Understanding Media Buying Terms- A Glossary Of Advertising Definitions

Learning Advertising, Radio Advertising

Buying radio and tv air time can be intimidating and confusing if you don’t understand standard advertising terms. Here’s a list of basic advertising definitions and media buying terms to help take the mystery out of the process.

Access – The hour just before prime in television.

Added Value– The extras that radio and TV stations will throw in to get your business. This might include a wide number of things such as free bonus spots, free news or traffic billboards, free production, etc. See negotiating tips for a more detailed explanation.

Arbitron– A research company that specializes in providing radio survey reports.

Avails– The commercial time open or available for sale on a station at the current time.

Billboard– Sponsor identification of a company in audio and/or video credit during the airing of a program. These are generally 5-10 seconds in length and separate from commercials.

Cost Per Point (CPP) – The dollars it costs to reach each percentage of the population, or point. Remember, a ratings point reflects 1% of that population. So if you want to reach 2% of all people between the ages of 25-54, you need to look for a program that has at least a rating of 2.0 in that age cell. CPP is dollar figure that tells you how much it costs to reach them. This measures the program or station’s efficiency in reaching your target demographic.

Dayparts– The time period radio and TV stations use for scheduling your commercial to air. Refer to our radio and tv daypart chart.

Demographics – Age groups and gender. Typically the age cells are 12+, 18+, 12-34, 18-34,18-49, 25-54, 35-54, 55+. This can be further broken down to Adults (or Persons), Men, and Women. The more narrowly you can define your desired target demographic, the easier it will be to select efficient stations and programs. See Identifying Your Target Customer for help with this.

Demographic Ratings– The number of individual people with the designated demographic group who tuned into that particular program or station. Radio stations generally use these ratings numbers, but TV stations use this or Household Ratings. Demographic Ratings is a more relevant measurement (especially when you are comparing with radio), so ask your AE to show you numbers based on Demographic Ratings, not Household Ratings.

Frequency – The average number of times a person is exposed to your commercial spot. Just because your commercial airs 30 times per week on a radio station, it doesn’t mean a listener will hear it 30 times. No one listens to a radio station 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Frequency gives you an idea of how many times the station’s average listener will be exposed to your commercial message.

Fringe – The hours outside of prime, and usually contain syndicated programming. Early fringe is 3-5pm. Late fringe is 11:30pm – 1am, just after the late news.

Gross Rating Points (GRP)– The sum of all rating points achieved for a specific spot schedule. Note: don’t be too concerned with understanding this. It’s not vital to buying media. We included some of these terms to help you feel less intimidated by all of the jargon and acronyms that show up on broadcast proposals and schedules.

Household ratings

Household Ratings – The number of individual households with TV sets tuned into a particular station. Each rating point equals one percent of that population. Television is rated by a third-party research company three times per year in most markets, although some are rated four times per year. The ratings times, or Sweeps, are November, February and May. Some markets also do ratings surveys during July, but many markets have stopped this practice since most primetime programming is in reruns or second-run shows during the summer months. You want to be in Prime dayparts during the Sweeps period, and not as much during the summer when people are doing other things and not watching TV. Summer is a good time to be in news and syndicated programming such as “Oprah.”

Market Share/Share – Of the people watching TV or tuning into the radio at any given time, the number tuned into a particular program or station. This will be a percentage number (i.e., 30% market share means of all the people watching TV at that time, 30% are watching that particular program).

Media Kit– A brochure package that includes general information on the station, programs, coverage maps, and other sales-related information.

For radio, your media kit should include a station profile, or psychographic information about the station’s audience, including a breakdown of male/female listeners, age cells, homeowners, education and income levels, etc.

For television, make sure the media kit includes a program listing or program grid. This is a listing of programs the TV station airs throughout the week and should include corresponding ratings information.

Media Mix– Use of more than one advertising medium in a campaign for combined maximum impact.

Nielsen– A research company providing local market audience ratings of television viewership.

Preempted– In TV especially, your spot might not run as scheduled for various reasons. If a program is sold out, some advertisers may pay a higher rate to get airtime. The station will drop advertisers based on their priority to get the higher paying advertisers on. Priority can be based on an advertiser’s rate or date they purchased the advertising (last one on is the first to be bumped). When your spot is preempted, you usually have the following choices: run the spot in the same program on a different day or week, run the spot in a comparable program (these two options are called make goods) or give you a credit (don’t charge you) for the cost of the spot. This is very common in television, and less common in radio. You need to communicate with your TV Account Executive which option you want them to employ before you sign your contract. If you are running a schedule that is crucial for the spot to run as ordered (you’re having a sale and the spot is time sensitive) you should consider negotiating a non-preemptible rate.

Prime – The time slot between 8-11pm, usually filled with nationwide network programming. (For radio, this refers to morning drive, mid-day and afternoon drive Monday through Friday.)

Ranker– A report based on ratings that shows a selected demographic audience of each radio or TV station in a market, ranked from the highest to the lowest. A radio ranker will show the station’s overall ratings. A TV ranker most likely will show that station’s rank in a particular daypart.

Reach – The number of people you will reach with your commercial message. Television is a reach medium, so this is an important part of your advertising strategy. This number can be shown as a ratings point or gross number, or both.

% Reach– Sometimes your schedule will show you the percentage of the target demographic your schedule will reach in your market.

Run of Station (ROS)– Scheduling of commercials to run at any time of day available.

Spot – Your commercial.

Spot Rate– The cost to air your commercial at a specified time.

Target Audience/Target Demographic – The people you’re trying to reach with your campaign, usually put in terms of demographics as described above.