NAAAd Responds To News On Media Reach p.20

By: Kelvin Childs The Newspaper Association of America, in half-page ads in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, challenges news media assertions that network TV has the biggest reach of any medium. "If you've been reading about the annual network TV upfront buy recently completed and the unrelenting increases in commercial inventory, you may be a little confused," states the ad, an open letter from NAA president and CEO John F. Sturm to the advertising community. "You may be trying to figure out why a medium that has just registered flat sales from one season to the next is seen as successful and why advertisers are content to pay more for increased clutter and declining audiences."
Sturm said the ad was in response to a June 17 piece by Times advertising columnist Stuart Elliott about this year's upfront buys, the commercial time sold by the broadcast TV networks in advance of the 1998-99 season. ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC sold $6.05 billion to $6.1 billion in ads for the period, about $50 million more than last year, Elliott reported. If UPN and WB are included, the upfront sales went to $6.4 billion to $6.5 billion, about $150 million to $200 million more than a year earlier.
"In many industries, of course, flattish sales would be cause for concern rather than celebration," Elliott wrote. "But broadcast television, besieged by viewer defections and beset by competition from cable networks and even the Internet, is happy to have won by not losing, escaping the steep declines that had been forecast before the start of the upfront selling period." Analysts had anticipated a sales drop of as much as $400 million, Elliott reported. He quoted a media buyer as saying the broadcast networks "still have the biggest reach of any media."
NAA's ad disputes that assertion, stating, "The 1,509 daily U.S. newspapers generate far greater reach than average prime for all four networks combined." It also states, "A 53% daily and 62% Sunday reach can be delivered at the lowest cost per reach point of any medium."
Sturm said the ad is part of NAA's efforts to tout newspapers as an effective advertising vehicle. "It's a constant and ongoing and everyday effort to market the power of newspapers," he said. "The quote provided an opportunity to do something different."
Sturm said the ad ran for free in the Tribune, while NAA negotiated a deal for the space in the Times, where a half-page weekday ad generally costs over $43,000, a sales rep said.
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site: http: www.mediainfo. com) [caption]
?(Editor & Publisher, July 4, 1998) [Caption]


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