Turner Continues to Press Buyers on Reach


Turner Broadcasting Sales Inc. is banking that its "Media in the Millennium III" study will cause advertisers to reroute more big bucks from the broadcast medium during the coming upfront season.

Subtitled "The Broadcast Reach Myth," the goal of the latest pitch — which agencies and clients will hear prior to Turner Entertainment Networks' April 29 upfront presentation — is to persuade advertisers that they can gain the same reach by substituting a fully distributed cable network for any broadcast network.

Another myth holds that cable is typically a frequency medium, said executive vice president of marketing and research Barry Fischer, who recently unveiled the analysis tool at press breakfast.

"The truth is that both [broadcast and cable] achieve both [reach and frequency], and both are interchangeable," Fischer said.

Developed over the past eight months in association with Nielsen Media Research and Multimedia Solutions Corp., the tool turns on the "Turner Multidimensional Analytical Platform," a proprietary interactive application.

As such, Turner can plug unit prices into T-MAP that reflect those negotiated at prices lower than the rate card for specific accounts, like Paramount Pictures Corp., or high-volume buyers, like Procter & Gamble Co., said Fischer.

For the first time, the companies assembled raw data from various Nielsen sources into a single database, including specific client schedules, commercial-minute ratings, demographics and cost data. Clients are not identified by name.

The results show that broadcast can be an "exorbitantly priced frequency medium," said Fischer.

In a demonstration that featured a client's detailed broadcast and cable primetime schedule, Fischer cited the point at which there was "little or no incremental reach" to a $12 million buy made in April 2002. Moreover, he maintained that T-MAP can estimate "the relative monetary penalty" if the buy fails to add much to reach.

"If you don't reach new people, it becomes real expensive," he said.

In his demonstration example, Fischer said it cost the client $2 million to buy time on a series to add just 1 percent of new viewers to its audience-reach levels, which he dubbed "incremental reach points."

A marketer's "double-spotting" — or running a commercial twice on one program (ABC's Philly) — was inefficient, since it contributed little to the campaign's overall reach, he noted.

"If you're going to buy frequency, why not spend much less on cable rather than on broadcast?" Fischer asked, placing broadcast's unit cost at $100,000 versus cable's $10,000, by way of illustration. "If you're reaching nobody new, why buy it?"

Horizon Media executive vice president Aaron Cohen, who was among those given a sneak preview by Turner, called Millennium III and T-MAP "an innovative look into how to better use television." In particular, he liked the ability to create various buy scenarios, he said.