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Blog post
June 25, 2019

3 minutes with Brendan McGreevy, Country Manager, Australia

We sat down with Brendan McGreevy, recently appointed Country Manager for Australia (2017) and discussed his viewpoints on leading the Australian team and the latest release of Custom Reports on Mediaportal.

Tell us who you are and how you came along with your Isentia journey

My name is Brendan McGreevy and I am the Country Manager for Australia [here at] Isentia. I joined the company in January 2004 as a tele-sales consultant, selling media intelligence services and data distribution. I’ve managed the tele-sales team and the Slice products over a number of years before we brought that back into the [Isentia] family, I’ve been a BDM, a Service Consultant, a Sales Manager and now I’m Country Manager. I have done many, many jobs and have always been in client facing, which is what I like, and I hope to continue my career throughout the company in a client-facing role.

What job haven’t you had at Isentia?

I haven’t been Chief Executive yet, so maybe at some point in the future! I am keeping my options open though.

What are you 100% passionate about and what gets you going every day?

Probably two things – one being the media and how it rapidly changes, the different forms and the different platforms that are popping out pretty much every month or every year. The other is clients – dealing with communicators – people in PR and Corp Comms.

It’s fast paced, and every day is a new and different day. If one client is on the news on a Monday, it’s going to be someone different on a Wednesday. [It’s] that kind of variety that keeps you getting up in the morning and keeps you coming into work. 

What are you most proud of, a moment of time of your life at Isentia?

I can’t think of one defining moment. I suppose each year when you see the achievements of the team, achievements of the clients, and you are hitting those targets – seeing the client growing every year and seeing that we’re doing all those things right that keeps the clients coming back for more and more. I would say that is probably the proudest achievement. 

Can you talk about what makes the Australian customer base unique and what is different about them?

I think what makes it unique from the rest of the company is that there are clients that have used us for many, many years. We’ve been through the evolution of their businesses and their careers and they’ve been through the evolution of our business.

From the hard copy clipping agency in the 80’s and 90’s through to the digitally media intelligence company we are now. Personally, I’ve worked with a lot of them [the clients], since the early 2000’s and it does create a bit of uniqueness within our business. We do find that a lot of people in the Account Management team and the Sales team have been here for 20 to 30 years, and they tend to stick around because they know the people that they’re working with. Whether they move from government to private sector [or elsewhere], they always move back again, so you tend to meet the same people over and over again – it gives that sense of familiarity with all of the clients. 

Looking at the new Custom Reports feature, what do you think would excite them most about it?

Probably the levels of customisation that we can now offer – like adding in the client’s logo and customising the look and feel of it. 

Even though it is our content that we’re sending to the clients, it is their work. Allowing them to personalise their work and distribute that internally in a format that actually gives them the kudos and credit for what they’ve done and what they’ve achieved. I think that is going to get on pretty well. 

What do you think makes Isentia brilliant?

What makes us brilliant is the people that are here.

I think the people that works here takes a very specific breed of person – you’ve got to love the media, you’ve got to love communications, you’ve got to love PR, you’ve got to love marketing, and you’ve got to love what we do, you’ve got to love the industry.

I think that is everybody that is here – evident in the high tenure of service across the business. People love what they do, they love that it is fast-paced, and they love that it is continually changing. And at the same time there is a level of familiarity at what we do as well. So yeah, it is definitely the people. 

What is your favorite feature within the latest Custom Reports release and why?

To be honest, that is my favourite feature – the customisable view of it. In previous reports you could only use the PDF and that was very much a standard, static document. This is the client’s document, and it is important that when we build our products and services that they are all about the client and not about us. It’s not about the media, it is not about the content, it is actually about that client and their business and what they need to use the information for, and how they can customise it for different stakeholders, and different audiences internally. So, the more it looks like their document and the more they can customise it, the better it is. 

Given your recent promotion to Country Manager, what excites you about the year ahead?

What we just completed in Australia is a slight restructure of the sales and services team. Previously we had an account management structure. We’ve [since] taken client success out and created a new division for Client Success and a new division for Sales.

These changes excite me because now we’ve got a dedicated focus on service for our clients and trying to understand what our client wants from us and how we can make that service better, and that is the dedication of that team. They don’t have to sell, or have find a new revenue stream, their job is purely to service our clients. Going back to that value and Isentia being client obsessed, this structure allows us to actually be client obsessed – to focus on our clients and their needs on a day-to-day basis, but to also have consultants from a different team to help clients with different services when the need arises. 

Watch the video here.

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Next week’s Federal Budget has many Australians wondering how they will be affected. 

The government has strongly advocated for building a more resilient economy than their predecessors, yet in recent months, the economy is suffering due to a rapid rise in inflation. This has pushed up interest rates and is squeezing the cost of living with both consumers and businesses feeling the pressure. 

Following groceries, the leading financial stressors for Australians are petrol, rent, mortgage payments and energy bills. And just to make ends meet, Aussies are making more considered purchases, seeking higher paying employment or working multiple jobs. Australians are already anxious about inflation with growing concern there’s no end in sight. 

Will the government restore their trust in Australians and keep their pre Federal Budget promises?

Cost of living crisis

Latest data from CHOICE’s Consumer Pulse survey, revealed that cost of living pressures are a major concern, with 90% of Australians seeing an increase in their household bills and expenses over the past year. 

Inflation pressures are intensifying and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) continues to drive up interest rates - their highest level in 7 years. The government has promised a long-term and sustainable approach to cost of living support in the form of a relief package. 

Concerned about their mortgage payments, up to a third of mortgage holders could struggle to keep up with future repayments, with younger generations particularly concerned about surging interest rates. 

Using Isentia data, during an eight week period from early August to early October 2022, 18% of Australia’s front pages featured cost of living stories. Even in a time of large local and international news such as the war on Ukraine and the Optus security breach, the cost of living crisis was still making front page news.

According to Pulsar data, anxieties around the cost of living, peaked following the RBA's interest rate announcements on 4 September and 4 October. For the sixth consecutive month, Australians have had to tighten an already lean household budget.

Apprehensions around security increased on 24 September as a result of the Optus security breach and again on 10 October when the government announced changes to the country's defence projects.  Also on 10 October, cost of living concerns spiked after growing speculation surrounding the Stage 3 tax cuts being recalibrated. Australians also felt a heightened sense of unease after the announcement of a future surge in energy costs, following a recent  35% rise.

Topics causing anxiety this Federal Budget
Anxieties surrounding topics mentioned by the government. Source: Pulsar

Childcare fees are at their highest in 8 years, with child care subsidies failing to keep out of pocket costs to a minimum. On 16 September, conversation around child care spiked, as Treasurer Jim Chalmers promised to reduce the cost of childcare, yet pledged to keep spending restrained in light of budgetary constraints. 

As part of the cost of living relief package, this reduction won't come into play until mid 2023. Can Australian families wait this long?

Problematic climate conditions such as excessive rain and floods are leading to localised food price increases and diminished food quality. Even in the same area, poorer households are faring far worse than affluent counterparts. Across the board, there has been  a surge in the cost of fruit and vegetable prices (7.3%) and meat, seafood and bread rising by 6.3%

On top of these climate issues, labour shortages in both warehousing and transportation have resulted in added disruption to the supply chain. Freight costs are on the rise, putting intense pressure on importers and exporters. 

Are Aussie consumers looking at a continued supply chain that is more disruptive than the 2020 toilet paper shortage? The rise in the cost of living weighs on households' spending, and Australians are seeking alternate ways to make extra cash.

The thrifty shopper

As the cost of living rises, many Australians are seeking alternate ways to make or save cash; trimming budgets where they can; cancelling home entertainment subscriptions, and reducing insurance coverage for lower fees to name a few. Purchases at all levels are becoming more involved and highly considered, with discounts heavily sought after.

As Millennials and Gen Z shoppers are gaining more buying power, their passion for sustainable commerce is stronger than ever. Selling personal items to make extra cash has been on the rise with retail e-commerce platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and ‘Recommerce’ platforms like AirRobe, are booming. Not only are Australians becoming more financially savvy, they are conscious of the need to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ - a criteria these platforms adopt.

Following the money

There’s no doubt that inflation is changing salary expectations. And for those in industries where movement and remote working is possible, many Australians are following the money.

Data from the Reserve Bank of Australia, shows organisations have reported higher rates of employees leaving to achieve higher pay packets as a way to provide temporary relief for  the rise in cost of living. Interestingly, this higher voluntary turnover was especially concentrated in professional services. 

In response to labour shortages, organisations are implementing a range of non-base wage strategies - e.g bonuses, flexible work practices, more internal training and hiring staff with less experience, as opposed to increasing base wages.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures also show Australians are taking on multiple jobs, as full-time work forces employees to juggle several roles to make ends meet. Although multiple job holding is more common in low-paid industries, a record high of 900,000 people held multiple jobs in the June quarter of 2022. 

This is an increase of 4.3 per cent from the previous quarter and is a reflection of wages growth stagnating and nominal wages barely keeping up with consumer prices. The result; people needing to work more hours to make ends meet. 

Using data insights from Pulsar, wages is one of the ‘most anticipated’ topics in this year’s Budget. The Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 0.7 per cent in the June quarter and 2.6 per cent over the year, which represented a substantial fall in real wages given inflation rose 6.1 per cent last quarter. 

Social media conversation around wages is evolving with other indicators suggesting wages are still climbing alongside extreme uncertainty surrounding global growth and rampant inflation. 

Will Australians see more dollars in their pocket after the Budget is handed down?

The "most anticipated" topics in this year's Federal Budget.
The "most anticipated" topics in this year's Federal Budget. This is a visual representation of the conversation frequency of topics over time. Source: Pulsar

Australians taking action

With Australians taking a greater interest in living a sustainable lifestyle, the government and organisations are prompted to influence the lever of positive change and create actionable outcomes.

Despite a great deal of politicians pledging change, governments are often swayed by the media and public opinion which can derail policies wanting to address complex, longer-term challenges. Millennials and Gen Zs have long pushed to see societal and economic change. 

Results from the 10th Annual Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey shows they are increasingly becoming more politically involved. These influential cohorts are progressively showing interest in political issues, and turning to social media to discuss their opinions. Moreover, they are consciously making calculated career decisions and spending their money with organisations who share the same values.

The top keywords used by key communities discussing the Federal Budget online and social media.
The top keywords used by key communities discussing the Federal Budget online. Source: Pulsar

Social engagement shows left wing millennials are showing concern over the budget and economic issues, with Treasurer, Jim Chalmers gaining the most chatter. Similarly, baby boomers are equally vocal, using the same keywords as millennials but they also seek strong leadership and a strong economy.

For younger demographics, their interactions or relationships with organisations is dependent on the organisation's treatment of the environment, their policies on data privacy and their position on social and political issues. 

For governments, tackling environmental, economic and social issues and their impact requires a huge transformation across all sectors. Market forces alone will not solve the problem, and the onus is on governments to take a lead to meet the sustainability challenge. 

The October Federal Budget is an opportunity for the government to show they are the lever of change by creating actionable outcomes and a positive impact. Australians are concerned for the welfare of the country and previous governments have fallen short. 

The government promises to back clean energy and build new renewable infrastructure across the country, will they succeed or disappoint?

The Federal Budget can be an overwhelming time, with an abundance of promises and policies, it can be hard to stay on top of the latest news. We have a comprehensive range of political news services available to help you navigate the political media coverage at this October Federal Budget. Want to learn what’s being said at this Federal Budget?

Click here to start navigating the announcements that may impact your organisation.

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How concerned are Australians about the Federal Budget?

The upcoming October Federal Budget has many Australians wondering how they will be affected. 

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As we countdown the days to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Australia’s biggest sporting events this decade – there’s an incredible relay happening that celebrates diversity, inspires communities and creates opportunities for some to experience something quite special.

The Queens Baton has a proud history, with batonbearers chosen from thousands to represent the spirit of the games and #SHARETHEDREAM. 

One runner in particular will be cheered on by all at Isentia – a girl who has certainly inspired us, and many around her. Meet 13-year-old Nayeli Gajardo.

Daughter of long-time Isentia Press Readers, Oscar and Patricia Gajardo, Nayeli has quite a remarkable story for such a young girl.

At the age of 6 months, Nayeli was diagnosed with acute dermatitis, and by the time she was 8 years old her illness became chronic – requiring her to spend much of the next 4 years in and out of St George Hospital. As her condition continued to deteriorate over time, she spent extensive periods in and out of hospital – missing almost the full first term of school in 2016. It was at this point that doctors concluded Nayeli would have this condition for the rest of her life.

"It was very stressful to see our daughter in pain and discomfort. Not only the physical part, but also mentally. She was growing – and to see her skin in that state was very confronting. With no hope from the doctors, we decide to take action and find alternative medicines to help our daughter,” Nayeli’s mother, Patricia Gajardo said.

She tried different medications until she was stable including Methotrexate – a chemo pill that people with transplant organs take, and after endless treatments and procedures Nayeli was sent to France for treatment at the Avene Hydrotherapy Centre.

“The Gajardo’s have contributed over 25 years’ combined service to our [Isentia] team here, so when Oscar and Patricia asked for our help with getting treatment for Nayeli, people from right across the business wanted to pitch in and help Nayeli get better,” Isentia’s Press Manager, Peter Coy said.

With the help and financial support of the community, friends, family and Isentia staff via the family’s GoFundMe page, Nayeli has now been to France twice for treatments, and plans a third trip in the coming year.

“Isentia helped us to take time off to go to France and our co-workers did a money collection to help us with the trip,” Patricia said.

Now, Nayeli’s condition has improved to a point where she is able to able to control her illness and live a healthier life, only experiencing discomfort when days have high content of pollen or she has an allergic reaction.

“It was really cool to see all that generosity and, of course, to also see it pay off when Nayeli’s condition improved. Seeing Nayeli now get the chance to carry the Queen’s Baton is a great bit of icing on the cake for a family who’ve been though some bloody tough times.” Peter said.

We can't wait to see Nayeli take the baton, enjoy the moment and inspire others with her story!

Isentia is proud to be delivering powerful media intelligence and insights for GC2018 all the way to the finish line. To keep up-to-date with the Queen’s Baton Relay and all the excitement of the Games, visit www.gc2018.com/qbr

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Blog
A champion well before the finish line

Daughter of long-time Isentia Press Readers, Oscar and Patricia Gajardo, Nayeli has quite a remarkable story for such a young girl.

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Isentia, a leading provider of media intelligence and analysis services, is proud to announce the launch of “The Conversation of Sport: Representation of Women in Sports News Coverage,” in partnership with the Office of Women in Sport and Recreation. This research aims to bring awareness to gender inequality in sports, and attention to address the underrepresentation of women in sports media.

The purpose of this research is to establish a baseline of the current coverage of women’s sport and women in sport in Victoria, providing crucial data to advocate for improved representation moving forward. Isentia's expertise in media monitoring and analysis plays a pivotal role in gathering independent, transparent data to assess the current landscape accurately.

"Equal representation in sport is key in shaping the way we view the world…This research represents a key step forward in reducing the gap in coverage for women in sports news. It directly supports the media and sporting organisations with independent, transparent data of current performance in this space.," said Ros Spence Minister for Community Sport

This research shows that the coverage of women’s sport in the media remains significantly lower than that of men’s sport, with only 15% of sports news coverage in Victoria focusing on women’s sport in 2022-23. Isentia's collaboration with Change Our Game aims to highlight this disparity by empowering media outlets with the data and tools necessary to increase the visibility of women in sports news.

Isentia and its partners envision a future where strong representation of women in sports media contributes to the professionalisation of women’s elite sport, dismantles limiting stereotypes, and promotes inclusivity at both the elite and community sport levels. This collaboration sets the stage for a more equitable and diverse sports media landscape, where the stories and achievements of women athletes are celebrated, amplified and contribute to a stronger ecosystem for women's sport.

"Through our partnership with OWSR, we are hopeful that this research will shine a light on the current state of play of sports news, and the impact this can have on the support and participation in women’s sport. While the findings are confronting, having this baseline will help drive positive change." said Ngaire Crawford for Director of Insights and Research, Isentia. 

"We believe that by working together, we can drive meaningful change and create a more inclusive sporting environment for women and girls everywhere."

What We Hope For the Future:

Through our partnership with Change Our Game and the Victorian Government, we hope to pave the way for a future where women in sport are celebrated and recognized on equal footing with their male counterparts in the media. By increasing the visibility and representation of women in sports media, we aim to inspire the next generation of athletes, journalists and content creators and drive positive change towards a more inclusive and equitable sporting landscape. Together, we can create a world where every athlete, regardless of gender, has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

About Change Our Game:

Change Our Game is an initiative by the Victorian Government aimed at achieving gender equality in sport and active recreation. Through advocacy, funding, and partnerships, Change Our Game works to address systemic barriers and promote inclusivity and diversity across all levels of sport.

About Isentia:

Isentia is a leading provider of media intelligence and analysis services, helping organisations make informed decisions based on actionable insights from media data. With a comprehensive suite of solutions, including media monitoring, analysis, and insights, Isentia empowers clients to stay ahead in an ever-evolving media landscape.

Select to be taken to Change Our Game's full report

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Blog
Isentia co-launches report: Representation of Women in Sports Coverage 2022-23

Isentia, a leading provider of media intelligence and analysis services, is proud to announce the launch of “The Conversation of Sport: Representation of Women in Sports News Coverage,” in partnership with the Office of Women in Sport and Recreation. This research aims to bring awareness to gender inequality in sports, and attention to address the […]

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The story around supermarket prices has been evolving for a number of months, finally reaching an inflection point as the Woolworth’s CEO appeared in a challenging interview with Four Corners and then announced his upcoming retirement only two days later.This chain of events underscores the critical importance of understanding the connections made by broadcast media, as they can significantly influence public perceptions and shape the narrative surrounding key industry players.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PublicRelations/comments/1aukych/australia_woolies_ceo_interview_mishap/?share_id=S-JDSwqI-UlHg_mIeTlkg&utm_content=2&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=ioscss&utm_source=share&utm_term=1

It was only the latest in a series of media items to seize Australia’s attention, and cast the nation’s supermarkets into something of a PR and Comms crisis.

And yet, viewing events through this framing also only gives a partial picture. As the discussion surrounding the impact of supermarkets on the rising cost of living intensifies, we've observed a notable surge in the usage of terms such as 'shrinkflation' and 'skimpflation'. Reaching back even further, we can see how the topics attained a gradually greater place on Australian news and social channels. Shrinkflation and skimpflation are tactics employed by supermarkets during economic challenges. Shrinkflation involves reducing product sizes while maintaining prices, subtly passing on costs to consumers. Skimpflation maintains product sizes but compromises on quality to preserve profit margins. These strategies often frustrate supermarket shoppers, especially during economic strains like inflation.

Clearly, the topic has become ubiquitous. But if we want to understand how information and perceptions have been communicated to mainstream Australian audiences, then it becomes vitally important to pay particular attention to broadcast media. 

Broadcast media (which includes television, radio and podcasts)  plays a pivotal role in shaping public discourse and influencing perceptions, particularly on pressing issues such as the cost of living crisis. 

Using Isentia to monitor these data sources, we gain valuable insights into their contribution to consumer attitudes. From identifying which organisations are most associated with the issue to pinpointing key public figures and preferred channels within radio and TV, broadcast media monitoring allows us to understand the complex dynamics that shape public opinion.

It’s the oldest of these media types which accounts for the most mentions of the supermarket crisis. Beyond reporting updates on the senate inquiry and government actions, radio excels in facilitating in-depth conversations between hosts and listeners, which surfaces more individual consumer stories than television or podcasts can match.

ABC's predominant coverage of the topic corresponds with the network's content strategy. Major programs such as the Supermarket Four Corners special and podcasts like The Briefing attract substantial listenership and garner attention from other channels. Channel 7, in addition to delivering key news updates, focuses on the shopper experience within supermarkets, shedding light on everyday challenges faced by audiences, such as navigating shrinkflation and skimpflation tactics.

Understanding the majority share of broadcast channels within this topic is important as it reflects who has the loudest voice, and is most persistently advancing a certain narrative or way of framing the situation. 

Coles and Woolworths dominate the conversation, reflecting their prominent presence in the retail landscape. Their widespread accessibility and familiarity to consumers make them prime subjects for discussion in the context of rising costs and economic pressures. 

Conversely, Aldi and IGA, while still significant players in the grocery market, may receive comparatively less focus in these discussions. Aldi's reputation for offering lower-priced alternatives and IGA's decentralised business model, with independently owned stores, may also contribute to their reduced presence in conversations about supermarket practices during times of economic strain. 

Each channel and network approaches discussions about supermarket groups differently. While Coles and Woolworths understandably dominate each station's broadcasts, the precise balance (and the time afforded to Adi and IGA) is revealing.

For instance, 4BC has encouraged audiences to diversify their shopping habits, with one 4BC broadcaster highlighting that "Aldi and IGA are actually doing more than the other two to really help enormously with the cost of living."

In the discourse on supermarket practices during the cost of living crisis, a number key figures emerge across broadcast channels. Anthony Albanese, the Australian Prime Minister, is predictably prominent on just about every channel, particularly broadcaster 2SM. 

All of them, that is, apart from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which spotlights Allan Fels, an economist and former ACCC chair who has analysed price gouging by major corporations. Other notable politicians mentioned include Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Craig Emerson, Steven Miles, and David Littleproud. 

Media's focus on these figures is crucial for shaping public discourse and policy responses amid economic pressures. While supermarkets are often discussed as a key antagonist in the cost of living crisis, they are increasingly being viewed in the context of potential solutions, particularly regarding government policy to regulate supermarket giants.

At the same time, focus does not only fall on the prominent individuals driving business decisions and policymaking. Country Hour (NSW), for instance, focused a story on cherry grower Michael Cuneo, who ceased selling to supermarkets after he made a financial loss on a shipment of fruit. And it was this story that achieved the greatest media reach of any radio content on the topic.  

Clearly then, the topic has not played out in any one way across any one channel. The prominence of key figures and top broadcast channels in this conversation underscores the importance of understanding how media coverage impacts public discourse and regulatory decisions. Isentia's broadcast capabilities offer unparalleled insight into the role of broadcast media in shaping the narrative surrounding supermarket practices. By harnessing Isentia's monitoring and analysis tools, organisations can gain deep insights into how influential discourse and coverage can impact an industry. 

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Blog
How Australian broadcast media has shaped the cost of living crisis narrative

The story around supermarket prices has been evolving for a number of months, finally reaching an inflection point as the Woolworth’s CEO appeared in a challenging interview with Four Corners and then announced his upcoming retirement only two days later.This chain of events underscores the critical importance of understanding the connections made by broadcast media, […]

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