Media monitoring giant Rehame is getting into more fights with clients around town over alleged over-servicing. And we hear that this could be about to explode into the mass media and the odd courtroom.

For instance, we hear that Virgin Blue are less than impressed with a quickfire $70,000 bill they copped. And you’ve got to ask whether Bronwyn Bishop was happy with a $300,000 bill for media monitoring in one month alone. How much of that went to Rehame’s larrikin and entrepreneurial owner Peter Maher who is the Melbourne equivalent of John Singleton and has just been appointed by Steve Bracks to a drug advisory board.

Is anyone else out there unimpressed with Rehame’s over-servicing? Please get in touch as we’re building up a bit of a file.

Here at Crikey we were taken aback to see that Rehame has been archiving most of what we pump out and selling it to clients without any reference to me. They’ve certainly made plenty providing transcripts to 3AW’s Steve Price for a “Geelong Phone Book” of transcripts and archival material that have been lobbed in our defamation and contempt disputes. If we lose the case you know that Crikey will be expected to pay Rehame’s bill.

The Copyright Agency Ltd, a not-for-profit outfit that collects cash for content providers from people who reproduce their work, have been ringing every few days saying we should sign up so the letter went off last week and we’ll let you know what happens.

I’ve no doubt that Rehame has made many tens of thousands out of me because as someone who often goes on radio bollocking companies and politicians, they simply ring the subject and say “Gee, did you hear what that nasty Stephen Mayne said on radio about you this morning. Wanna transcript for $30 a page with beautiful double spacing and a great big logo.”

This is one extract from the letter to CAL:

“As the former publisher of www.jeffed.com and the current publisher of www.crikey.com.au I am aware that Rehame have been archiving my material and selling it widely without my permission.

For the past year I have had up to 5 regular radio segments a week and I am also aware that Rehame have been selling transcripts of these widely as well.”

ends

A subscriber has already emailed to say that it is the radio stations which own the copyright for what it said on air, not the person making the comments. That said, it would be interesting to know how much a community radio station like RRR has been paid by Rehame for the many transcripts of my Wednesday morning segment that they have sold.

We had three interesting contributions from subscribers last week and are keen to hear more of your stories.

Doubling up on the fax and email

Stephen,

could not agree more with the comments about Rehame. One lurk they have is to fax and email client mentions to us and then charge us double. We have complained for more than a year but they still keep doing it. We have been monitoring the HIH issue for a client and you can imagine how many mentions we have been receiving. Their bills are extraordinary, even by pr standards.

Sydney PR man

Missing the stuff we want

Hi Stephen,

My firm has an account with Rehame whom we use to monitor the performance of the video & audio PR material we produce and supply to broadcasters on behalf of our clients.

We are very small fry but they over-service us in that they invariably notify us of (and charge us for)radio “hits” when we have only requested TV monitoring. It happens on every project despite our repeated complaints so it seems more than just sloppiness. We have started demanding credits for irrelevant hits with which they have supplied us. Our account manager at Rehame is highly embarrassed by the situation so perhaps it’s a policy which somes from higher up the food chain.

Their other big shortfall as far as we’re concerned is that they miss a lot of airings of our stuff. Often we conduct random checks directly with the broadcasters and find stories of ours have been used but Rehame hasn’t picked them up.

Alternatively, our clients will tell us they saw the story used on a particular bulletin in a particular city and want to know why it doesn’t feature in the monitoring report we supply to them. All very frustrating.

Why are we still with Rehame? Only by default. Our attempt to switch to Media Monitors fell flat when their rep couldn’t be bothered returning our numerous calls.

Cheers, name withheld

Over-serviced on docks dispute

Dear Crikey,

I am a sole subscriber and first year solicitor. Last November, when I was still an articled clerk, my boss asked me to get press clippings, transcripts of radio sound bites etc about the truckies blockade at the Docks for a client of ours. He wanted quotes from the truckies reps about how long the blockade may go for. I got onto Rehame about this – merely because the other place I tried was engaged when I called. I arranged for them to email their transcripts to us.

We were flooded with emails – 99 sent from 3.30pm Monday to 3.30pm Tuesday. There was ample evidence of “over-servicing” – transcripts from politicians & industry reps and other people which we didn’t want, multiple transcripts of the same sound bite which was broadcast across heaps of different regional stations. We would get a transcript of a TV news broadcast, and then one of that same item broadcast on a pay TV station. When we got the invoice, for each of these pay TV transcripts they would charge $60-odd for a one-off pay-TV access fee. They kept sending transcripts for about 5 hours after we asked them to stop the next day.

The bill was for a little over $20,000. Not bad for a brief which lasted less than 24 hours. And yes, charged at $35.50 per page, typed up in 16-point font, splashy logo and double spacing. The sort of stuff we used to do at school to pad out our feebly underprepared essays!! (the teachers never fell for it).

Yours sincerely, name withheld

Peter Fray

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