Media Planning & Buying Course Outline



 All Media: TV, Internet, Radio, Magazines, Newspapers, Out-of-Home

Percent Composition
  • Importance in the evaluation of media choices
  • Relationship to cost efficiencies
Percent Coverage 
  • Value of large coverage
  • Relationship between coverage and composition
Gross Rating Points (GRPs)
  • How they accumulate
  • GRPs vs. TRPs
  • Why online uses impressions and offline uses both impressions & GRPs
  • How to convert impressions to GRPs (& GRPs to impressions)
Reach & Frequency
  • What’s best for your brand?
  • What the metrics are based upon
  • Which has the greatest potential for increasing sales...Reach or Frequency?
  • How to increase reach without spending more money
Cost-per-Thousand (CPM)
  • How important is their role in evaluating media choices?
  • Why product/category user CPMs should be higher than demo CPMs
Cost-per-Rating-Point (CPP)
  • How a planner uses CPPs
  • How to convert CPPs to CPMs
  • Using indices to select target demographics and media
  • How indices are used to evaluate geographic markets

Television & Radio

  • What are they and how are they measured?
  • The value of larger vs. smaller ratings
  • Importance of share for both buyers & sellers
  • How they are used to estimate program ratings


  • Circulation vs. rate base
  • The value of newsstand sales
  • Paid vs. free circulation
Audit Reports
  • Importance in evaluating publications
  • ABC and BPA
  • Primary vs. secondary
  • How to calculate readers per copy (RPC)
  • Should a publication be rewarded for a high RPC?
  • Should negotiations be based on circulation or readers?
Issue Life
  • Media planning implications in scheduling monthly, weekly & daily publications
  • What each contributes to the plan



Media Spending

  • Spending forecast for this year
  • Which media receive the greatest share of spending?
  • What are the trends in spending?


Despite fragmentation, eroding ratings, low attentiveness and commercial avoidance, TV has not lost its allure for advertisers.
  • Have television viewing levels changed in the recent past?
  • What are the trends for wired Cable vs. Satellite?
  • How much ad spending are the broadcast networks receiving as compared to the cable networks & syndication?
  • Why national advertisers favor local television for heavy-ups
Network Erosion
  • What share of the viewing do the broadcast networks get and how does it compare to the cable networks?
  • Why broadcast still continues to garner significant advertiser dollars
  • How much attention are viewers paying?
  • Are there times of the day when attentiveness is better?
Commercial Clutter
  • What is the average number of minutes per hour spent on commercials and program promotions?
  • Is there a daypart that carries fewer commercials?
Commercial Avoidance
  • How have DVRs like TiVo affected viewing?
  • What are some remedies that advertisers have used to get their brands seen?
Geographic Skews
  • Are there parts of the country that under-deliver or over-deliver television ratings?
  • Should advertisers schedule incremental weight in under-delivered regions?
Strengths & Weaknesses
  • What are the primary reasons for recommending television?
  • How favorably will television be viewed in the next few years?


With competition from Satellite Radio and Internet Radio, the terrestrial medium has embraced new pricing structures and research techniques.
  • Where most listening takes place
  • Is radio a reach medium?
  • What kind of an impact has satellite & Internet radio had on terrestrial radio?
  • Why local advertisers favor radio
  • Why national advertisers limit their spending in radio
Listening Levels (PUR)
  • What percent of the population is listening to radio throughout the day?
  • Is listening on the decline?
  • How much of an audience drop off is there when commercials air?
  • Which is the top format?
  • How is radio used to deliver specific targets (both demographic & psychographic)?
Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Why radio is often the medium of choice for local advertisers
  • What added value opportunities are available to advertisers?


Around 500 new magazines are introduced each year, but only the strong survive.
  • What are the various revenue streams?
  • How important are subscriptions?
  • Why there has not been much growth in ad support over the past decade?
  • How does the future look?
Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Why advertisers use magazines to compliment their television efforts
  • What advertisers needs to know about demographic and geographic editions of national magazines


Circulation has been negatively impacted by the growth of the Internet driving the medium to find new ways of selling hard copy advertising, monetizing their websites and recapturing young adult readers.  
  • What percent of adults read a daily paper?
  • How newspapers have been affected by the Internet
  • Do the readers of online newspaper sites make up for the drop off in hard copies?
  • What type of advertiser provides newspapers with their greatest source of ad revenue?
  • Do newspapers negotiate rates?
Circulation Trends
  • How do circulation declines compare to broadcast television declines?
  • What newspapers are doing to recapture younger readers
Strengths & Weaknesses
  • What are the values attributed to newspapers?
  • Why have some advertisers minimized their use of newspapers (or chosen not to use them at all)?


The definition of the medium has grown to encompass far more than billboards. Digital and GPS technology, new venues and better research have revitalized the medium.
  • Industry trends
  • Metrics being used
  • How much spending is there in outdoor billboards?
  • Which out-of-home media forms are not included in measured spending?
Advertising Units
  • Are poster panels sufficient for an ad campaign or should larger bulletins be used?
  • What is the unique value of in-store, transit, rail, subway, taxi and mall advertising?
Strengths & Weaknesses
  • The reasons that out-of-home is recommended in a plan
  • What are some of the drawbacks

The Internet

The fastest growing ad medium in history shows no signs of slowing down or complacency; it just keeps evolving.
  • What kind of growth has online experienced compared to offline media?
  • Will the pattern of growth continue?
  • How is it used by direct marketers vs. those who are using online for branding?
  • What is the current spending in online media?
  • What online ad dollars are not included in measured spending?
  • Where is the money being spent?
Key Terms & Concepts
  • Equating online terms & concepts with offline media
  • Why the online industry is moving toward using the same language & metrics as offline media
Various Ways to Target
  • Are the premiums for specific ways of targeting warranted?
  • Local Market Targeting
  • What options are available to advertisers who want to heavy up in specific markets?
  • How good is the data used for geographic targeting?
Various Ways to Buy
  • What are the different pricing models used?
  • Which gives the advertiser the best ROI?
Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Why is online receiving all the buzz?
  • What is its unique contribution to the media plan?



Understanding the Marketing Problem

Marketing Objectives and Strategies
  • How the marketing process works
  • The role of the agency in developing goals
  • The importance of developing actionable, well thought out marketing objectives
Background Data
  • Where to get the necessary market research and how to analyze it
  • The importance of formulating a source of business definition
  • Analyzing share-of-market vs. share-of-voice
Advertising Objective
  • How the advertising objective is different from a marketing objective
  • Should agency compensation be tied in to sales performance?

Establishing Media Objectives

Target Audience
  • Who should the target audience describe…the brand user, the competitive user or both?
  • Why is it necessary to express the target in demographic terms?
  • Why the CPM for the end user should be significantly higher than the demographic representation of the user
  • Why geo-demographics is becoming increasingly more important
  • How valuable is psychographics?
  • How to determine whether a market has growth potential
  • Evaluating brand vs. category potential
  • How to determine if it is worth investment-spending in a market
  • What are the formulae for allocating dollars by market or region?
  • How to allocate spending by quarter or by season
  • How much should be spent in an introductory quarter?
  • Should brand advertising run concurrently with promotions?
Reach, Frequency & Continuity
  • How to determine whether a brand needs reach vs. frequency
  • What is the value of high reach in maximizing ROI vs. high frequency?
  • Is the need for reach & frequency the same for online & offline media?
  • How important is continuity vs. flighting or pulsing?
Creative Requirements
  • How creative requirements play an important role in media selection
  • What are some of the creative attributes advertisers look for?
  • Does the need for sight, sound & motion generally translate into a need for television?
  • What kinds of tests are there?
  • What are the guidelines for testing?
  • How long should a test run?
  • Is a "live" market test preferred over a simulation?

Selecting Media

Factors That Can Influence Media Selection
  • What are the most important considerations?
  • Are there client biases and can they be circumvented?
  • How different are agency plans from one year to the next?
Evaluation of Media Types
  • How does the marketing objective & strategy translate into media choices?
  • How an agency or advertiser undertakes the evaluation process
  • Why some media seem to be favored
Development of Alternatives
  • What other media mix options should be considered?
  • How does an optimization help to determine when you've reached a point of diminishing returns?
  • What about daypart, continuity, unit size & geographic alternatives?



How Choices Are Made Within a Single Medium

What are the key factors that influence buying decisions?
  • Are quantitative considerations more valuable than qualitative?
  • How important are CPMs?
  • Does a close relationship with a sales rep play a significant role?

TV Buying


  • What does Nielsen measure and how often?
  • How many households are in the Nielsen sample?
  • How do commercial ratings differ from program ratings?
  • What are the values of buying on an upfront basis vs. scatter?
  • How does the upfront work & why do we still have one?
  • When is the best time to begin negotiations for local television buys?
Negotiation Tactics
  • How negotiations take place
  • How important are CPMs?
  • How audience guarantees work
Sample Network TV and Cable Availabilities
  • What information is provided by the broadcast & cable networks
  • How packages work
Sample Spot TV Availabilities
  • How a buyer chooses one avail over another
  • The importance of qualitative vs. quantitative values
  • The metrics employed in making a television buy
  • Is an advertiser entitled to a postbuy analysis and what to expect as part of the guarantee?
  • Why spots are pre-empted
  • What are the standard industry practices in the handling of makegoods?

Radio Buying

  • Is Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) a better measure of listening?
  • What are the differences in listening levels between the diary method & the PPM?
  • When radio negotiations take place
  • Are there advantages to buying early?
Negotiation Tactics
  • What are some of the "extras" a buyer should expect in placing a radio buy?
  • Is it worth the cost to have a live DJ deliver the commercial?
  • Should you expect bonus spots?
Sample Spot Radio Buy
  • How many stations should be included in a buy?
  • What metrics are used in making a radio buy?
  • What factors contribute significantly toward reach attainment?
  • Should stations that don't have a commercial limit be penalized?
  • Are post buys necessary for radio?
  • How many pre-emptions should you expect?

Magazine Buying

  • How MRI & Simmons obtain readership data
  • What do they actually measure?
  • How to make a print buy utilizing product or category user data
  • Should a magazine be given a schedule for the full year or month-by-month?
  • Why magazines have such long lead times
Negotiation Tactics
  • When is the best time to negotiate?
  • Do all publications negotiate?
  • What is the likelihood of getting a bleed charge waived?
  • Is it necessary to pay a premium for cover positions?
Magazine Candidates List
  • What should be included in an RFP (request for proposal)?
  • How important is circulation vs. readership?
  • Should greater or lesser value be attributed to a publication with higher readers per copy?
Ad Positioning Scoring System
  • How to quantify the value received from an ad position
  • How to use an ad positioning scoring system in your negotiations
  • How important is front of the book?
  • How to develop short-fall analyses for a publication
  • How to take advantage of opportunistic offerings
  • What to expect in the way of competitive separation

Newspaper Buying

  • What does Scarborough measure?
  • How often are the surveys for newspaper readership conducted?
  • Is Scarborough a better tool than MRI & Simmons for obtaining local market newspaper readership?
  • When does the buying take place?
  • Why are newspaper buys often placed at the last minute?
Negotiation Tactics
  • Are newspapers negotiating rates?
  • What are some ways of reducing costs and maximizing ROI?
Newspaper Candidates List
  • What is the value of coverage vs. composition?
  • How much of a geographically fragmented market should be covered?
  • What kind of proof of performance do newspapers provide?
  • How much competitive separation can you expect?
  • What kinds of opportunistic offerings are made available?

Out-of-Home Buying

  • How does the out-of-home industry measure audiences?
  • What is the latest in demographic measurement?
  • When is the best time to secure out-of-home?
  • For how long do contracts typically run?
Negotiation Tactics
  • How to get greater mileage from an out-of-home buy for free
  • Is an annual commitment necessary?
Sample Out-of-Home Proposal
  • What information should you expect from an out-of-home company?
  • Should out-of-home impressions be given the same value as all other media?
  • What kind of proof of performance do out-of-home companies provide?
  • Whose responsibility is it to make sure that boards are free of graffiti?

Internet Buying

  • What are the differences between ComScore & NetRatings?
  • What other data is available in addition to audience measurement?
  • When is the best time to negotiate a buy?
  • Is there any benefit to a longer term buy?
Negotiation Tactics
  • How negotiable is online?
  • Ways of maximizing the client's investment
Sample Internet Buy
  • How to execute a branding vs. a direct marketing buy
  • How to manage a search campaign
  • Whose job is it to oversee the online campaign?
  • How much analysis is necessary for a branding vs. a direct marketing campaign?