Newspaper National Network: Newspaper’s C1 Buying Protocol

By Ray Chelstowski News Media Insights Archives

With the television Upfronts upon us, trade chatter has quickly moved to the disappointing results posted last week by Nielsen with regard to C3 ratings for the month of February: Down double digits across most dayparts at every major network. The conversation has officially moved to whether the buying protocol of C3 should officially move to C7. Currently C3 allows for audiences to cume during the period beginning with date of air plus three days. A more official industry move to the C7 protocol would extend the period of time-shifted viewing accordingly. This is a move that many agencies and advertisers  seem to favor. With DVR and on demand viewing clearly having an impact on day of air ratings, the interest in an industry wide policy change is understandable. Certainly without a shift supply becomes an issue at a time when advertiser demand is expected to be on the rise. However, the more practical question seems to revolve around advertiser needs. A move to C7 helps solve some ratings hurdles for networks, but how does it help an advertiser who is looking to sell a specific product within a specific window of time -- like this weekend?

Many newspaper companies have conducted their own analysis of the markets they serve to determine coverage and cume against these important audience segments. The intent is to demonstrate how single newspaper properties alone far out-deliver broadcast, even when broadcast assets in a region are bundled. The results are powerful. What they don’t consider is the impact of time-shifted viewing.

Nielsen data clearly demonstrates that when it comes to live events like the Super Bowl ratings delivery is not an issue. The balance of most other programming falls outside of “must watch tonight TV”. This is where newspaper platforms shine. At local news gathering’s core is a sense of immediacy, whether the content is delivered traditionally or through digital platforms. Newspaper cumes directly support this. General programming found in newspaper platforms drives a baseline amount of traffic and engagement day to day. But it is news as it breaks locally where demand increases and same day consumption is active and engaged. All content including advertising benefits when this happens. The argument is both logical and intuitive -- something more and more major marketers are discovering each day.

Today, they are focused on tying media investments to results, and newspaper has responded with a portfolio of research products that deliver data in the moment. We can quickly report back to marketers and inform them in real time how their ads are performing across platform, in essence “optimizing” their messaging as it airs. Ironically the one request that marketers haven’t made is for a tracking tool that measures the impact of newspaper platforms three to seven days after a campaign has aired. Maybe that’s because they know that when they run an ad with newspaper on Friday sales will be impacted immediately -- as intended.  They don’t need to ask this question as the answer is obvious: Newspapers deliver C1.

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