Around fifty regional contractors with Media Monitors are about to become redundant thanks to the roll-out across Australia of a techie device with an Orwellian sounding name.

The people who’ve been toiling away in regional areas to record and analyse media reports will be replaced by “Remote Capture Units” because they’re faster and more efficient at recording, replaying and processing media reports for clients.

Gregg Amies, Media Monitor’s General Manager for Australia and New Zealand, confirmed this morning that a Crikey tip-off was accurate and that up to 50 people will be given notice that their contracts with the media analysis business will be terminated.

“We’re gradually moving through the country (with the roll-out),” he said “because client feedback shows they want faster services in regional areas.”

Letters have been sent to all of the contractors informing them that they will be told when they’re no longer required. Until then they will continue to monitor media reports in the old fashioned manual way, by watching and listening to targeted programs and writing summaries of the content.

Under the new system radio is captured by a device known as EARS – Electronic Audio Recording System and TV in a digital format so that it can be turned around for clients immediately.

About five of the fifty contractors came to Media Monitors after it acquired the rival company Rehame. They work between eight and forty hours a week and for many it’s their only job.

“They’ve been fantastic,” said Amies. “They’ve held it together in regional areas. But we’ve been put under pressure (from clients wanting faster services).”

So how will Media Monitors look after them? Will it offer any payout for their years of service?

“I have no comment on that, I don’t know. It’s being handled by our chap in Sydney. We do realize that these people have assisted the company in the past and will do so until we roll out the new service.”