Study Shows Mags Reap More Ad Value Per Minute

The magazine industry, which has historically opposed time-spent-with-media metrics as fair basis for comparing the involvement consumers have with various media, is warming to the idea, albeit, with a caveat. Instead of looking at all minutes of media usage as equal, the Magazine Publishers of America today is releasing an analysis that assigns a relative value to each minute consumed, and not surprisingly, consumer magazine stack up very well vs. other major consumer media on that basis, including TV, radio, the Internet, and even the other major consumer print medium, newspapers.


"One of the things that is important in understanding how advertising works, is to separate the consumer relationship with the medium from the consumer relationship with advertising in the medium. And very often people look at time spent as a leading indicator of advertising engagement, or advertising wantedness," Ellen Oppenheim, CMO of the Magazine Publishers of America told MediaDailyNews, explaining why the MPA's new "Ad Value Per Minute" analysis is a relevant measure for advertisers and agencies to use when planning and buying media.



Raw time spent analyses, she said, are about consumer usage of "the medium, not the advertising" within them. To get at the relative value of time spent with advertising in the major media, the MPA factored a well-regarded analysis conducted by a respected third party, ad impact scores created by consulting firm Deloitte ("State of the Media Democracy" Study, 2008), and incorporated it into a new "Time/Ad Impact Ratio" for the major consumer media.

On that basis, magazines index with more than twice the impact of TV, online or radio, and are actually considerably higher than printed newspapers too (see table below).

Oppenheim said other impact scores could be substituted with the Deloitte data, and it would show similar patterns of stronger relative advertising impact of magazines.

She acknowledged that the studies are all surveys based on consumer perceptions about media, and not necessarily behavior, and therefore are not a "gold standard.

"No one is suggesting this is a currency," she said, adding that the analysis nonetheless is a good way of factoring raw time-spent analyses of media. One that is receiving considerable attention in recent weeks, is a highly regarded study conducted by Ball State University for the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence. That study, which directly observed how consumers use media, initially reported findings only on the major "screen-based" media, such as TV, online, mobile, and gaming platforms. But the findings are sparking a new round of interest in advertising circles about the relative value of time spent with all media, especially as the industry struggles through an economic recession and prepares for another upfront television sales season.


Factors Behind the Calculation
  Time Spent % Share Media  
  with Media* of Total Influence** Time-Ad Impact
Media (Minutes) Time Spent % Ratio
Magazines 70 8.9 49 5.51
Newspaper 68 8.6 42 4.88
Internet 154 19.5 48 2.46
Television 302 38.2 88 2.30
Radio 196 24.8 27 1.09
* Time Spent with Media on Average Day by User of that Medium, MRI MediaDay, 2008  
** % of U.S. Consumers Who Said Advertising in this Medium Has the Most Influence on Their Buying Decisions,
   Deloitte "State of the Media Democracy" Study, 2008    
Time-Ad Impact Index = Media Influence / Share of Total Time Spent    
2 comments about "Study Shows Mags Reap More Ad Value Per Minute".
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  1. Jack Denneboom from Denneboom Inc., March 30, 2009 at 12:24 p.m.

    I wonder why I look at this data with a 'who cares'? This is an industry full of biased research where every media supplier is number one, etc., etc., etc.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, March 30, 2009 at 4:43 p.m.

    First, every deck from every media company has them as #1. I can have 20 meetings a day and I get 20 "Number 1s" in the door. Mind you, if they didn't come in saying that they wouldn't be doing their job. It's up to the savvy media planner or buyer to interpret what they are being told and to add a layer of scale and relativity.

    Which brings me to ... what is the "Time-Ad Impact Ratio" anyway? The way I read it, magazines have a higher than the norm perceived ad impact - sounds pretty right to me. But they are then leveraging the fact that the have a disproportinately LOW usage rate to create HIGH "Time-Ad Impact Ratio" as though that is a good thing.

    Translated back into plain English ... ads in mags have good impact, it's just that mags are down the pecking order of usage.

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