MediaTel Media Research Awards 2015
In a world dominated by data, the measurement and insight provided by research teams is at the very heart of business planning and success. To celebrate the organisations and individuals driving development in UK media research, MediaTel is launching its first Media Research Awards, set to take place early next year.
As the categories open for nominations, Newsline spoke with chairman of the judges, Richard Marks, to find out what the awards are all about, how to enter and what the judges will be looking out for.
What are the awards all about?
The aim is to celebrate the best in UK media research, to promote and reward excellence in research design and communication and to celebrate unsung heroes in the industry. There are nine categories to enter, plus the judges will be awarding an overall Grand Prix for Research Project of the Year.
The awards also reflect the increasingly hybrid nature of media research. Increasingly researchers aren't just farmers, lovingly tending sample surveys, but they are becoming chefs, drawing on data from a variety of sources. A number of the most noteworthy recent research projects have drawn on blends of qual, quant, big data and desk research.
Of the nine categories, seven cover research projects, from design to communication. We will also be recognising the research team of the year (which could be from media owner, agency or supplier) and in an industry of increasing consolidation we felt it was important to honour the boutique agency of the year.
We have six judges covering media owner, agencies, online and I'm delighted that we have been able to attract an experienced and - I'm hoping - opinionated group of UK industry names.
What will the judges be looking for?
The emphasis will be on creativity, communication and effectiveness. However it's important to stress that these are at heart research awards and so we will be putting excellence in survey design and data quality under the spotlight.
An important difference to when I entered the industry in the late 80s is that the barriers to entry have lowered. Nowadays anyone with a tech startup can hop on Surveychimp or whatever, bang out a questionnaire full of leading questions to some people who once entered a prize draw for a toaster and there are plenty of online publications that will publish the resulting press release unchallenged.
That is why these awards are so important, not just to celebrate great research but to remind the industry of why quality research matters.
MediaTel is in a great position to oversee and promote the awards, both as an aggregator of industry data and as a window on the industry via Newsline. I am pleased that David Pidgeon, editor of Newsline, is one of our judges as he has to wade through a lot of research releases to separate what matters from the wider PR puff.
MediaTel organise numerous industry events through the year, so we know that the Awards Ceremony over lunch in the City next February will have the impact it needs. Meanwhile MediaTel will be aiming to feature some of the winning papers at its subsequent events in 2015 like Media Playground, Connected Consumer and the Future of Media Research.
What about the MRG Awards?
These awards are definitely not about competing with the MRG. Those awards are important - I am an MRG member and was even lucky enough to win one back in the analogue era. However, those awards take place every two years to tie in with their excellent overseas conference.
We felt there was a need for a regular annual awards with the ceremony in the UK to maximise the benefit to entrants and optimise publicity for the UK media research industry. We hope to get the MRG involved as well.
If you think about the TV industry you can't throw a dart at a TV listing without hitting some form of TV Awards, so we don't think that two pure research awards (one annual one bi-annual) is overdoing it for an industry of the size and importance of UK media research.
So what happens next?
Well the award online entry forms are now live on the MediaTel event site. Most awards entries are limited to around 1,300 words, plus supporting materials, so we are looking for concise and punchy entries.
You can enter in more than one category, or even enter the same project in more than one category if appropriate. Entries can be submitted by suppliers or those commissioning the research, but please do liaise - seeing the same project entered by client and supplier separately will struggle to convince us that they are on the same wavelength.
The closing date for entries is 21 November after which the judges will huddle and announce a shortlist just before Christmas, ahead of the Awards Ceremony on 11 February 2015. In the meantime the judges will be liaising to work out which of us are Simon, Cheryl, Mel or Louis.