking and content tracking and verification system.

The new information and verification service, which is currently concentrating on tv, but could potentially extend into radio, is one of the first in the world to track the broadcast of programs, commercials and promos. Other monitoring systems generally track only commercials.

Media Review International is backed by two prominent radio families – the Lambs and the Alberts, and is run by Managing Director, Brendan Sheedy.

MRI provides advertising agencies, media buyers, clients and sports and entertainment program producers with faster, more accurate tracking and overnight reporting of the broadcast of television commercials, promos and programs

MRI has secured an exclusive long-term licence for the Philips Watermarking Technology in Australia and New Zealand. Additional international markets will be available once the business is established.

MRI has partnered with UK company Teletrax, a joint venture of Medialink Worldwide Incorporated (NASDAQ: MDLK) and Philips, to provide monitoring of international video and television broadcasts in Australia and New Zealand.

The new watermark tracking and reporting system “is a significant advance and will substantially improve the accuracy and speed of monitoring the broadcast of commercials, program content and promos on free to air and Pay TV,” according to Sheedy.

“In today’s television environment audience delivery is increasingly difficult to predict so the MRI system allows media buyers to make more informed decisions.

“Media buyers can now match when the commercial went to air with audience delivery overnight allowing them to change underperforming schedules and achieve the reach and frequency objectives for clients with greater certainty than before.”

Using the OzTam audience data coupled with the existing agency applications like BCC AdSystem’s Media desktop, on a daily basis, MRI “will facilitate a cultural shift in campaign post analysis and the role it plays in assessing campaign objectives.”

The monitoring information is “more precise” and the reporting “more efficient” than the current manual system according to Sheedy. It delivers the monitoring analysis to clients the next morning.

Each year, over 10 million television commercials are scheduled for broadcast in Australia on free to air and Pay TV and currently there is no single source to provide automated verification of these broadcasts.

MRI’s watermark is easily embedded on to television commercials as part Adstream’s and Dubsat’s distribution process. The watermarks are invisible and the process of embedding is a minimal cost to clients.

The embedded watermark cannot be erased or destroyed even by editing, reproducing or transferring between digital and analogue formats. The tracking of the embedded watermark on free to air television, cable or satellite broadcasts is captured by a network of detectors in monitoring locations around Australia. The information is uploaded to the MRI data base which generates tracking reports for clients.

Clients will be able to access the MRI secure Web site and view information on the previous twenty-four hour broadcasts. Alternately, integrated with existing agency applications, the MRI data can be downloaded every morning enabling media buyers to analyse campaign performance as it unfolds.

MRI will use the Philips technology for monitoring radio advertisements and it will also enable the record industry to track music aired on free to air and Pay TV and radio to verify usage and royalty payments.

The Technology and How it Works

The embedding, which is statistically imperceptible and does not change the format of the signal, is designed to survive and be compatible with commercial recording and transmission methods and allows the embedded information to be accurately extracted from the encoded video after processing, distribution and broadcast.

The core technology enables the encoded material to be indistinguishable to the viewer from the original non-encoded video, yet the encoded information can be reliably recovered, even after significant alterations to the encoded material.

As the material is broadcast, monitoring units in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Newcastle will detect the unique code embedded in the content and report it through a dedicated network to the central reporting data base.

The monitoring unit combines antennas, receivers and detectors, together with specially configured computers. The system monitors selected frequencies, detecting watermarks embedded in the broadcast content. Data associated with these event detections accumulates in the computer memory until uploaded to a central reporting database.

MRI’s versatile service can be applied to all forms of video material — advertising, news and entertainment programming and sponsorship content.

In the programming market, MRI can monitor for contractual compliance, auditing residuals, understanding repurposing of long-form and promotional material and aiding ROI calculations.

The licensed patented technology, developed by Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands, embeds an imperceptible digital watermark into video which is robust enough to survive aggressive editing and special production effects such as picture compression.

MRI also can detect usage with granular precision, down to one second of video. This video broadcast monitoring system has been successfully introduced in other countries where companies including ABC Television Network and Buena Vista Television (part of the Walt Disney Company), NBC, Reuters and Universal are established clients.

Commercial Advertising

In Australia, over $3 billion is spent each year on commercial advertising on free to air and Pay TV.

This creates millions of transactions between advertisers, advertising agencies, media buying services and television stations.

As the Australian media industry grows, so does the challenge to accurately and affordably monitor broadcast content and protect copyrighted material.

Industry sources estimate that each year 60,000 television commercials are produced in Australia and over 10 million commercials are scheduled on free to air and Pay TV channels.

Teletrax ( is the world’s first global video broadcast monitoring service launched in 2002 as a joint venture between Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands and Medialink (

The key backers are directors of MRI – John Lamb, Chairs the Board and Albert family Group CEO, Paul Marx also is a director. The Managing Director is Radio industry executive Brendan Sheedy. Agency and Media industry executive, and former Sales Director for the Seven Network, Garth Agius, heads the sales representation.

Managing Director, Brendan Sheedy, has over 40 years experience in the Australian media from roles as a program director to managing some of Australia’s high-profiled radio stations.

Since 2001, Sheedy has been working on establishing Australia’s first independent electronic watermarking, content tracking and verification system. Media Review International was established in 2003 to provide Australian advertising agencies, media buyers, music companies, radio stations and clients this service.

Sheedy researched the project for several years and travelled extensively overseas speaking to industry heads and technology development companies. Between 1991-2001, prior to establishing Media Review, Sheedy was the General Manager for 2UE network syndication company Sky Radio.

Between 1985 – 1991 he was the General Manager of the Bell Group WA Radio 61X; 1980 – 1982 General Manager of 2DAY FM, and 1976 – 1981 General Manager of The Herald and Weekly Times Radio 3DB. In 1972-75 Sheedy was Program Director and station manager 6PM Perth. Brendan Sheedy started his career in 1962-72 at GTV 9/3AK in production and news.


Media Review International Pty Limited

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