National TV ACES 2017-18 TV Season: Upfront TV Network Cost Efficiency Estimates
The current issue, National TV ACES 2017-18, provides newly updated estimates of cost-per-thousand (CPMs) and cost-per-rating points (CPPs) for the 2017-2018 upfront. It presents our proprietary CPM and CPP projections for all three forms of national TV—broadcast networks, syndication and cable—by daypart and demographics on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.
Since reports of this nature require considerable explanation and interpretation, we invite interested parties to review the prospectus.
Published July 2017; 36 pages
CPMTrack provides considerable detail for national TV (network types, dayparts and, from 1994-95 on, demographics). Significant changes in magazine publishing genres over the years preclude this degree of differentiation, but CPMs by demographics from 2002-present are included for a number of editorial categories, in addition to more general adult CPMs for the top 150 publications. For radio, national spot and network adult CPM estimates on an all-daypart basis are provided.
Published: September 2017; 53 pages
A Media Planner's Guide to Intermedia Comparisons
Intermedia Dimensions is designed to facilitate the process of making intermedia comparisons and, more importantly, reviewing the synergies and interactions that various media mixes can generate. In addition to the basics (demographics, CPMs, reach & frequency, timing, etc.), Intermedia Dimensions presents many qualitative indicators reflecting the ability of ads in each medium to register sales messages, including the vital aspect of ad receptivity.
In the 2017 Edition:
Cost-per-Rating Points for All Forms Of Media By Demos:
• National & Spot TV (all dayparts)
• Spot Radio
• Network Radio
• Internet (video & banners)
• Out-of-home (billboards & digital)
Media Time Spent/Attentiveness/Ad Exposure
A new analysis trending the time we spend with each medium, how much time is fully attentive and how many ads we are exposed to daily from the 1960s to today.
Media Mix Reach Calculator
We have refined our formula, with exclusive adjustment factors that allow media planners or sellers to approximate the reach of any media mix in just a few minutes.
The 2017 edition of TV Dimensions provides the only independent and objective analysis of what's happening in television today. It covers all relevant aspects of the medium's performance, ranging from audience fragmentation, program type appeals, CPM trends, viewer attentiveness, and ad impact metrics to how the TV industry is adapting to ensure its continuing profitability, the competitive inroads made by subscription on demand (SVOD) players like Netflix, and how the upfront time buying process works and can be improved.
As indicated in the Editorial Outline, many of our reports contain our own expert estimates on subjects such as commercial exposure levels, the profitability of various segments of the TV industry, realistic TV reach curves, SVOD viewing by demographics, and America's weekly TV diet by program genre.
The Table Of Contents also provides a complete listing of all of the articles and tables included in this year's edition.
Over the past six decades of my career, I have either witnessed or been a participant in all of television's many evolutions and transformations, all the while remaining a fan to this multi-faceted medium. My background is sufficiently varied, so as to enable me to appreciate the many nuances and tradeoffs that are involved in both the business of television and how audiences respond to both ads and programming.
This book focuses on two pivotal aspects: the first is the evolution of the medium's programming and how audiences respond ("How we use it"); and the second concerns the business side—how programs are created, how time is bought and sold, how ads are created and how they function ("How it uses us"). In both cases I have tried to tell it like it is, while still being as objective as possible, despite strong personal feelings I may have about some of the events and practices the book covers.
Published January 2016, 270 pp.
This major report describes the comparability issues between the ways media audiences are measured and especially with definitions of "ad exposure" such as Nielsen's average commercial minute viewer ratings for national TV. A large body of evidence on ad recall norms is also evaluated, culminating with our independent estimates of how the reported audiences for each medium probably translate into comparable ad exposure and recall levels. (7.5 pages text; 1 table).
Yes, as this interesting analysis demonstrates, taking hundreds of GfK MRI measured publications in aggregate. So what month sees the highest magazine readership? See how your guess jibes with the facts. (.5 page text; 1 table)
While everyone seems focused on digital media's unique ability to target an advertiser's marketing prospects, radio can do a surprisingly good job in the area as well, with its multitude of AM/FM formats. This report profiles many of these formats, presenting their average quarter-hour adult listener audience composition by sex, age, income and race/ethnicity. (1.5 pages text; 2 tables).
How do AM/FM, Internet and satellite radio differ in the demographics of their listeners? This analysis answers this question, profiling adults by sex, and household income. The growth of alternative forms of radio access is also included in this report. (2 pages text; 2 tables).
The answer, so far, seems to be probably not, though there are some interesting directional findings in these studies that are worth noting. Also key are the basic pitfalls seen in in the methodologies of many ROI studies. An interesting new initiative by Nielsen Catalina solutions is also covered. (3.5 pages text; 3 tables).
An analysis of national and spot TV ad sales by commercial length from 1965-2016. While the 60-second spot was once TV's basic ad unit, it is rarely seen these days, as the percentage of ad units in shorter lengths has grown steadily. (1 page text; 1 table)
How do the various media platforms compare in terms of their audience to ad cost ratios (CPMs)? This report contains our estimates for standard ad units like TV :30s, magazine P4Cs, etc. across various forms of national and local TV buys. Radio, digital media, newspapers and out-of-home are also included. All figures are "raw" in that they utilize the audience "currency" accepted for each medium, without adjustments for ad exposure or impact levels. (1.5 pages text; 2 tables).
This report presents our exclusive estimates of time-on-screen and ad recall norms for various kinds of digital video and static display ads. We also examine how buying directly from a publisher versus programmatically, using different platforms, employing rich media and emphasizing editorial compatibility affect exposure and recall. (3 pages text; 2 tables).
There is a great deal more evidence on their subject than most people realize, and most of it shows that magazines as an effective advertising vehicle, despite the problems many face in retaining advertiser support. Many of the studies involve sophisticated sales tracking designs. (4 pages text; 2 tables).
Evaluates many observational studies of TV commercial "viewing," including a 2016 investigation by the Council for Research Excellence. Concludes with our estimates of the average adult's daily intake of TV commercials and their impact upon the viewer (3.5 pages text; 1 table)
This paper reviews the development and underlying theories that created the opposing "effective frequency" and "recency" concepts in media planning. As it demonstrates, both are based on flawed or misunderstood data and, in any event, are not practical solutions for all problems. Particular attention is paid to the misleading interpretations of scanner panel/audience frequency studies, which often go unnoticed. (5.5 pages text)
This report describes the means used to measure and define how viewers respond to television fare, as well as the many variables that influence the findings. We include classic studies of attentiveness from 1955-2016, as well as our own estimates of typical viewer attentiveness rates for broadcast networks, cable and syndicated TV fare by daypart. (4.5 pages text; 2 tables)
This report evaluates the current buzz about the importance of Millennials, using some interesting Bureau of Labor Statistics data on income and consumer spending. The notion that Millennials have deserted TV and embraced digital is also challenged, but planners are cautioned not to ignore the advent of more and better streaming video content, along with the targeting capabilities it affords marketers (2 pages text; 3 tables).
There's not a lot of statistical evidence on this subject, but this report reviews two studies that offer some insights. Clearly, most commercials have only a transitory impact at the conscious level and are quickly forgotten, although their impact on sales may linger long after exposure. (1 page text; 2 tables)
Some pundits claim that consumers are bombarded mercilessly by unwanted or irrelevant ads in all forms of media, including digital platforms. This report explodes that myth and reveals that, in fact, most ads that we are "exposed" to are never seen or heard, and that the number of ads that are noted per day, while slowly increasing, is hardly the barrage that is trumpeted in the trade press. (3.5 pages text; 3 tables).
In 1945, a typical adult devoted only five hours a day to radio, magazines and/or newspapers. Today, with TV and digital media in the mix, that figure has more than doubled, rising to 10.6 hours a day. This report presents this evolution in five year intervals, indicating which media are on the rise, which are holding their own, and which are in decline. Our latest estimates of daily media usage for adults by age and income are also included. (3.5 pages text; 3 tables).
When most magazines are launched, relatively few people are aware of them, and publishers must promote heavily to widen the circle of possible subscribers, single copy readers and, most importantly, their total audience currency, which is how most media planners and buyers evaluate them. In this context, we analyzed the performance of 30 new magazine launches over the past three decades, and noted a substantial increase in their reader-per-copy levels over the first seven annual measurements. The findings may surprise you. (1 page text; 1 table).
Do most advertisers really make seat-of-the-pants judgements about the kinds of commercials they should air to promote their products—as some critics maintain—or are they more sophisticated and data-driven in making such decisions? This report traces the evolution of TV ad impact studies and the various methods now utilized by national advertisers to guide them in evaluating the effects of their TV campaigns. (5 pages text)
To demonstrate the distinction between the impact of a single TV ad exposure and how a brand's campaign works over time, we depict the tale of Mike, a 40-year-old accountant who is exposed to TV commercials for a shampoo brand he doesn't use—not once, but on many occasions—until he finally tries it and what happens next. (3 pages text)
Ever wonder how advertisers and their agencies develop their TV branding campaigns? This report describes the many factors that are considered in positioning strategies and commercial execution, as well as how the players interact and how the final "go/no go" decision is made. It's a highly informative read that may surprise some skeptics. (8 pages text)
We present a hard-hitting review of the pros and cons of TV's upfront, explaining why buyers and sellers use broad aged-based metrics as their "targeting" currency. While most of the ideas for reforming the upfront have not proved fruitful, this report suggests an avenue that advertisers and agencies could explore that could improve their targeting under the current system and give them an edge over the sellers. (7 pages text; 1 table)
How do magazine ads perform in terms of ad recall by size of ad, by where in an issue they are positioned, and by what is facing them on the opposite page? This report describes magazine ad recall studies and how their methodologies affect the actual levels of ad recall that are reported. We present our own estimates for variations that a reasonable media planner can expect for each of the variables listed (1 page text; 1 table).
So when are magazines read or looked into? Does readership peak at certain times of day or certain days of the week? This report explores these questions, citing a number of interesting and not commonly seen studies on this subject. (2 pages text; 2 tables).
Median age calculations are commonly used to describe the audience profile of TV shows. The median age for the total population is about 38 years, so a show with a median age of 30 could be characterized as having a very young appeal. In this report we provide median age trending for primetime broadcast network fare, as well as current data for program genres for broadcast, cable and syndication. Sports viewership is also included. (1.5 pages text; 4 tables)
Two very interesting eye-tracking studies conducted in 2016 provide the framework for this update report on TV commercial attention levels including, in one case, sex, age and income breakdowns. (1 page text; 3 tables)
Can advertisers really target specific consumers who are identified as being actual or potential customers, while eliminating those who are not? This is the core premise of "addressable TV," which has many enthusiastic proponents, but so far has not garnered massive ad revenues. Why is this so? What are the problems faced by addressable TV sellers? These are the topics covered in this provocative, no holds barred report. (5 pages text)
In 1955, the broadcast TV networks and/or show sponsors paid about $30,000 per episode to air a first-run sitcom series on network television. How have primetime program license fees grown since then for sitcoms, dramas, reality fare and newsmagazines? This report answers this question, and the estimates reveal why the networks are so fond of the reality genre. (1.5 pages text; 1 table)
This report presents our analysis of the many studies on this subject, culminating in our estimates of how adults allocate their digital video time as a percent of all digital time by platform. We also show the composition of digital video adult audiences by age and income, revealing how attractive the demos are for most advertisers. (1 page text; 4 tables).
What kinds of adults—by sex, age and income—are likely to be watching an average early evening newscast or a primetime animated sitcom? Utilizing a variety of audience studies, this report provides our independent estimates for broadcast TV genres by daypart (prime, day and fringe) plus cable and sports. Even though individual shows may depart from genre norms, this type of analysis should nevertheless prove to be directionally helpful to media planners, buyers and sellers. (2 pages text; 5 tables)
A review of the development of programmatic (automated) buying in digital media and its attempts to move into television. The basic needs of TV ad sellers and the pitfalls hindering their acceptance of programmatic are discussed in detail, along with recommendations about revisions to existing programmatic systems that might create a better fit with the realities of linear TV buying and selling. (6.5 pages text)
It has long been assumed that radio ads lack the attention-getting and motivating power of TV commercials because it is not a visual medium. Early ad recall studies seemed to justify this assumption. But there are other ways to evaluate the impact of radio relative to TV; this paper explores some of this research, with some surprising results. (3.5 pages text; 4 tables).
Is radio really a frequency medium, while TV is a reach medium? Is this a good way to position radio today? We think not. This report describes the evolution of radio audience research and shows AM/FM reach capabilities, which some may find surprising, but which we have touted for years. We also include suggestions on action that could be taken to revamp the medium's ratings reports so that its reach potentials are more readily seen by advertisers and agencies. (3.5 pages text; 2 tables).
After reviewing all of the audience studies for each medium, we have prepared a set of independent estimates that show how the adult reach of numerous media types—"linear" TV, SVOD, streaming radio, smartphone video, digital editions of magazines, social media, etc., develop from an average minute to a day, month and finally a year. Similar estimates for adults by age and income are also included. The findings may surprise you. (1 page text; 3 tables).
This provocative report provides an up-to-date review of the current SVOD/OTT situation, which is becoming increasingly competitive. New estimates of SVOD usage are presented, indicating some surprising meterized data regarding Netflix. (3 pages text; 3 tables)
How did the magazine industry get into the reach (and frequency) game, and how rapidly do individual publications and combinations of titles maximize their reach? Following a brief history, this report shows what factors are involved and how the reach concept works. Guess what? It's just like TV. (4.5 pages text; 5 tables).
Every since Alfred Politz developed the "total audience" concept for Life magazine in the late-1940s, a debate has raged between those claiming that pass-along readers have little value to advertisers, and those publishers who benefit from having large numbers of such readers. A number of interesting studies will help to put this issue to rest, including a fairly recent one on public place readership. (1 page text; 2 tables)
If you run an ad on national TV, how long does it take to attain all of the viewers for that specific telecast? What about magazines, digital media, newspapers and radio? This report contains our estimates of how much time it takes for an "ad exposure" in eight media to attain their total reach. (1 page text; 1 table).
A review of published research on how TV ad campaign effectiveness wears out over time. Also included is a fascinating new demonstration of how the effectiveness of a 2,000 GRP campaign might develop if real world ad reach/frequency and ad impact/sales metrics are applied. (4 pages text; 4 tables).
This report presents our estimates of TV ad revenues from 1950 to 2016, for national and local buys, and includes breakdowns for the broadcast TV networks, cable and syndication from 1980 on, as well as a special analysis that compares the share of audience (GRPs) attained in 2016 by the various TV ad seller types relative to their share of ad revenue. This factors in their ad clutter ratios, the length of ads sold and CPM differentials. (1.5 pages text; 4 tables)
This report reviews various studies that sought to determine whether people watching certain genres of TV programming were more inclined to watch and/or recall their TV commercials than those viewing other forms of content. Topics that that have a bearing on the subject, including dial switching avoidance and ad recall, are discussed. (3 pages text; 6 tables)
A first-time ever analysis of commercial TV’s income from all sources—not just ads—and its costs and gross profits in total for the key players: broadcast networks, basic cable channels and local stations. Separate breakdowns for TV news content are also included. Overall, commercial TV’s average gross profit margin is an astounding 38%. You may be surprised at many of the projections showing how the networks, stations and cable compare. (4 pages text; 2 tables)
This report reviews the development of TV's upfront and presents our exclusive estimates of primetime ad spending for the broadcast TV networks and cable for the 2017-18 upfront. Also included are long term trends for ad spending and adult CPMs, as well as individual estimates of upfront ad sales for individual broadcast networks since the 1990-91 season. (5 pages text; 4 tables).
As more and more channels became available to a typical American TV home, set usage increased significantly while average tune-in levels per channel declined. In the early-1950s, shows aired nationally by ABC, CBS and NBC captured 60% of all set usage across a typical day. Today that figure is a mere 12%. This report describes the changing distribution of all set usage by number of channels viewed and distribution of TV usage by program source (including SVOD) and daypart. (1 page text; 3 tables)
An exclusive analysis of the trends in TV set usage by program genre as it has evolved from the early 1950s to 2016. The analysis concludes with a breakdown of the weekly time spent with each genre for children, men and women, younger versus older adults, and lower versus upper income adults. (1.5 pages text; 2 tables)
Would an average consumer—who supposedly watches only 17 channels, but pays for 203—really benefit if TV became totally unbundled and each household could subscribe only to the channels it wants? This report explores this question, debunking many myths about how many channels we actually watch, and what the consequences of unbundling might actually be. (3 pages text; 2 tables)