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Media Buy Tips | Whitehardt

By Kevin White, CEO and President, Whitehardt, Inc.

As an advertising attorney, I’m sure you’re at least a little familiar with a broadcast calendar – a broadcast month always starts on a Monday and each quarter has two 4-week months and one 5-week month.

It’s a goofy system, but it does have its purpose. The biggest reason to have such a system is because most ad time is bought as a number of spots per week – for example, we might order six 30s and four 15s next week on Judge Judy. It would get terribly confusing if the billing period broke up that order mid-week.

Love it or hate it, the broadcast calendar is universally recognized as the standard by all TV stations, media buyers, and Neilson. But there’s a math flaw in it…

· 13 weeks in a quarter

· 52 weeks in a year

· 52 weeks x 7 days = 364 days per year

Now, we all know that’s not true. There are 365 days in a year, sometimes 366. Eventually those extra days are going to pile up and we’re going to have to have a 53-weeker. In fact, this year is the first one since 2006.

Sure, that’s fun math and all, but so what?! Why should you care? Well, if you’re like my clients, you’ve got a quarterly budget that is equal to 13 times your weekly budget. But 3rd quarter of this year has 14 weeks and it starts today, Monday, June 25th.

Let’s look at the implications: whatever your budget is per quarter, your buyer spreads that amount over 13 weeks – but not this quarter. Your buyer is probably spreading that same budget over 14 weeks, reducing your weekly viewership by 7.6% for the next 3 months.

I don’t know about you, but I would not find this acceptable.

A better option would be to pony up some extra cash – add the equivalent of one week’s budget to your overall budget for 3Q and you will not have given up any ground.

If your buyer is a shrewd negotiator, you might have pulled off something even better. Our clients are getting the week that includes Wednesday, July 4th, at no charge. That’s right! A free week of media!

Ask your buyer what you’re doing to thwart this year’s 53rd week. If he/she turns out to be an idiot, please consider letting us do your buy.


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