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What Is All That Foreign Language?


"Media speak: Does not have to seem like a foreign language. Whether it’s a station rep, a media buyer or your PR firm, once you know some of the terminology used by media professionals, you’ll feel more comfortable dealing with them and making decisions that help you reach your communications goals.

(Note: Many of these terms also may be found in the glossary.)

Terms That Count

When evaluating a media plan, developing a media buy, or negotiating a buy with a station, here are some terms and acronyms that will help you:

Reach: The number or percentage of a population group (e.g., men 18-34) exposed to a media schedule within a given period of time.

Frequency: The average number of times people (or homes) are exposed to an advertising message or campaign.

Target Rating Points (TRPs)/Gross Rating Points (GRPs): Each TV program or radio daypart delivers a specified number of rating points. GRPs are the total of all ratings delivered by a given media buy or schedule. For example: If you purchase eight programs that each have a rating of 10 and six programs that have a rating of 5, then your schedule would deliver 80 + 30 = 110 GRPs.

Cost per Point (CPP): The cost of an advertising unit (spot) divided by the average rating of that unit for a specific demographic group. A rating or rating point is 1% of the total target audience (demographic group) in a given market (e.g., Orlando or Dallas). It’s often referred to as the cost of purchasing one rating point. For example, a unit or spot that costs $1,000 and delivers a “men 18-34” rating of 10 has a CPP of $100 ($1,000 spot rate/10 rating = $100 CPP).

Flight: The dates in which a campaign is scheduled to run.

Daypart: Time periods of the broadcast day. For example, TV dayparts are Daytime (9 a.m.-4 p.m.), Early Fringe (4-6 p.m.), Prime Time (8-11 p.m.), Late Night, etc. Radio dayparts are Morning Drive (6-10 a.m.), Midday (10 a.m.-3 p.m.), Afternoon Drive (3-7 p.m.), Evenings (7 p.m.-midnight), etc.

Some additional terms that will turn you into an old pro:

Billboard (BB): In broadcast, airtime (generally 2-10 seconds in length), usually given at no cost to an advertiser. It is generally offered to advertisers who purchase multiple commercials within a program.

Bonus Spot: A free announcement or commercial provided by a TV or radio station to an advertiser as value-added for running a schedule (your paid commercials) with the station.

Make-Good: Replacement of a spot missed or incorrectly scheduled by the station, with a spot of equal or better ratings and dollar value.

NCSA (Non-Commercial Sustaining Announcement): A hybrid between a public service announcement and a regular commercial advertisement designed to assist states and non-profits with broad-based public awareness campaigns.

Post-Buy: A performance measurement of a specific media buy. Post-buys are used to determine that you received the media elements that were purchased.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI): A measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a campaign is achieving key communication objectives.

Public Service Announcement (PSA): A commercial or liner that promotes programs, activities or services regarded as serving the community interest. They mostly are carried by stations free of charge, but while paid spots are scheduled at specified times, PSAs are broadcast at the station’s discretion.

Value Added: Any promotional or advertising unit (program sponsorships, liners, no-charge spots, print ads in the station’s promotional materials, etc.) where the cost is more or less absorbed in the media buy. Value-added promotions or units are usually offered as a reward to good advertisers and are provided at no additional cost.