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Debate Garners $34.5 Million in PR for Ole Miss

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First Presidential Debate Garners $34.5 Million in PR for Ole Miss
Jackson, MS – The first presidential debate held at the University of Mississippi and the events leading up to it earned the university the advertising equivalency of almost $35 million in publicity. Ole Miss is enjoying the media spotlight and its glow after the tremendously successful presidential debate last Friday. The university became the center of the media universe beginning last Wednesday when Senator John McCain announced that he was delaying his campaign because of the U.S. economic crisis.
“From Wednesday’s announcement that Sen. McCain would not attend the debate until the coverage and analysis of the debate ended Friday night, Ole Miss enjoyed 72 hours as the political news epicenter of the world,” said Rick Looser, COO of The Cirlot Agency in Jackson. Over the last year, The Cirlot Agency has assisted the university with marketing and public relations for the debate. The Cirlot Agency’s media and public relations experts, along with the university’s media and PR department, were on hand at the university last week to assist with the 3,000 media representatives who flooded the Oxford area.
That dramatic announcement caused media to focus more on the debate at Ole Miss. Cable news networks even broadcast live the “Welcome to Mississippi” press conference with Chancellor Robert C. Khayat and Governor Haley Barbour, which was planned weeks ago. While awaiting word on the likelihood of the debate taking place, hundreds of reporters, producers and photographers attended various other media events, which highlighted Ole Miss’ faculty, students and alumni.
That three-day intense focus on the debate has skyrocketed public relations values for the university. From June through September 30, the value totaled more than $34.5 million. The number of stories mentioning “Ole Miss and debate,” “University of Mississippi and debate,” or “Oxford and debate” totaled 11,409.
“The media coverage of the presidential debate does not include the actual presidential debate broadcast, only the stories about the debate at Ole Miss,” said Looser. “The media response was tremendous. From crew members to some of the best-known journalists, all complimented Ole Miss on its hospitality, facilities and set-up,” said Looser. “I anticipate that additional stories and coverage over the next few weeks will push the final public relations value to $50 million.”
The Cirlot Agency used Cision to monitor debate media coverage. Cision, the leading global provider of media monitoring, research, distribution, and evaluation services, utilizes information from over 135,000 media outlets worldwide. Each story includes one of the following key phrases: “Debate at Ole Miss,” “Debate at the University of Mississippi,” or “Debate in Oxford, Mississippi.” There are other “generic” mentions of the key phrase “Debate in Mississippi,” which were not included in the statistics below.
State, National, & International Broadcast Coverage:
Total Hits: 6,663
Total Audience: 642,973,530
Total Publicity Value: $29,106,798
State, National & International Print Coverage:
Total Articles: 727
Total Circulation: 163,701,984
Total Publicity Value: $2,195,475.95
Internet Coverage:
Total Articles: 4,019
Total Publicity Value: $3,240,875.65
The total media coverage is combined below:
Total Stories (Print, Internet, Broadcast): 11,409
Total Circulation/Audience: 806,675,514
Total Publicity Value: $34,543,149.60

Cision uses audience metrics to determine publicity values of broadcast, print and Internet to determine the figure. Broadcast Publicity Value is an estimate of the implied value of a news mention based upon segment airtime. The Cision proprietary broadcast value is generated based on an algorithm using estimated impressions, stated ad rates, estimated running time and an industry standard multiplier. Rates are based on published rate cards and do not reflect negotiated media buys. Newspaper, magazine and other print publications use audited circulation figures. Online articles use Nielsen NetRatings, which is the global standard for Internet audience measurement. NetRatings provide the number of unique visitors to that website over a particular period. Taking into account the number of impressions using specific media figures above, Cision factors in the average cost per impression and the length of the article/segment to derive the publicity value.
The Cirlot Agency, a Mississippi-based, full-service, marketing, public relations and corporate communications firm, represents accounts on a national and international basis ranging from Fortune 100 companies to some of the world’s largest privately held corporations.