Thursday, May 09, 2013

Your $60 million media monitoring programme

Note: This blog post below was written on March 9th but not published. Given this news of the past day, "Harper Government Spends Millions Monitoring Press Of Own MPs," thought it would be useful additional context. Also, note to self: Listen more intently to that friend who passes these things on...

Let's look at one of the late Friday afternoon announcements last night, just for fun: "Government of Canada continues to look for savings in media monitoring." Mentioned 6 times in this brief announcement, including the title, is the word "saving" or "savings." Which makes you wonder, well, is this really about savings or is somebody protesting a little too much.

This is the announcement where they have to tell us how much they're spending on media monitoring. I.e., how much money the government is spending to see how it's departmental efforts and etc. are going over in media coverage. And it's actually quite a lot when you compare this spending to things they're cutting. But you have to look twice and very carefully given the way the information is presented to determine how much the government is actually spending:
The Government of Canada is committed to saving taxpayer dollars and keeping taxes low. From April 1st, 2011, to December 11th, 2012, the Government of Canada spent approximately $22 million on media monitoring services.
The first sentence is pure propaganda that has nothing to do with the second sentence. Indeed, they are contradictory. But set that aside. Look at the strange period they report on, a year and just over 8 months to come up with the figure of $22 million. So deduce the math, Canadians, the savings experts won't do it for you. It's just over a million a month ($22 million over 20 months).

We also read that "Estimated annual savings based on the current five-year negotiated contracts for these licenses are approximately $18 million." So they're saving us $3 million a year, which they're selling as a good thing, when they spend about $12 million a year on this activity.

Or, they've contracted to spend $60 million over 5 years which is what they don't seem to want to flat out say. That's a heck of a lot of scratch on media monitoring.