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The Media Handbook






Katz H. The Media Handbook – Mahwah, New Jersey, London : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, 2003. – 183 p.


Contents in Brief






Contents in brief


Chapter 1 What Is Media?

Chapter 2 Media In The Marketing Context

Chapter 3 Developing Optimal Media Objectives

Chapter 4 Exploring The Media

Chapter 5 Terms, Calculations, and Considerations

Chapter 6 Creating the Plan

Chapter 7 Offering Alternatives

Chapter 8 Making the Media Buys

Chapter 9 Evaluating the Media Plan




What a difference a decade makes.

Just 10 years ago, as the first edition of this book was being prepared for press, media remained, in many ways, the misunderstood sibling of the agency family – an outpost on the industry landscape.

I'll say it again: What a difference a decade makes.

Today, media stands toe to toe with disciplines that once overshadowed it, a creative, dynamic, brand-building force in its own right. Overlooked no longer, it has become by any measure a leading communications architecture – and arguably the fastest growing, fastest changing of them all.

If Helen Katz's first Media Handbook anticipated media's vast potential to transform the communications environment, think of the new, revised edition as a vital roadmap for navigating its ever-evolving highways and byways. Anyone who realizes that knowledge is media's coin of the realm will find pure gold in the pages ahead–timely and timeless information that's as valuable to media practitioners as it is to students of the field.

Of course, as The Media Handbook reminds us, we're all really students of the field. If so, we have Helen Katz to thank for such an indispensable textbook.

Jack Klues, Chief Executive Officer, Starcom MediaVest Group





When I first considered revising this book, I went back to the question I posed at the start of the original edition, the one that everyone has always asked me: "What do you do in media?'' I wondered whether, half a decade or so later, that question still needed an answer. Although much has changed in both advertising and media industries (changes that I have attempted to incorporate in the text), the question remains valid. Indeed, in some regards, it has become a harder question to answer. For although media specialists are far more deeply and thoroughly involved in the overall marketing process, and in fact play a more critical and expansive role than they used to, the understanding of what it is that they do has not necessarily kept up with those changes.

Media planning has, for most of those involved with it on a regular basis, been transformed into communications planning as the definition of media has expanded to include everything from the Internet to sports stadiums, to elevator or airport TV screens to event sponsorships and promotions. On the buying side, successive waves of ownership consolidation have reduced the number of media owners significantly in most major media forms, leading to the frequent need to negotiate across media types by owner rather than simply buying time or space in specific vehicles. So although account executives still deal with the client, creatives continue to design the message, and consumer researchers are just as busy focusing on what people think, feel, and do, the media folks have a new and challenging role to play.

The goal of this book, however, remains the same. The Media Handbook is written as a basic introduction to the media planning and buying process. It can help the college student gain a clearer understanding of what media is, and how it fits into the overall marketing process. Or it can be a useful reference book for people working in the advertising or media industries whose responsibilities sometimes overlap with the media function. The book begins with a look at the larger marketing, advertising, and media objectives, followed by an exploration of major media categories (now including the Internet). The nuts and bolts of planning and buying take up much of the remainder of the text, with a continued focus on how those tactical elements tie back to the strategic aims of the brand and client.

Media terms are defined when they are introduced so that, in the jargon-filled worlds of media acronyms, the reader will start to feel more comfortable in subsequent discussion of GRPs, DMAs, or BDIs. The book also includes numerous examples, mostly of actual national brands in largely fictitious situations, in order to provide a better sense of how media planning and buying work in the real world. Examples of research studies, from both industry and the academic world, have been added to give readers additional resources to go to for more in-depth information. At the end of the book, a selection of key resources is offered as an appendix for those individuals or companies that wish to find out more about a particular service or system.

Media planning and buying are not, and should not be thought of as, mystical or esoteric. The media function certainly involves a good deal of expertise and intelligent thinking, and also requires a judicious combination of art and science, creativity, and mathematical applications, but it should be fairly easy to understand by anyone involved in the marketing of a product or service. Indeed, it should really be a prerequisite that all those who are trying to sell something, whether it is a widget or an image, should have the basic knowledge of how media planning operates. That is where the message ends up, and if it is placed incorrectly or not seen by the chosen target audience, even the most creative or inspiring ad will be unable to boost sales.

After reading this new edition of The Media Handbook, you will be able to answer the question of what is done in media with confidence, clarity, and a fuller understanding of how media fits in to the larger advertising and marketing picture.




This book is deliberately designed as a media handbook. It will not tell you every last detail about each individual medium, nor will it go into great depth on nonmedia advertising elements, such as the creative message or the consumer research that goes on behind the scenes. What it will do, however, is give you a complete picture of how media planning, buying, and research work. You will see what each function entails, and how they fit together with each other and within the framework of the marketing mix. You will know enough by the end of this book to be able to create your own media plan, or undertake a print or broadcast buy. Even if you are not directly responsible for either of those tasks, a greater understanding of how media fit in to the marketing picture will help you communicate with those who do such work. Each chapter builds on and works off the preceding ones, although once you have been through them all, it is designed to be very easy for you to refer to specific tasks or concepts at a later date. At the end of each chapter you will see a checklist of questions that you should ask yourself if you actually have to fulfill the objective of that particular chapter (such as setting objectives, or evaluating the plan). At the end of the book, you will find a list of additional resources you can turn to for help in media planning, buying, and research.


CHAPTER ONE. What Is Media?


It's 7:30 a.m. You wake up and turn on the radio, then open your local newspaper to see what has been happening in the world. During breakfast you turn on the television to catch a few minutes of the morning news shows. Before heading off to work you check your e-mail on the Internet. On the train to work you listen to the local radio station on your walkman, looking out of the window at a few outdoor billboards on the highway that you pass by.

In that brief time span, you have been immersed in the world of media. Very broadly, that world includes radio, Internet, television, newspapers, magazines, and outdoor billboards. Although you selected the radio to listen to music, or the newspaper to read the latest news, or the television to watch a program, what you also did was receive information through a means of communication, or a medium. Given this broad definition, you can see that there are in fact hundreds of different media available, such as direct mail, skywriting, coupons, stadium signs, key rings, and food containers. All of these, and many other media, offer us ways of communicating information to an audience. As advertising media professionals we are interested in looking at the media as a means of conveying a specific kind of information – an advertising message – about a product or service to consumers.

The media play a very important role in our lives. Media help fulfill two basic needs–they inform and they entertain. We turn to the media when we want to hear the latest world news or what happened in financial markets, for instance. We also look to the media to fill our evenings and weekends with escapist fare to get us out of our everyday, humdrum routine. So television entertains us with movies, dramas, comedies, game shows, and sports. Radio offers us a wide variety of music, talk, and entertainment to listen to. We turn to magazines to find out more about our favorite hobbies and interests. Newspapers help us keep up with the world around us. And the Internet provides limitless information on any subject you are interested in.

The media's informational role is perhaps best illustrated by considering what happens during a national or international crisis, such as the Balkan War in the late 1990s or the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. On each occasion, millions of people were glued to their television sets, clicking to favorite web sites, tuned in to their radios, and reading newspapers and magazines for daily in-depth coverage and subsequent follow-up stories.

The media also affect our lives through their entertainment function. Television situation comedies such as All in the Family and Mary Tyler Moore not only reflected what was happening in U.S. society in the 1970s, but also helped to influence attitudes and behaviors concerning the issues of race and equality. Stories appearing in magazines such as People or InStyle let us know what is happening in other people's lives, both famous and ordinary. And we take our radios with us to the beach or park so that we can listen to live sports coverage while we relax.


What Media Are Out There?

The world of media can be very broadly divided into two types–print and electronic. Print media include magazines and newspapers, whereas electronic media cover radio, television and the Internet. Other media types are not quite as easily categorized. Thus outdoor billboards are generally defined as a print medium, whereas out-of-home options such as transit ads, or stadium sign-age, are variously classified as nontraditional, alternative, or ambient media. Exhibit 1.1 provides a list of each type.

The Role of Media in Business

It is important to emphasize here that the focus of this book is commercial media. That is, the communications media we talk about are not there simply to beautify the landscape or fill up the pages of a newspaper. They are designed to sell products to customers. Of course, there are also media that convey information but are not commercial in intent. Consumer Reports is a magazine that does not carry any advertising. Neither does public television (except for sponsorships, which we talk about later). The white pages of the telephone directory, web search engines, and airline safety instructions are all informative yet are not advertisements in and of themselves. And books certainly communicate information to their readers. Here, however, we concentrate on those media that currently accept advertising messages. It is worth emphasizing the word currently. Twenty-five years ago, you did not find commercial messages at supermarkets, schools, doctors' offices, or ski slopes. Today, advertisers can reach people in all of those places. Even novels are not immune. A popular British author wrote Bulgari Jewelers into her fictional story, in 2000, for which the company paid her. And Hasbro paid young, hip pre-teens to use its Pox video game and talk about it with their friends to encourage additional sales. Although these ventures were criticized by the public, that does not mean other similar attempts will not be tried again in the future. For what is true for today may very well change by tomorrow.

The generic term media (or medium in the singular) means different things to different people. To Joe Smith sitting at home on a Friday evening, the "media" mean whatever TV shows he watches or magazines he leafs through…"


The full text of the book can be found at bookstores, e-bookstores and libraries.


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See also:

Media Flight Plan

Advertising Reach and Frequency

Principles and Practices of Classified Advertising

Books on Advertising

Books on PR

Books on Mass Media