Searching Documentaries, TV and Radio

There are search engines. There are subscription-based databases like Lexis, Westlaw, Factiva. There are online databases that aren’t indexed by search engines. But there is a whole other universe of media coverage that is completely missing in the above. What is it you ask?

Television and Radio.

Some shows post transcripts on their website, which makes the content searchable. Such as Frontline, for example. But what if you aren’t looking for comments by a national figure?

What if your search is dated or more obscure than that?

Here are some resources I like:  Docuseek is a search site for independent documentary, social issue and educational videos available in the U.S. and Canada. You can search its archive of 3,200 films by keyword.  Video Monitoring Service grew out of the “clipping services” that used to be the way people stayed on top of specific topics in the news. What I love is VMS’ historical ad collection “…over five million ads across 20 media types, with TV dating back to 1950, radio back to 1979 and print back to 1880.”

This is particularly useful in intellectual-property disputes for establishing prior use or illustrating trademark infringement.

There are “monitoring” services like this that have been collecting media ads all over the world. Here’s one for India: that claims to have online archives of 900,000 Indian, International TVCs, Press Ads and Marketing News.

And here are some sites that promise keyword-searching of TV and cable news broadcasts: Goes back at least two weeks (although I had search results 6+ months back.) Bills itself as a digital newsstand. Says it has archived TV news back to 2000, but not searchable online.

And finally, a radio-specific site: Provides keyword searching of news, talk, business & financial radio.