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ABC to Audit Publishers's Readership Studies

Upping The credibility of Reader Surveys

Magazine publishers know that making claims about one's readers based on direct-mail subscriber studies is like boasting about your good looks in a personal ad: You may be telling the truth, but don�t expect anyone to take your word for it. That could change, though.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations is introducing a new program that could cause advertisers to regard subscriber study data from participating magazines with less skepticism.

Under that program, called Subscriber Profile, ABC works with research providers to audit each step of a subscriber study, from ensuring that the sample selected is representative to seeing to it that questions are worded in a standardized way to avoid biasing the responses.

This is so long overdue. I have had to endure years of readership study puffery. I hope this works. I hope it becomes a standard. Whether it insures accuracy, I don't know. Even if it doesn't, at least we will be able to fairly compare the puffery.
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by Steve Hall    Dec-10-02    




AMA Wants to Ban Beer and Wine Ads from TV

AMA Goes After Beer Ads Aimed at Underage Drinkers

The American Medical Association (AMA) wants to ban beer and wine ads from prime-time television and is asking both network and cable TV to veto all ads that feature "mascots, celebrities or sports figures promoting alcohol products."

Dr. J. Edward Hill, chairman of the AMA's board of trustees, said the AMA is asking both networks and cable outlets to sign onto a voluntary agreement to hold off beer and wine ads until after 10 PM or initiate a total ban during programs that are aimed at youth--defined as a viewing audience that is at least 15% adolescents. He announced the new initiative at a press conference held in conjunction with the AMA's office of alcohol and other drug abuse.


Is this good? Maybe. Or is it just another sign of our puritanical, politically correct over reaction to everything?

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by Steve Hall    Dec-10-02    




MediaPost Daily News Gets a New Look

Read about it here.
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by Steve Hall    Dec-10-02    




More On Ad Spending Rising in 2003

I don't know. One day it's up. The other it's down. I don't know what to make of it but I am an optimist so here's yet another prognostication on the 2003 advertising industry:

Ad Spending Seen Rising 5 Percent in '03

Total U.S. advertising spending in 2003 is expected to increase 5 percent from a year ago, surpassing the lofty level reached during the dot-com boom in 2000, according to a closely watched forecast by media buyer Universal McCann.


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by Steve Hall    Dec- 9-02    




Red Papers of Chicago Botch Launches

CHICAGO'S 'RED' NEWSPAPERS ATTEMPT YOUNG SKEW

Yet its clumsiness in marketing to that generation ends up poking through. It touts temporary tattoos emblazoned with the new offering's name so readers, one ad proclaims, can "let the world know how cool you are." Which prompts one reader to sneer, "There are few things less cool."


Did the paper actually promote their new offering this way? Don't they know the cardinal rule of coolness? As soon as you say something is cool, it is cool no longer. What a stupid mistake. Here's what some have to say about it:


"I don't see the point, and I don't know anyone who's going for it," said Brian Case, a 25-year-old Chicagoan, of the Red papers. His buddy Rob Lowe, 27, has only read Red Streak -- which featured his band on the front page -- but is even more dismissive. "It's so vapid, it's not even something I consider offensive. "


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by Steve Hall    Dec- 9-02    




I'm too Sexy For Myself

It's tough growing up. Poor Hilary Duff, who plays lizzie Mcguire on the Disney show, has become too "grown up" to portray a middle schooler so Disney is cancelling her show. In fact, Disney accelerated the production of the series just to get episodes in the can before she grew up too much.

All is not lost, however, for Hilary, who may find a spot on ABC's prime time schedule with and extesion of the "Lizzie" character
or with a new series.

Such important news to know.


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by Steve Hall    Dec- 9-02    




A Creatives Opinion on Online Creative Optimization

Like anything, there is no golden goose egg (or however that old saying goes) when it comes to optimizing the online creative process. Like anything, some things just work and we will never know why. While we are getting better at evaluating and optimizing creative, technology will never offer the complete solution.

The Little Banner That Could

Technology is no substitute for smarts, communication, and trial and error. That isn't to say we should abandon investment in creative optimization technology; rather, we should put it in its place. Technology can't optimize for us, only facilitate our optimization. Creative analytics technology investment is poorly spent when its output is never even seen by the department actually producing the creative. We simply don't know enough yet to take that step. Yet, we are choosing new technologies that all but guarantee the creative optimization process will be completely siloed away from the creative departments themselves.


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by Steve Hall    Dec- 9-02    




Median Age of Newscast Viewers Up

After 9/11, the median age of newcast was down as more younger people tuned in. News organizations loved it. But, it did not last.The Graying of the News

...The median age of viewers for CBS' 60 Minutes has grown to 59 from 57. In households, the news mag's ratings are down 5 percent from last season, but its 18-34 and 18-49 ratings are lower by 13 percent and 19 percent, respectively. Its 35-64 rating is up 7 percent, while its 55-plus audience is flat. CBS' 48 Hours has risen in median age to 56 from 53. While its 18-34 ratings are down and 18-49s are flat, the show has seen its 55-plus ratings grow by 25 percent.

ABC's Primetime Thursday is down 21 percent in households, with a sizable chunk of that coming from the loss of 18-34 and 18-49 viewers, down 38 percent and 40 percent, respectively, in the ratings.

NBC's Dateline Tuesday and Dateline Friday are both down in households, 3 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Dateline Tuesday is off 5 percent in 18-34 and 10 percent in 18-49, and Dateline Friday is down 2 percent in 18-49. Yet Dateline Tuesday is up 25 percent in male viewers 55-plus, and Dateline Friday is up 30 percent among male viewers in that demo and up 54 percent in females 55-plus.

"Younger people have a tendency to pay more attention to crisis events," said Brad Adgate, vp of research for Horizon Media. "Many of them have returned to watching sitcoms. As for older viewers, news programming is really a safe harbor for them. There's not much else that targets them."


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by Steve Hall    Dec- 9-02    




Fighting Spam: An Alternative Approach

Our Best Weapon for Fighting Spam? Whitelists

In the bigger picture, Banister's Bonded Sender idea is validation of the notion that whitelists could play an increasingly important role on smacking down spam. But in order for whitelists to reliably extend their utility to the rest of us (and not just companies that can afford to put up thousands of dollars in bond money), we'll need established methodologies and techniques that don't reproduce the kind of problems caused by blacklists--ones that don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

In this ZDNet article, David Berlind contends that certifying "good" email rather then eliminating "bad" email is the best solution for fighting spam. Read the article and you decide.
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by Steve Hall    Dec- 8-02    




Measuring Viral Advertising

Buzz, word of mouth, viral, guerilla. Call it what you will but it is all really the same thing and it has been around to a long time. It has been proven to be the most trusted form of marketing and advertising. Who are you going to trust more, an ad or a recommendation from a friend? But for marketers, determining what effect word of mouth plays a marketing program is elusive.

Until now. David Godes and Dina Mayzlin put out a study on this very topic.

The study is not new. In fact, it was published last spring. But, it is just now receiving notice. The point these two make is that the effectiveness of buzz should not be based on pure volume (number of mentions) but on dispersion (how and where that message travels). Is talk of the new Apple ibooks within Apple discussion groups all that important? Or is the same discussion within PC based discussion groups more important? It is the latter, Godes and Mayzlin contend. The important metric is how fast and far the message is dispersing. Not how much the message is being discussed.

Read more on this topic in the Boston Globe and in the HBS Working Knowledge newsletter.
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by Steve Hall    Dec- 8-02    




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