NEW YORK: Facing intense media scrutiny and regulatory challenges, CEOs in the US are spending more time on both internal and external communications than they did a year ago.That is according to the results of the annual PRWeek/Burson-Marsteller CEO survey, in which 192 CEOs answered questions about how they are prioritizing different PR objectives, and how they positively regard their in-house PR staffs. Asked how much time they are spending on internal communications, 61% of CEOS said they were investing more time than they did a year ago. Sixty-two percent reported they are spending more time on external communications than last year. "The results of this survey are a further statement about the increasingly important role of communications," said Chris Komisarjevsky, CEO of Burson. He added that the growing focus on internal communications was an indication that CEOs understand more than ever that they have to build and protect brands and reputation "from the inside out." Media relations is still important, of course. Thirty-one percent of CEOs said they are more likely to participate in a media interview than they were a year ago. Only 15% said they are doing fewer interviews. CEOs also reported a greater appreciation for the corporate communications function, with 66% saying their regard has increased since last year. Only 4% said it had declined.