Sound & fury over A.J.'s Media Queen rant (Cont.)
Dec. 5, 2003
Re: "Yo, planner, learn some manners"?
Can you please send this to all our clients?
I would love to forward this to them myself but would prefer
to avoid a confrontation with potential 2004 spenders. (Please do not use
Dec. 4, 2003
I don't usually do this; however,
something in A.J. Livsey article just seemed very short to me.
I am a media planner/buyer in San Antonio and have been one
for the past 23 years. I am experienced in both the good and the bad in
this business. However, everybody deserves common courtesy.
In my current position, which I have held for the past 14
years, I have learned a lot from my "partners" in the media
Granted there have been times that I could not meet with a
"just dropped in to see you" sales person because of workload;
but I can't remember one time when I did not learn something from a
planned meeting with a sales person.
The business has changed over the years, since your staff
writer was only in the business a short time, maybe she did not adjust
well to being a media planner. It does take a special person to handle
I operate our department on the philosophy that my mother
taught me "You get more flies with honey" and the golden rule -
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
It sure makes the day brighter and you just might learn
The PM Group
Nov. 24, 2003
Amen to this...You get what you give.
Nov. 24, 2003
Dear Editor: First off, GREAT
ARTICLES. I have been a long time fan and reader of the Media Life
website, but this will be my first time commenting. I think the elements
that have been discussed in this series of articles has both been funny
and interesting and would like to add my comments.
I am a former Media Planner/Supervisor, that went to the
Client side and who also grew up on the business (father was in
advertising). I would love to share some comments for both the Sales
Community and the Media Planning community.
TO THE PLANNERS:
Understand your role in the greater scheme of
Just because you are working on Clinet X with a
Male 18-49 target does not mean that within a weeks time, you will not be
working on a piece of business that exclusively targets females because
another planner decided to move on to new opportunities. Media Planning is
one of the most fluid facets of the Advertising business, with high levels
of staff turnover, internal account rotations, and Client assignments.
Your job is to understand the publications that are appropriate for your
Client, but it is naive if you think that you should not learn about other
publications. When the head of your department schedules a meeting with a
Publisher to have their staff come in and present something, don't blow
off the meeting because "you wouldn't put this publication on the
plan anyway." If your director thought it was important enough to
have these people come in, then go to the meeting and hear what they have
to say. You may be talking to the sales rep next month for a new business
pitch or on your next account.
Maintain good ethical standards:
Just because reps are willing to give you things, does not mean
that you should be taking it. I was a Planner during the dot com boom,
working on a Client with a $20 Million print budget and a target wide
enough to run in publications ranging from Individual Investor to People.
During the planning process, every rep was offering up gifts, lunches,
dinners, tickets, and anything else they could think of to help
differentiate themselves. That's pretty exciting for a 25 year old Media
Supervisor, but we did the right thing. We told all the Sales reps that we
would not accept anything, nor schedule any lunches until we recommended
and approved a plan. BE FAIR WITH THE SALES COMMUNITY. DO NOT ACCEPT
ANYTHING UNLESS YOU ARE DOING BUSINESS WITH THEM. They have a lot of
Clients that their efforts will better be focused on, so if you know that
they are not going to make the cut, then don't take them up on their
offers. Sure, it's a thin ethical line, but try to do the right thing -
Sales reps will appreciate it and it will benefit you down the line.
Dedicate Time to Communicate with the Sales Community.
Sure, the business moves a mile a minute, but your team needs to
work on a time management structure that provides time to meet with reps
during slower periods of the year, so that you are not inundated when
planning comes around. Obviously this is easier said than done, but work
with your team to come up with a system that works because you will need
to demonstrate the ability to manage people, relationships, and time to
propel yourself to the next level. Never cancel on a rep when they are
waiting out in the lobby. Sure, things come up during the day, but you
need to make sure that you can take your meetings (schedule them in the
early AM or during slow points in the day if things continually come up
during your days).
Think of the Sales Community as a Partner:
The objective is to get the Client the best deal package
possible. This does not happen overnight by writing an RFP and demading
the best possible rates and positioning. Chances are the covers and TOC
are taken by long-term advertisers anyway, so see what they can bring you
that is synergistic with your Client's plan objectives. Most of the time,
the rush to get a response from an RFP is dictated by the need to secure
planning rates, so just ask the rep for exactly what you need in the
short-term and let them continue to develop ideas - your Client will
appreciate well thought out ideas and you will build relationships with
the Sales reps. Don't doubt for a second that they will be a tremendous
help for you when you decide that you need to move on to another
opportunity (and you all know that is coming sooner than later).
Stop Hiding Behind Syndicated Research:
MRI data is only going to tell you half the story. Understand
the publication and how it may fit into you overall plan. If it doesn't
make sense from a strategic/editorial perspective, then tell them that.
When you get yourself into "the numbers," the rep has no other
choice but to show you how the numbers work in their advantage. You know
that the numbers can be manipulated to prove the story that you want it
to, so don't use them as a shield when providing feedback to the rep. If
the numbers of the publication were not right, they would have never been
invited to pitch the business in the first place. (You can use MRI data to
send away the cold callers). If a pub submitted an RFP, then you should
provide feedback so your rep can explain things to his bosses (you are not
the only one that has someone to answer to).
TO THE SALES REPS
My advice is simple: Appreciate the Cyclical
Nature of the Business
Your time is better served meeting with the whole team and
not a one-on-one with an Assistant Media Planner that just graduated from
college. Sure, there are meeting quotas that you all have to meet, but
there is a difference between quantity of meetings and quality of
Work with your director/publisher (whoever you have to
show your schedule to) to come up with a weighted quota system, where a
meeting with a whole planning team is worth more than a one-on-one meeting
with someone that is likely not to know the answers you are trying to get
or be off the business within 6 months. Your job is to service the Client
and this is better served by developing a relationship with the overall
team rather than an individual (more continuity on an aggreate level).
Add Value for the Agency
Make sure that you know their Client's business. Provide the
Agency with interesting articles about their Client that will help them
stay on top of their business. Not only will this help them, but it will
also demonstrate that you are looking out for their interests and keeping
current with what is going on in the world that you are calling on. Don't
ask for a meeting unless you have something new and relevant to present.
Use research as support.
If you want planners to understand your publication, then
keep the numbers in the appendix of the presentation. First of all, Media
people are sensitive about their time, so get straight to the point. Also,
you know your audience is likely to be overworked and tired. If you get
into numbers, you are going to lose them because it is something that they
should already know and let's be honest, it is not exactly exciting and
attention grabbing. Include it in the leave behind and as a reference for
the meeting. A good planner (or one that needs to know) will ask you the
questions that your research proves/disproves.
Understand your Audience.
Determine how the planner prefers to communicate and work
within that preference. If they are a phone person, call them, if they
prefer e-mail, send them a note, but pick one and don't follow-up your
calls with e-mails or vice versa -- it runs the risk of annoying them and
will not help your chances of getting a response.
Guide the Ethics of Favor Provision
This gets back to the grey line discussed earlier. Sure, you
are going to do whatever you can to differentiate your publication, but
the truth is that the Sales community is more culpable for the state of
the business today. If Sales people offer things up tickets, lunches, etc.
to prospective business, then you are opening yourself up to requests for
more things down the line and is that going to help you chances to get on
the plan -- probably not.
Remember, the majority of planners in the business can barely pay
their rent (especially in NYC), so who can fault them for accepting
things. Start weaning off from giving things to Clients that you are not
doing business with, unless it builds the equity of your publication and
helps your chances (parties, events, etc). An outing to a Yankee game does
nothing to help your chances if you are a rep at Better Homes and Gardens.
Save this stuff to build relationships with a team that you have existing
business with to help better understand the needs of the Client.
Otherwise, you are going to become a ticket broker.
Nov. 24, 2003
Dear Editor: All is forgiven.
I applaud A.J. for revisiting this topic from a sales
She's proven in both articles that she's an incredibly
She's proven in the article titled 'yo planner, learn some manners'
that she's wise beyond her years.
Nov. 20, 2003
Can't we all just
Like everything in this world nothing is black and white. A.J.
has some tremendous points but nothing is ever that one sided. ("Please,
rep, don't waste my time")
I have worked with a number of
sales "Partners" over the years. If you call them
"Rep-tiles" that is exactly what you will get.
I would like to acknowledge the best part about being partners with
sales reps. No, it's not lunches and SWAG. It's learning more about how to do
our jobs better. Our job is to make sure the client’s goals are reached.
Is there a new development, opportunity or product we don’t know
Let the sales professionals tell us, but please also tie it
back to our client’s needs. It’s building the better mousetrap. Can we
make a printed page or a billboard reach someone 10 different ways.
Integrating executions so each medium is doing its job. We have to tell
the sales people what that job is. It's about being able to ask if they can
do something they have never done before and working through the problems
versus throwing our arms up and calling it a day.
Set the bar wherever you want. Sales partner to Rep-tile.
Communicate your goals and objective. Lay down clear ground rules of how
you need the planning process to happen. That’s what it takes. Let's try
and get there.
Your site has always been about education and information.
Media strategy consultant
Nov. 20, 2003
It is no wonder people on both sides of the desk were
offended by the ("Please,
rep, don't waste my time")
What if you published an article by a 26-year-old salesperson
telling buyers and planners how to do their jobs?
Following A.J.'s instruction, a sales rep would find themselves out
of a job in six months. The buyer-seller relationship should be symbiotic
rather than adversarial.
General Motors R*Works
Nov. 20, 2003
Thanks, A.J., for having the guts to speak your mind and get the
industry talking. The industry needs to talk.
It's a bit naive for sales people to think we don't
communicate with our clients. On a separate note, I thought rookies were
only considered such in their first year? You think sales people think
they are rookies after five years? Probably not.
Great writing. It got our department talking!
Amy E. Baker
Nov. 20, 2003
Although there are some valid points regarding A.J.'s article, I
would have had more respect for her thoughts had she been on the other
side of the desk at some point.
I have been on both sides, first as a client and then as a rep, and I
have to say it's a bit easier to criticize the sales people when you have
what they are looking to obtain.
I used to die when I would answer the phone and it would be a rep,
as I knew that I would either lose about 15 minutes of my day right there,
or would be forced to be rude to get off the phone.
As a client you are not paid by the amount of rep calls you accept,
and being nice to reps does not appear on the review sheet at the end of
the year when raises are being considered.
However, now that I have been on the sales side for about
seven years, I can honestly say that I had no idea what went into the job
of a print sales rep. You are forced to call, cajole and beg at times for
meetings, business, and sometimes even to be treated with the respect that
any human being deserves.
About 80 percent of the clients are wonderful and easy to
work with, but the 20 percent that are not can and do drive many people
out of the business.
My point is, just give these guys a break. Some of them are new to
the business, lack self confidence, or are merely intimidated by the fact that
you have no interest in talking or meeting with them.
They are trying to get their job done just like you are. Yes, they
should be more prepared, but if you are booking the call with them, you
should also be willing to give them the respect that they deserve as a
human being and fellow advertising community member and listen to what
they have to say. You just might hear something that will help you do a
better job for your client.
Corporate Sales Director
Nov. 20, 2003
started reading A.J. Livsey’s article, ("Please,
rep, don't waste my time")
with the same approach that I take to most articles that are written from
the buyer’s point of view-- curiosity--and hope that in it I might
glean something interesting about why our industry has become so
Why indeed. Do most media planners really think this way? Do they
rant and make sweeping generalizations about sales reps?
I have one question. Who in the heck was calling on you? “One in
10 magazine sales reps really know his or her business.” Are you
kidding? Anyone who ever called on A.J. Livsey should do the rest of the
industry a favor and quit now!
I, too, believe that advertising is a business of
communication. But for every rep without a clue, there are 10 fresh-from-graduation media planners who are over-worked, under-paid and
drowning in a sea of senior-level decision making that is beyond their
three weeks of training.
Pleasant to work with? Sales reps eat crow every day,
listening to the most inane and free-form reasoning on a daily basis. If
the media properties aren’t communicating properly with the media
planners, it may have something to do with the attitude of the writer: ‘There’s
nothing you can tell me that I don’t already know.’
Here are some don’ts for you:
1. With regard to time-wasters: Don’t send a request for proposal
- with a two-day turnaround that asks for a laundry list of “Big Ideas”
(which you have no intention of buying with your client’s reduced
And please don’t ask us to “create something that best
personifies your magazine.” Why oh why does a rep need a glue gun and a
Masters degree in fine arts? It’s a waste of time and money and does
nothing to demonstrate the power of the brand that we’re selling.
2. Don’t categorize magazines to make your media planning simpler. If
you’re targeting women (or men), look at ALL magazines that most
effectively and powerfully reach that audience.
Don’t approach your plan with a “one deep in each category”
mantra. “Oh, we’re not looking at
travel-beauty-epicurean-shelter-fashion-health-lifestyle” (we’ve all
heard it). Even if the readers in those forbidden categories actually are
the target audience? Interesting.
3. Respect, you say? Respect our relationship with your client. We know
your client. We were calling on your client before you got your job and
they will still be our client long after you’ve rotated to another
account or left media planning to write for Media Life.
If you actually want us to believe that all good ideas will be
championed by our media contacts, you’re crazy. We go to the client
because, more often than not, great ideas are “shot down” (A.J.’s
words) by the agency because you’re too busy to change your flow chart.
Furthermore, it’s mutual respect, baby. Don’t treat us
like petulant children. If you invited us to pitch a piece of business and
we didn’t make the plan, we want to know why. Most sales people want to
know that they’ve done everything possible to win an account. When you
don’t win a piece of business that absolutely should be in your pages,
you can’t sleep until you find out why.
And tell us the truth. Smoke screen answers are so obvious.
4. Don’t make reference to a long-forgotten time that you weren’t even
a part of. The reference to ex-football player publishers who practiced
wacky macho jock stuff at three-martini lunches filled with empty bragging
was ridiculous. “It’s a different marketplace now. There are lots of
women in it, and more and more at the top”….yeah, since 1983 when the
esteemed writer was 6.
Did you actually ever meet an ex-football player publisher? Or have
a three-martini lunch? Neither have I or anyone else I know and I’ve
been in magazine advertising sales for 16 years.
5. Don’t paint an entire industry with the same brush. All sales people
are not imbeciles and all media planners do not universally hate us. Some
of us actually understand our job--to help your client move product so
that we all look good.
Look, we all thought we knew everything when we started our
first jobs at 21. Clearly, A.J. Livsey’s notes on the dos and don’ts
of advertising sales were written during the ripe years of 21- 26.
Reread your diatribe in about 10 years and I’m sure you’ll have
a red face about it.
P.S. And by the way some magazines actually are No. 1. By any measurement.
Miller Dixon Media
Nov. 18, 2003
I thought that A.J.'s article ("Please,
rep, don't waste my time") was well written and very
accurate. She brought up many good points about the information and
qualities that media planners/buyers look for in reps.
I don't think that her age is a valid reason for some
of the readers to be upset. With her almost five years of media planning
experience, it appears that she is very knowledgeable on media planning
and that she made her clients' goals a priority. I think that the readers
should be more focused on her knowledge and experience than
Perhaps Media Life Magazine should ask someone on their staff (or
someone in sales who is a knowledgeable sales rep) to write a similar
column about buyers and planners.
Broadcast & Online Media Consultant
Nov. 18, 2003
Let me just start by saying
that the feedback regarding this article was forwarded to me by my beloved
media director. His point: to remind us that media sellers are part of the
cycle. And I can't agree with him more.
"Let me be blunt here." I'm an assistant media planner that's
only been in this business for 2 years. In the two years that I have
worked on various media on various accounts. This doesn't make me an
expert in any way, and this doesn't make my opinion more or less
valid than any one else in advertising.
Here is what I think really needs to be said, at least
as my own representative, to media sellers: Thank you for every outlandish
effort you've put forth, not just for the client, but for also for me. And
maybe you're not doing it for me, but you're doing it. You're making the
impossible work so I don't have to say no to the client. So, thank you.
Don't get me wrong. I have met some people that aren't very skilled
as media sellers, but I can say the exact same statement in regards to
media planners and buyers. We're all human, and we weren't all born to
And a quick comment to A.J. : I've had frustration with media sellers, but
don't think for a second that media sellers don't have day to day
frustration with media planners or buyers. I know I've bugged the hell out
of them and had some freakishly inconceivable requests on behalf of my
But thank you, A.J., for your opinion. We all have
Assistant Media Planner
Nov. 18, 2003
Sometimes the truth hurts!
As a salesperson I can say, no one in our community should
be shocked or surprised by anything A.J. wrote. A little more thought and
preparation would do everybody a little good -- on both sides of the desk.
In the interest of fairness and equal time, A.J. should do a
piece on some of the more irritating media planning idiosyncrasies. That
too would be a "lively" conversation.
A.J. is indeed a little smart-assy, but I thought it was a
Nov. 18, 2003
I loved her article and forwarded it to all of my media
Teresa Knight McMenamin
Warner Advertising Group
Nov. 18, 2003
Well, the good
news is that we, media planners, are reading your email blast daily.
Unfortunately, I think that A.J.'s story was taken out of context.
Agreed that she may have been too "hard" in generalizing all magazine
sales representatives because on the whole most are very good, but some
of what she said is very true.
Good sales reps can be instrumental in the success of a media
plan and make sure that your ad program gets good placement, great value
added and the best rates possible for your client.
The multitude of phone
calls and plans media planners receive is part of the game, but there some
sales representatives that can put a downer on your day.
Some are not very knowledgeable, some do go behind your back
to the client and some don't know when to stop pitching, but that I doubt
will ever change.
Media buyers and planners are there to siphon through the
clutter for the client.
That's our job, and it can be hard at times, but
when you meet that gem of a sales representative that makes you look like
a goddess/god to the client it's worth a 1,000 bad sales reps.
Nov. 18, 2003
There are good sales reps and bad sales reps just like there are good
planners and bad planners. I’m sure both sides could write many lengthy
articles on all the bad practices out there. Maybe we should focus on “the
best practices” for both sides and actually do something to improve the
Director of Integrated Marketing
Nov. 18, 2003
I met A.J. about a year or so
ago and I remember enjoying her scorching sense of humor.
Clearly, she still has it. While I think her article
"Please, rep, don't waste my time" was well written, she may have gotten a
little too clever.
Having been on both sides of the desk (sales assistant
briefly and media planning for 15 years), I know that there are good and
bad apples on both sides. I was not a good sales assistant because I
didn't understand what I needed to know (and I didn't like taking no for
an answer); but that is the nature of being new to most businesses. Many
people stay in the business without ever realizing what it is that makes a
good sales or media person, and sadly, many don't care.
Knowing a client's business and name is not too much to ask,
especially if there is some incentive (aka income/commission/ sense of
accomplishment, etc.) involved. There are a few gems out there, but I
agree with A.J. that they are not in the majority.
Overall A.J.'s views are a little too tongue in cheek (or is it
hostile?) for most people (especially those not gifted with a sense of
humor), but she's not entirely wrong.
As for rule #5, not everyone merits respect, and despite what
people believe, quite often they don't have the authority they like to
Many people getting into the business today have an extremely
inflated sense of entitlement, despite being hired as low man on the totem
pole. Respect is earned and authority is not automatic. All slates are
clear when I first meet with someone (a rep), but if he/she isn't prepared
for the meeting, unless there are extreme circumstances, then it's strike
one. After two strikes, I generally will take it up with management so
that when/if they don't get the business they will know why.
Lastly, I believe that A.J.'s rules should include being
considerate. Consideration includes honesty, hard work and respecting
other's time and effort (including returning all phone calls, which
I insist my people do). Basically, when all is said and done, doesn't it
all come down to the "Golden Rule"?
Nov. 18, 2003
I try to read Media Life every
morning, but I missed Monday, which means I didn't get to read A.J.
Livsey's apparently inflammatory commentary on magazine sales reps.
But I did read Gene Ely's this morning ("Rebutting
A.J.: Rant of a Media Queen")
and was curious.
Based on the quotes in Gene's piece from some angry sales people, I
figured A.J. must be another untenured, snot-nosed, wet-behind-the-ears
kid who didn't have a clue about the media business.
I should mention I'm a 36-year seasoned media veteran who has
worked at major NYC agencies and buying services and that I have a
curmudgeon box I use to deliver rants on many topics. So, I was ready to
tear A.J. a new one. And I read her commentary.
on the money.
Everything stated was correct. My feeling is those who
have found fault with A.J. are guilty of the offenses stated in her
The article was very well written, with just the right mix of
sarcasm and irony.
More to the point, I didn't detect a hint of disrespect
in the tone or intent. Actually, the thoughtful observations and comments
read like it was written by someone with more years than A.J.
So, as they say, "Power to yer arm!" and "Good on ya."
Keep up the good work.
Associate Media Director
FCB Southern California
Nov. 18, 2003
I didn't get a
chance to read A.J.'s article yesterday so I read your rebuttal first
A.J.: Rant of a Media Queen").
I expected to find a vicious attack with unfounded accusations
against media reps when I finally did read A.J.'s article.
What I found was a truthful account of what really happens
more often than not in the world of print rep sales calls.
It's also a sad truth that the most of the vociferous
protests probably came from the very offenders themselves.
By the way, I am not 26 and have been buying every media type
for major accounts for 30 years. It took A.J. only four years to learn the
No wonder she left media planning.
EVP, Corporate Media Director
Nov. 18, 2003
I enjoyed A.J.'s story,
but have to say I was leery of her opinions since she did state her age at
She may be young and only slightly less jaded than the rest
of us but even those seasoned sellers have to admit she hit the nail on
the head more than once.
Since everyone is so up-in-arms about it, why not invite a
sales rep to submit a "guest" article as a rebuttal?
That would be funny. It would be even funnier if you could
find a sales rep with only five years experience who is the same age. Bet
you can't find one, since most of the media giants out there burn through
these poor kids like kindling.
Nov. 18, 2003
Please know, and pass this
along to A.J., that I LOVED LOVED LOVED the piece.
It was so dead on for both print and TV and radio that I was
jealous. I wish I had written that article. It was accurate!!
Nov. 18, 2003
You could have substituted “Radio Rep” for “Magazine Rep”
and would have described our daily interactions perfectly! John
Our company specializes in creating and placing
recruitment advertising for clients on radio, TV and cable.
I can’t tell you the number of “Special Recruitment Packages”
we get every week that have everything to do with stations unloading trash
inventory and nothing to do with targeted schedules that benefit our
Keep up the good writing!
Nov. 17, 2003
wanted to say thanks for the article.
A.J. Livsey makes some great points. I wish this
article could be sent to reps in all mediums.
There is nothing that bothers advertising media professionals
more than reps who don't know who they're pitching to or who/what the
client is all about.
I especially appreciate A.J. Livsey's comment about
"never, ever, ever, say your publication is number one."
Especially, when the readership is less than 100,000. Thank you A.J.
Livsey for saying the things most advertising media professionals have
been wanting to say for years but were afraid to at the risk of losing
Nov. 17, 2003
In response to the article so
eloquently titled "Please rep, don't waste my time", I'm so
offended I can hardly see straight.
How is it that a 26-year-old rookie can criticize, undermine,
and scold sales reps and be commended for it? Everyone of us has a job.
We're all expected to follow the rules and guidelines of which
upper management sets forth.
Give me a day and I'll have a list just as long and twice as
articulate stating the idiosyncrasies of agency personnel.
I'm so tired of defending my profession. I'd love to let A.J. know
that respect is a luxury given only to those well deserving.
It's not automatic to any schlep that uses his or her brains
to PLACE media space. None of us are rocket scientists and I hate agency
brats that think otherwise.
Planning, selling or buying...we all just put commercials on
the air (or ads in magazines in this instance). It's really time sales
people were viewed as part of the process that helps make that happen, not
the annoying jerks that gets in the way.
Nov. 17, 2003
Just read A.J. Livsey's
November 17 column, "Please rep, don't waste my time."
I've been on the media planning and buying side of the
desk for over 15 years, I've dealt with more than my fair share of reps,
and even I was insulted by [her] very clichéd and patronizing viewpoint.
We're in a business that requires us to build relationships
with our media partners, not turn them into adversaries.
I really like your site, but if you're going to allow some
kid to use it as a place to vent about reps that apparently didn't respect
[her] (i.e. kiss [her] a**) enough, I'll get my media news and viewpoints
elsewhere. [She] just knocked the overall quality of your editorial down
several notches. Those that can, do, A.J., those that can't criticize
Vice President, Media Manager
DONER NATIONAL BROADCAST
Nov. 17, 2003
20+ years with DDB, leaving as SVP/Group Media Director when Omnicom
opened it's OMD buying service, I think I have a pretty good perspective
on what is generally right and wrong with the advertising media industry.
Of course, we're all entitled to our opinion,
especially when it comes to rights and wrongs. And in my opinion, an
example of one of the wrongs is blather the likes of which A.J. Livsey
posted in today's issue of Media Life.
Many of the points in the article are accurate. But the
presentation proved indicative of a huge problem I see today: kids... and
that's what people with five or less years in the business are... who feel
True, media planners are swamped these days, as the Starcoms,
MindShares and other behemoths squeeze budgets by heaping more work on
And true, many reps don't use time appropriately. My
complaint with A.J.'s rant is the smugness in which it is offered. The
writer personifies a problem I saw as all to common: the young and
inexperienced media person as haughty, self-important, snotty know-it-all.
Under the heading "Respect My Authority," the
writer suggests assistant planners and media directors should not be
treated any differently.
Oh, really? After I nearly did a spit-take all over my
keyboard as I tried to control my laughter, I wondered, "Who
supervised this person? Who taught him or her to be so self-important?
While every media person should be treated with
proper respect, if an assistant feels he or she should be considered on
the same plane as the media director, they are sadly mistaken. Of course,
that's not to say they should be treated poorly.
But neither should they be treated the same as that
veteran (and that's more than just getting to age 30, A.J.) given the
responsibility for the agency's media product. I hate to break it to A.J.,
but respecting the authority of a media assistant is pretty easy, as media
assistants have no authority. They are trainees... gatekeepers. Acting
otherwise... and treating experienced sales people poorly... is a
disservice to one's client, and will earn one a poor reputation over time.
Unfortunately it happens all too often.
This article could have been a very helpful piece for
reps and planners alike. Mr. or Ms. Livsey squandered that opportunity,
even while making several valid points.
The value was lost in the negative and overly authoritative
tone. While not knowing A.J., but based on the attitude that colors
today's article, the industry is better off having this person out of the
agency side of the business. This is the kind of person who gives media a
It seems as though this supports the old saw, "Those who
can't do, teach."
That said, I really appreciate Media Life. It's a great
publication and I am happy to receive it. Keep up the mostly excellent
You got it wrong on Maury' and 'Jerry'
October 14, 2003
I read with interest
your story by Kevin Downey on Tuesday, Sept. 30, headlined "In
syndication, strong get stronger."
What Kevin may not have realized is that "Maury"
and "Jerry" were in reruns, not originals. Our new season did
not begin until Sept. 14--so naturally their ratings would be lower than
other shows in originals.
Also, for Kevin to single out "Maury" and
"Jerry" as two of the weaker shows in syndication is odd since
in reality they are among the strongest and longest-running.
"Maury" finished the 2002-03 season as one of the
top-rated talk shows in syndication (frequently surpassing "Live with
Regis and Kelly").
It regularly gets numbers that are more than twice the
size of the highest-rated new shows--they could only dream of having
numbers that large--and a majority of the returning programs.
In fact, it may interest Kevin to know that "Maury"
has routinely beaten "Oprah" in the coveted women 18-34
"Jerry," meanwhile, has consistently ranked among
the top five talk shows for six straight seasons--an amazing feat for any
series. Only "Oprah" can claim the same. It was also the first
and only talk show to have beaten "Oprah" for an entire season
and, in the current third quarter, it has posted year-to-year growth
despite being mostly in summer reruns.
Media Life ran a story based on outdated numbers--on the very
day the new national rankings report was released. The numbers change
dramatically each week, especially when first-run shows are debuting for
the new season with originals. Every other trade that week reported
ratings information for the week of Sept. 15. That is when
"Maury" and "Jerry" were up 12 percent and 5 percent,
respectively, week-to-week for their season premieres.
"Jerry" and "Maury" were relatively flat
year-to-year during their debut week, holding up quite well against
massive hurricane preemptions in East Coast markets.
Senior vice president
Universal Television Distribution
The editor responds: The premise of the story holds.
Ratings for the most popular syndicated shows tend to be going up while
ratings for less popular programs tend to be falling. That isn’t a trend
limited to a single week but is an ongoing one that has been pronounced
early this season. That pattern was apparent for the week of Sept. 15,
which included the “Maury” and “Jerry Springer” premieres.
Focusing on talk shows and based on a comparison of household ratings to
the same week last year, as opposed to a week earlier when some shows were
still in reruns, the three top-rated programs posted significant
year-to-year increases while four of the five lower rated shows were down
or flat to last year. “Oprah” was up 18.3 percent, to a 7.1 rating,
“Dr. Phil” was up 18.2 percent, to a 5.2, and “Live with Regis and
Kelly” was up 2.9 percent, to a 3.5. At the same time, “Maury” was
down 3.4 percent, to a 2.8, “Jerry” was flat at a 2.2, “Ricki
Lake” was down 14.3 percent, to a 1.2, and “John Walsh” was flat at
Flaw in George's thinking
July 18, 2003
for the day when I choose my entertainment"
by George Simpson.
makes George think that he won't have to pay $125 a month (probably, by
then it will $225 a month given cable rate hikes) PLUS the $4.95 per to
download a movie? Expect a price fixed cable menu with all of the goodies
to be al a carte.
Media Partnership Corporation
On SUVs and Jesus
July 15, 2003
"SUV owners: Don't tell us what Jesus would drive"
Who really cares?
SUV owners already have the right to drive whatever
they want and Liberal Christians have just as much right to spread their
The only purpose these ads serve is to put some extra money
into the USA Today coffers, give the "What Would Jesus Drive?"
campaign a little more mileage, and brand those who think driving the
modern equivalent of the station wagon is "really cool" as
Selling America in the Arab world
July 11, 2003
a word from our sponsor, the U.S. . ."
George is half right.
It's not an advertising issue, but it is a branding issue. Once
again, the world largely confuses the two. First you create the brand,
then you raise the brand's awareness with advertising and PR.
Simply raising awareness does nothing: everyone knows about cancer,
but how many people want it?
Frankel & Anderson
Morning papers are quite vital
July 7, 2003
Re: “Booming newspapers, just not here” of 24 June 2003.
The article gives a good comprehensive coverage of various newspaper markets across the world.
We at the Times group, publishers of The Times of India, the world’s largest English daily
broadsheet, are in a constant process of evaluating international media trends to realign our business suitably.
Over the last few years we have come across various media reports indicating that the newspaper business in mature markets is on a gradual decline, as also pointed out in
the Media Life article.
The trend in total U.S. newspaper circulation as reported by Newspaper Association of America
indeed supports the declining trend.
However if the data on total circulation is disaggregated for
morning’ and evening’ newspapers, an entirely different picture emerges.
Morning newspapers in the U.S. have increased in circulation from 24 million in 1960 to nearly 47 million in 2000 and
evening newspapers in the corresponding period have reduced in circulation from 35 million to 9 million.
The number of morning newspapers in the same period has increased from 312 to 766 and number of evening newspapers has declined from 1459 to 727.
We observed very similar trends in the biggest newspaper market of the world, Japan, and in Canada. On the basis of circulation alone, the
morning market is more than five times the evening market. For the lack of data at our end, we hazard a guess that advertising market for
morning newspapers would be at least 10 times that of evening newspapers.
We thus feel that in any trend evaluation of the newspaper industry, the
morning and evening newspaper markets should be commented on independently, being two very different segments.
Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd.
New Delhi , India
The Bernie I remember
July 7, 2003
I was a 21-year-old journalism
student straight out of college when I had the extraordinary fortune of
landing as a sales assistant to Brad Jones in the Newport Beach,
California, office of Inc. Magazine.
I didn't know it then but our odds were long to survive more
than a year or two, the publishing business being the dog-eat-dog world it
is. But led by Bernie, and inspired by his personal and financial
commitments, we plowed ahead, not afraid to rub shoulder with Business
Week and Fortune and Forbes (the Big Boys), convinced our message would
strike a cord with readers. And it did.
I left after only three years but not before having had the
good fortune to meet Bernie personally and work on a day-to-day basis with
the staff in Boston, all professionals, and all like family.
I have thought many times of Bernie and the rest of the gang
over the years.
Hearing of his passing brings me sadness, even after
all these years. He was a genius and a risk-taker, and publishing, as well
as the world, is a lesser place without him.
Villing & Company
On the matter of Spike TV and
June 20, 2003
Interesting self-realization: I only
enjoy the catty tone and op-ed writing style of Media Life Magazine when I
agree with the slant of the article.
There is an obvious anti-Spike Lee skew to your coverage of
his injunction against TNN, and it bugs. The suit has, as your article
points out, far reaching legal implications for our industry as well as
others, and as such, warrants objective coverage.
A definite and immediate association is made by the
general public when the word "spike" is used in conjunction with
entertainment. I'm not convinced that Viacom renamed its network to purposely
profit from the use of the name, but I, for one, was sure that Spike
TV was a Spike Lee enterprise and was curious as to what he was going to
do on cable TV.
To find out that Spike TV had nothing to do with the man made
me immediately wonder if Spike was cool with the new name of the
I'm not surprised that he isn't. Programming content aside,
the consumer takeaway from the title “Spike TV” is that the network is
somehow his. With consideration of the content, I feel Spike has a right
to protect his image from an association with raunch, and is valid in his
June 20, 2003
For all I know there is an
attempt to cash in on Spike Lee's fame and fortune.
However, we should be reminded that before Lee there was
Jones and hundreds or even thousands of long drinks of water with the
And your writer is right. There is no special magic to this
name that used to be attached to tall, thin guys.
June 20, 2003
reading the piece "After
Spike spat, whither TNN?"
I found myself re-checking the heading and the home page to see whether I
was reading a news article or a commentary.
In the middle of reporting on Viacom's legal troubles over
its choice of name for TNN, I was puzzled to find statements about the
legal merits or "silly grounds" of Mr. Lee's suit. I went back
to make sure that I had not missed quotation marks around the comments,
expecting that such commentary must be attributable to a news source and
not to the reporter. Did I miss something?
an attorney, I find the characterization of Mr. Lee's by the article
short-sighed at least; after all, the courts have not had their final say.
At a minimum, the comments were inappropriate in an article purporting to
Further, as a woman I find it reasonable that a public person
would want to disassociate himself and his image with the tasteless, and
yes psuedo-pornographic, content planned by TNN for its relaunch as Spike.
Cheryl Ann Tolbert
Come on, Radar's not all that
June 20, 2003
best new general interest magazine to find its way to newsstands in
praise of Radar, a promise delivered")
Is our memory that short or are we so
totally starved for a magazine that’s not (a) lorded over by publicists,
(b) feeding on insecure women, or (c) feeding cleavage and fart jokes to
“lads”, that our standards are at a low?
Radar is ok, and thank god someone is trying something
different, but it’s not nearly as funny/irreverent as Spy was, nor as
funny/smart as Might was.
Don't blame the NBA finals on
June 17, 2003
agree with your basic premise that small TV markets equal small
However, I'd like to point something out to you. If you look
at a DMA map of LA, Anaheim is definitely part of the LA market. Although
Anaheim is 33 miles from downtown LA, that's not that far in LA
distance terms. People commute much further than that every day.
Also the Devils and Nets play in the Meadowlands, which is almost right
across the George Washington Bridge and Hudson River from Manhattan
(generally considered the heart of NYC).
Even if you argue that these suburban teams don't have the
appeal of their urban cousins, you still have to keep in mind that if the
state of New Jersey was a separate TV market, it would still probably be
in the top 10 in population rank.
Maybe some additional factors are also at work here because
the only one of the teams mentioned that fits the mold you're casting is
the San Antonio Spurs.
Senior Account Manager
Interactive Market Systems
for your defense of Martha
June 9, 2003
I want to
take a minute from a very busy day to congratulate you on your very smart
column on Martha Stewart ("A
modest, reasoned defense of Martha:
we are watching is an egregious abuse of power"). Martha's no
saint but she is, as you point out, entitled to what the law entitles
everyone else to: innocent until proven guilty.
You are absolutely correct and anyone who believes that what
is happening to Martha Stewart is totally justified should ask themselves
why haven't we seen the monsters from Enron and Tyco, etc., subjected to
at least the same kind of smear and destroy campaign?
She's also, God help me, a woman - and perhaps not in the
inner Bush-supermachotestosterone circle, so an easier and less protected
Executive Vice President
The Ryan Group
June 9, 2003
you for verbalizing what I've been trying to put into words for the past
few days. Now that you've written it, I don't have to wear myself out by
thinking so hard!
Collins, Haynes & Lully Advertising
Thank you for the
Martha Stewart defense. I made the same point at a dinner party this past
weekend and was accused of playing the gender card.
I've forwarded your piece in my own defense.
Director, Specialty Publishing and Strategic Planning
If Martha, why not
Cheney?This woman has made the
most important contribution to wake up American style and the general
citizen's quality of everyday life since Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis walked
into the White House.
June 6, 2003
to me is just another example of Bush's "stupid white men"
policy--try to scare everyone into compliance with his mode of thinking (?)
and supposed "family values."
If this were fair, why is Cheney still VP?
Wasn't he part of Halliburton et al?
Give Martha a thumbs up for me!
June 4, 2003
I definitely think this ruckus is due to her celebrity and frankly, I
am revolted by this late 20th Century predilection for hounding icons with
the "high-minded" pseudo-justice that permeates the media.
F. Williamson Price
The real reasons
Raines quit The Times
June 6, 2003
The following is
in response to your June 6 story on the Howell Raines resignation. In
light of all the talk of disaster and industry upheaval, I thought it
would be appropriate to add the following touch of humor to the subject.
Reasons Why Howell Raines Resigned:
Is moving to Atlanta to join Augusta National
9) Will be new spin mater for Martha Stewart
Will co-author “The Truth Behind the War With Saddam” with Baghdad Bob
Will be U.S. editor for London Times and make up daily stories from his
going to produce a new series of "On The Road" stories for CBS
Morning News to feature Jayson Blair, which will be taped at Silver Cup
Studios in Queens
5) Plans on
becoming head writer of News Update on "Saturday Night Live"
write a book titled ” Editing For Dummies”
discovered Times reporters had filed all Iraq War reports from the Side
Track Sports Bar on Queens Boulevard.
2) Is going
to team up with Jayson Blair for a remake of Bill Cosby-Robert Culp
classic series, “I Spy,” to be retitled “I Lie.”
1) Got fed up
working for a boss named “Pinch”
William L. Whitely
Executive Vice President
Communications Science and Technologies
May 30, 2003
This is in response
to Ed Robertson's article (When
perfect doesn't make 'Practice': Kelley,
endless tinkerer, ought to dump the show) and
a letter by Bob Jenkins, RLJ Communications, Chevy Chase, MD and Mr.
What all seem to be forgetting is the fact that for the entire
summer of 1972 preceding what turned out to be "Bonanza's" last
season, NBC conducted an elaborate promotion campaign touting the wedding
of Little Joe (Mike Landon).
When "Bonanza" returned leading off the fall
season, viewers found that the writers in their wisdom had constructed a
plot that had Little Joe become a groom and a widower in the wedding
"Bonanza" never recovered from this plot twist as the
ratings slid throughout the fall. As was reported at the time, many
viewers obviously felt betrayed by the producers.
Another historical point: When the end did come to
"Bonanza" at midseason, Lorne Greene learned the bitter news
from a trade press reporter. In a what's-he-done-for-us-lately move, NBC
management neglected to give their perennial leading network star any
advance notice of their decision to deep-six the Cartwright clan.
William L. Whitely
Executive Vice President
Communications Science and Technologies
The writer responds: Mr.
Whitely is right in pointing out that Bonanza "jumped the shark"
with the old "let's marry off Little Joe then kill off his bride in
the same episode" trick. But the fact remains that Bonanza's
numbers had been steadily declining in each of its previous two seasons
before NBC moved it to Tuesday nights. The slide was serious enough
for the show to consider the wedding/funeral stunt to open the 14th season
in the first place. Aging shows do that all the time. When the
ratings start to dip, they resort to weddings, birth, funerals, divorce
and other gimmicks in hopes of breathing new life to an otherwise ailing
May 28, 2003
perfect doesn't make 'Practice': Kelley,
endless tinkerer, ought to dump the show)
seems to be spot-on with his examples, but
with 'Bonanza' he should have used the actual situation rather than
conjecture that the loss of Lorne Greene or Michael Landon would have been
the end of the series.
It was, in fact, the death of Dan Blocker in 1972 that
spelled doom for the show. 'Bonanza' was cancelled by NBC halfway through
the following season because no one could replace the lovable Hoss
On the other hand, the series enjoyed a 14-year run.
Chevy Chase, MD
The writer responds: Mr. Jenkins has a point in that the
death of Blocker in 1972 did change the dynamics of the show, but that
wasn't what doomed "Bonanza." What doomed "Bonanza"
was the same thing that spells the demise of many a show: declining
ratings. In fall 1972, the show's fourteenth and last year, NBC pulled it
from its longtime Sunday slot in favor of "Columbo" and the
"NBC Mystery Movie," which had been drawing better numbers. They
put 'Bonanza' on Tuesday, where it got clobbered against "Hawaii
Five-O." Blocker's death may have been a factor, but the show was
clearly long in the tooth at the time and probably would have died anyway.
The point being, of course, Greene was the stalwart lead and Landon was
the teenage heartthrob. Without either of them, "Bonanza" would
not have been the same.
Listen up, ABC, for
some fix-up advice
May 22, 2003
season's end, ABC is a sinker:
by disappointments after hopeful start
Here's a novel way ABC
might help ratings: Avoid alienating viewers by regularly airing programs
during their scheduled time slot.
I will use "Alias" as a case in point,
although I must admit being an avid fan. It's no surprise the show cannot
regularly post strong numbers when viewers tune in mid-season to find a
rerun or are left further bewildered when the show is preempted. Viewers
then wait two or three weeks for a new episode to air.
Once this occurs enough, viewers will not make the same
effort to watch, and ratings will slide. This should be common sense, and
it's really a shame for an award-winning show.
As a viewer, I have asked myself several times, what the
heck's going on over there? It obviously boils down to revenues, but when
it comes to attracting an audience, consistency is a good thing.
Senior media planner
Off to the hoosegow
with Jayson Blair
May 21, 2003
I am appalled by the
gloating remarks coming from the NY Times reporter who fabricated many of
This guy is no better than any computer hacker or as you say
in your article, a pyromaniac. I don't know if what he did can be
prosecuted, but it would delight me to know that he will somehow have to
pay for his abhorrent behavior.
The guy is nuts but also a calculating deviant. We don't need
people like Jayson Blair in society. Lock him up!
Director, Advertising Sales
So maybe Times circ
is off from its price rise?
May 19, 2003
Could it be that the
reason behind the decline in circulation of The New York Times
was a result of its price increase from 75 cents to $1.00 that
occurred on December 30?
Funny but this increase didn't seem to get much
coverage and caused nary an outcry, but the 33 percent increase is
similar in magnitude to the increase in subway fare a few weeks ago that
has created such a furor.
VP Research Director
Job for Jayson Blair
with John Stossel?
May 14, 2003
Maybe Jayson Blair
can get a gig on "20/20" as John Stossel's research assistant .
. . (Stink-raising
Stossel joins Babs on "20/20")
Mercury Communication Partners
Setting the record straight on
Indy and Tony George
May 14, 2003
First off let me say that I'm
no fan of the IRL, CART, or even Tony George but subscriber John Speck's
rant ("Indy can blame Tony George", Letters, 5/13/03 Media Life)
is nothing more than an undeserved Tony George/IRL public flogging.
Speck is indeed as big a fan of open-wheel racing racing as he claims, he
knows that a number of his assertions are false: "...the Indy 500 no
longer attracts the best drivers the way it once did."
Then why have all the best CART teams and their
drivers abandoned CART for the IRL? That was last year's news, move on.
"Nobody will ever again win both the Indy 500 and
the Formula 1 championship as Mario Andretti did in the 1970s. The gap
between the two is just too far."
Hmmmm, heard of a guy named Juan Pablo Montoya?
He's already won Indy and I don't think anyone would place a bet
against him winning the F1 title in the near future too.
"The 500 attracts a legion of wannabes and wash-ups who
go for the big paychecks and easy living the IRL offers."
I know, don't you just hate big paychecks and easy living?
I really feel sorry for guys like Bobby Rahal, Roger
Penske, Chip Ganassi, Mo Nunn, John Menard, Eddie Cheever, Mike Andretti,
and Al Unser Jr.
Too bad they can't enjoy a rewarding career in advertising
like the rest of us.
"What they don't get is high-technology cars or
even mildly interesting tracks on which to race." Finally,
something Mr. Speck and I can agree on.
Oh, by the way, have you noticed a little racing series
"But (the IRL is) losing the fans to the extent
that even the 500 is a yawner."
News Flash: The Indy 500 has been in a TV ratings
decline for a lot longer than the CART/IRL feud has been going on. But
whatever your opinion, the IRL seems to be working. Teams continue to
defect from CART, and the product is definitely more professionally
The IRL continues to attract the interest of major
sponsors as well as fans. I will agree that personally I'd like to see the
speeds back up into the 240mph+ range, where they were the last year
CART raced there.
I think when speed becomes the story again, record
speeds, you'll see interest return.
"Meanwhile, Champ Cars (nee CART) have bounced off their
lows and are aggressively pursuing an affiliation with F1 to become the
top "ladder" series that feeds F1 with drivers who are ready to
make the step."
That's a success story? Morphing into the Minor Leagues
of F1 because your very survival depends on it? F1 already has about a
dozen minor leagues. Hell, The F1 talent scouts are so good now that guys
practically go straight into F1 cars from go carts!
Sorry, I don't know many athletes that aspire to the minor
"A parting thought about what a bone-head Tony George
is: The best-attended Formula 1 event on the calendar is the U.S. Grand
Prix held on a special road course constructed at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. Get the picture, Tony?
" Let's see, the U.S. has a population of approx 270
million people, it hasn't hosted an F1 race since the early 90's, it's one
of the least expensive races to attend on the calendar, and it's only
going to get one race.
By contrast, there are numerous races throughout Europe.
There have been continually since the early fifties, and they all cost an
arm and a leg to go to.
Yeah, it is difficult to understand why the USGP would be the
most well attended event on the F1 calendar.
My parting thought? That "Bone Head", Tony
George, brought F1 back to the States. Get the picture John?
Indy can blame Tony
May 12, 2003
As a fan of
open wheel-racing, I'm not at all surprised that the Indy 500 is sinking
like a stone (Expect
another sleeper Indy 500:
of dramatic storylines to draw in viewers).
While the lack of a compelling story line doesn't
help, one aspect that Toni Fitzgerald didn't mention is the series of
decisions made by Tony George, who heads up both the Indy track and the
To get right down to the crux, because the IRL is what it is,
the Indy 500 no longer attracts the best drivers the way it once did.
Nobody will ever again win both the Indy 500 and the Formula 1
championship as Mario Andretti did did in the 1970s.
The gap between the two is just too far. The 500 attracts a
legion of wannabes and wash-ups who go for the big paychecks and easy
living the IRL offers. What they don't get is high-technology cars or even
mildly interesting tracks on which to race. And now, TG has made rules
even more prohibitive to keep the CART/Champ teams away. And handing the
2002 race to IRL driver Helio Castroneves when CART's Paul Tracy had
clearly passed him was the final nail in the coffin.
incorrectly postulated that Americans would be interested in a
down-market, NASCAR-style open-wheel series that races only on ovals. Um,
maybe not, Tony. Sure, the IRL is attractive to teams because its cheap.
But it's losing the fans to the extent that even the 500 is a yawner.
Champ Cars (nee CART) have bounced off their lows and are aggressively
pursuing an affiliation with F1 to become the top "ladder"
series that feeds F1 with drivers who are ready to make the step.
thought about what a bone-head Tony George is: The best attended Formula 1
event on the calendar is the U.S. Grand Prix held on a special road course
constructed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Get the picture, Tony?
Count online users
in newspaper circulation
May 8, 2003
The article that
Jeff Berovici wrote in your May 6th Media Life issue, Even
with war, big papers lost readers:
anything, Iraq may simply have slowed declines, reports the
facts about circulation decline but omits the growth of readership online
for most newspapers.
There is a total lack of understanding of readership behavior
in reporting. True, the baby boomers are loyal to print. But the 18-35
year olds are turning more and more to their local newspaper online in the
This trend will grow, particularly as streaming video becomes
more mainstream. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have large
exclusive audiences online.
This should be factored into all newspaper circulation/readership
Director of Research & Sales Development
Landon Media Group LLC
Real doubts about
May 5, 2003
Upon reading this week's
outdoor feature, Rinnng! Your client
on a doorknob:
Sweep the hood with dangling messages,
I felt obliged to write.
I understand doorhangers are highly cost-effective. I
understand they are impossible to miss. I also understand most go straight
into the trashcan-- or blowing across the neighborhood.
Doorhangers are great for litter and landfills, and I prefer
to limit my contributions to both. Where did I run amiss? Contributing, it
seems, is "neato."
Considering the various methods of reaching a targeted
audience with a relevant message, I cannot understand why any
media person worth his/her salt still makes use of these.
How about a little more strategy? How about reaching an
intrinsically valuable audience based on research?
Targeting by zip code alone is a joke. Which landfill is on
plan for next week?
Please consider this comes not from an environmental
extremist by any stretch but rather from a media person who prefers a
strategic approach that minimizes waste. |
Isn't that still part of the equation?
Senior media planner
A founding editor
remembers her Victoria
April 9, 2003
It is always sad when people lose
jobs in an industry that appears to have gotten so used to it that it
almost treated like the shipping news. I can forgive you for that, but as
the founding editor I think there are a few things to praise about
Victoria other than it was a redundant
Perhaps there is something instructive in looking at
the history of a magazine. Publishers seem to be making the same mistakes
over and over and are so very thankful when one hits the wall and sticks
or when a new editor in a succession of experiments finally makes it.
Victoria was not strictly a shelter book. While it covered shelter
along with beauty, fashion, gardening and all the usual suspects from its
own perspective, it also published writing by outstanding woman authors
with a writer's in residence program that supported such notable writers
as Susan Minot and Judith Thurman. Victoria published Jane Smiley before
she won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. Victoria took on
the promotion of women's businesses, publishing thousands of them and
supporting their products. In fact, it was the No. 1 magazine read by
self-employed women, more than the business books. And it went further,
providing seminars for women to introduce them to ways to turn their
passions into profits. In every way, Victoria gave women the opportunity
to choose what was beautiful and uplifting in their lives and their world
over what was not. It gave women a place to refresh and renew.
Victoria was AdWeek's hot magazine of the year in the first year it
went monthly and stayed on the list for a time. In that same year,
Victoria was the first magazine of its type, heavily illustrated, to be
done completely on the computer, setting the standard for many
others to follow. The ways in which we did it had nothing to do with
parlors but with innovative thinking and diligent work. In seven issues,
Victoria reached a circulation of 750,000, putting it in record breaking
Its response from an insert card was in the 18 percent range
and 30,000 women wrote in, "white mail," to give the magazine as
a gift. Victoria's renewal rate and gift programs were enviable. Why? This
statement from an early reader says it all, "How did you know?"
We provided a magazine in content and approach that women didn't know
they wanted until they saw it. The first issue was a newsstand sellout.
There was virtually no promotion.
I left Victoria in 2000, after 15 years at Hearst, and cannot
speak for the last several years. But like all magazines Victoria needed
to grow and develop, and I did not see the way I would do that as being
supported. My personal life is richer for having been at the startup of
Victoria and for spending years with a dedicated and brilliant staff,
never more that a dozen on staff at any one time. It was enriched by the
thousands of readers I met on book tours and in seminars. One woman put
her arms around me in the middle of a mall and told me that Victoria
helped her get through the suicide of her teenage son. How could a
magazine do that? Perhaps that is the true legacy of the Victoria I knew.
It has been more than a redundant shelter title to millions of women.
The English crowds who greeted Queen Victoria near the end of
her long reign chanted, "You've done it well, old girl" as she
rode through the London streets. I learned this in one of the Off Broadway
dramatic readings that Victoria produced. The stars were Richard Kiley and
Julie Harris. Leslie Caron, Rosemary Harris, and others joined them in
this outstanding program. New York's giver of gardens, Enid Haupt, was one
of the stars in Victoria's crown, a program to honor women of achievement
and support their endeavors with grants. Victoria magazine, you've done it
well for so many.
Founding Editor, VICTORIA
Ardsley-on-Hudson, New York
May 'Ed' be saved,
and spare us from more reality
March 31, 2003
very much for your interesting article on the show, "Ed." (Don't toss
sod on NBC's 'Ed' just yet
Friday time slot may be its salvation, not death.)
It gives those of us who have watched it since
the beginning some hope that it will be saved from cancellation.
There are so few shows on TV now that actually
tell a story and aren't some new stupid reality program.
Really, if I want more reality, I can just stay at work
longer. I want shows that allow you to grow to like the characters
and which provide some escapism.
I've had it with reality, but then I'm not in the 18-25 year
old demo, which is a group that loves reality and also who the networks
seem to care about anyway.
If the networks keep this up, they will lose the
viewers who REALLY spend money, contrary to their beliefs that your buying
patterns are set for life at 25!
Thanks again for the article. I hope "Ed" can
be saved. It deserves it.
Please, don't let GQ
go down the lad road
March 14, 2003
Art Cooper's departure from GQ
should not give Conde Nast an excuse to turn the magazine into a Maxim
First off, just browsing a newsstand will tell you that
the lad magazine field is ridiculously crowded as it is. I'm not
quite sure how all of these magazines manage to stay in business.
Second off, Esquire has been modestly successful by keeping
the high ground. Editor David Granger wisely chose to stick to his guns at
the magazine and it is beginning to pay off.
Besides, Esquire will probably get a boon in circulation when
all of the readers of Maxim, Stuff, etc. grow up.
Seriously, what self-respecting man of 26 or 27 on up will be
caught in public reading Maxim?
Also, as a media planner, I could never include the lad
magazines on a media plan, but GQ and Esquire routinely showed up on media
recommendations because they reinforced brand image and helped target
All in all, these two magazines provide a far better package
than the lad magazines with their inflated circulations consisting mainly
of college students.
GQ should follow Esquire's example and hold the high ground,
maintaining confidence that sticking with what has been successful in the
past will be successful in the future.
Luckie & Co.
Katz response to
phooey letter on radio diversity
March 14, 2003
Re: Phooey to Arbitron's
diversity in radio claim.
This is the 46th edition of the Katz National
Format Averages study. It has been published semiannually by Katz since
1980, 16 years before the passage of the 1996 Telcom act and more than 20
years before Katz became an independent subsidiary of Clear Channel.
The study uses independent sources for audience data and
format definitions and simply tracks radio programming and listening
patterns over the past 23 years.
The facts clearly support the study's conclusion that radio
format development has accelerated since 1996
V.P./Director of Research
Phooey to Arbitron's
diversity in radio claim
March 12, 2003
The Arbitron survey, quoted in the article (Get
this: Radio is
Consolidation has led to more formats),
was funded by Clear Channel. Zero credibility.
Our 15-year-old daugter received XM Satellite for Christmas. Since
that time she has yet to turn on her "regular" radio. She was
fed up with local Houston radio playing the same songs over and over
accompanied by a blizzard of commercials.
John F. Mitton
A big gong for Paul
March 6, 2003
I think it interesting that a publication that usually does such a good
job at covering the media and advertising industry so journalistically
would run a commentary piece slamming a provider of internet advertising
technology services written by a gentleman who works for a company that is
in direct competition with them. (More snake
oil from DoubleClick: Untangling
the twisted logic of an internet reach study.
Let's sell the web on the value it brings. This only causes harm.)
Paul Benjou, who wrote the commentary piece today, is director of client services at
AdWare, a company owned by MediaPlex (itself owned by ValueClick), which
is an interactive advertising technology provider in the exact same space
as DoubleClick. They are both, at their core, ad servers.
Not to mention that both his points one and two are essentially
"granfalloons" to the debate about online advertising
effectiveness as it compares to traditional media
His point one: "One, how was MRI data utilized?
Data sets between MRI and ratings data are different and cannot be
combined with any statistical relevance.
His point two: "Two, MRI data is based on field studies that
are months behind the release of data. How was this correlated with more
current Nielsen data?"
MRI and ratings data have been combined for ages through the
use of IMS and Telmar media research interface tools. That's how
reach/frequency calculators provided by both IMS and Telmar have worked
for years. Nielsen data combined with MRI data have often been
correlated to get R/Fs in traditional media.
So misleading statements and a derogatory tone leveled at a
company that happens to be a direct competitor to the author is, well, to
quote the author: "Hopefully, no one will remember what
this [piece] was about six months from today, with the exception of the
few marketers who were convinced to believe that it provides [no] proof of
performance. It does no such thing. It encourages the application of
One further note: If
motivation and/or integrity are
to be challenged
and questioned by the writer, wouldn't
it have been more equitable to have pointed the pen at
MRI, Nielsen and IMS, who were the
key players of the study instead of Doubleclick?
DoubleClick in this instance was the messenger, not the auteur.
Chief Strategic Officer
Benjou replies: With all due respect to Jim Meskauskas, I am impressed and
mildly amused at his response to my commentary. I fail to see the
relevance he clearly applies to the fact that I am indirectly employed by
a competitor to the company that commissioned the study. Am I somehow
excluded from making observations on others in the ad-serving field? What
point is he attempting to make?
His counterpoint, “MRI and ratings data have been combined for ages
through the use of IMS and Telmar media research interface tools” to my
points, celebrates the hypnotic and ill-advised “karass” by the “granfaloons”
that continue to perpetuate bad research.
To suggest that the underlying methodology is okay just because it’s
been so for many years is not acceptable and does not make it right. Shame
on us for coming to believe the “numbers” we’ve been serving up.
As for my leveling guns at Doubleclick and not those
commissioned, please re-read the release. It was a release by Doubleclick.
My commentary was directed at the release and its implications, not the
The editor responds: Media Life accepts commentary pieces without
regard to whether they offend or annoy competitors or whether Media Life
happens to agree with the position of the writer. The chief concern is
that they address issues under discussion in the media marketplace. The
writer in turn understands that by publishing a piece of commentary in
Media Life, his thoughts, motives and very integrity are then open to
criticism for those who disagree.
Why 'I'm a Celeb'
March 3, 2003
Regarding these celeb reality shows, I have seen only segment some
of the current 15-nighter on ABC ["I'm a Celebrity---Get Me Out of
Here']. One problem is too much host and not enough of whatever they hoped
these 10 (now 6?) would achieve, such as what chores they did or not do.
One of the things that may have made "Joe Millionaire,"
"Bachelor," and "Bachelorette" more interesting was
the relating of viewers to participants.
The third-rate celebs are not that
interesting, except to verify that all people talk about each other, or
they would be on the A list.
Praise Dan Jewel for
pegging 'Joe Millionaire'
Feb. 14, 2003
Dan Jewel is dead-on with his
comments concerning Joe Millionaire ('Joe
Millionaire,' too clever by half:
Fox tricks the women, now the viewers. Bad.
the sleaze, oh, my. . .).
I will only be tuning in for the last five minutes of the show to
watch the carnage.
Fox really blew it, and if their sponsors have half a brain,
they will negotiate their spots to appear within the last fifteen minutes
of the show.
And if reality show produces have half a brain, they will
start placing the conclusions of these reality shows in the middle of the
broadcasts, and use their clever editing skills to show us the events
which lead up to that decision, or they might start building toward the
following week's episode with the weekly cliffhanger--as opposed to the
conclusion--at the end of each episode.
We are trained to tune in at the last five minutes of these
shows, and Fox simply proved that we are right to do so.
Fan mail: Media Life
Feb. 3, 2003
I am a fan of Media Life.
Congratulations on your new cleaner look.
Wasserman and Partners Advertising
Clear Channel not a
monopoly? My foot.
Jan. 31, 2003
Clear Channel chief
executive Lowry Mays can say Clear
Channel is not a monopoly all he wants ("Clear
Channel chief disputes monopoly tag").
won't make it true.
Clear Channel may only own 10 percent
of all radio stations in the country, but look at how they are
"clustered" in markets.
word "cluster" is Clear Channel's way of beating buyers and
anybody else into doing business the Clear Channel way.
Hey, what about
Jan. 30, 2003
refers to Peter Falk's successfully reprising "Columbo" in 1989
('Dragnet' must escape its history:
remakes overcome the past. Jack, you there?)
What does he think of the newest version, which aired
on ABC last night?
I watched "Columbo" faithfully for years, but last
night I found the widely touted "all new" Columbo story so
uninteresting, tacky and uninspired that I switched to "Smart Travels
in Europe" on PBS 30 minutes into the story -- before Peter Falk even
made an appearance.
Actually, Ed and
Ethan go back some
Jan. 30, 2003
I just read "'Dragnet,'
the odds, it works:
O'Neill pulls off a solid
Joe Friday. Al who?"
by Ethan Alter.
In the review he mentions the fact that Ed
O'Neill and Ethan Embry are strangers. However, they starred
together in the 1991 movie "Dutch."
If I'm not mistaken, Embry went by the name Ethan
Randall back then.
Don't blame 'Alias',
Jan. 29, 2003
blame "Alias" for being a ratings bummer.
Blame ABC for stretching out the post-game show ad
its Super Bowl edge: Great post-game
time slot. But 'Alias?')
Did we really need to watch Bon Jovi performing?
Name a primetime show that can pull in decent numbers
with an 11:00 p.m. start. It doesn't happen. According to my TV page,
"Alias" was supposed to go on at 10:15. ABC shot
themselves in the foot.
"Alias" remains one of the cleverest escapist shows on
TV. Its plot twists and turns rival, if not exceed, "24."
If they are dumbing down the show, as you
suggest, they will kill off their cult following and not draw anyone new
in at the same time.
I hope it's not a sad demise for a terrifically
Senior Vice President
Pedone & Partners
Adam Moss the Times'
Jan. 28, 2003
Now the N.Y. Times Magazine will only have to bow to the
pressures from the PC Police at The Times and not those demanding
the Times Magazine: The challenge of
differentiating it from the paper).)
adopters, not adaptors
Jan. 23, 2003
Please consider this headline of yesterday: “Adult
services king: Early adapters yearn for porn”
Adapters are what you use to connect two different style
plugs. Adopters are people who start using new things, or parents
who adopt children.
National Advertising Sales Manager
The editor replies: If consistency is a virtue, Media Life has
been most virtuous in mixing these two terms up almost from the beginning
of its existence. We stand corrected, and we thank Paul for pointing out
Super Bowl ad recall
hype is, well, hype
Jan. 21, 2003
who believes that close to 100 percent of 18-49s hang around for all the
Super Bowl commercials, I've got the Golden Gate Bridge to sell you,
Every survey taken after a Super Bowl states that the
majority of commercials have no recall. If they do, the viewers can't ID
the product or service, which makes any recall or awareness worthless.
Remember, you can make numbers do anything you want.
Always look at whose paying for a survey or poll.
Edgar S. Spizel
Former head of ad/pr agency
Tell Passikoff to go
Jan. 21, 2003
Has the humor
in your publication simply taken on a new, deadpan delivery, or does
Passikoff really think he's qualified to dismiss all agencies and all
media planners with a wave of his arrogant hand, as if he knew enough to
proclaim they were all cut from the same cloth, and that none of them had
ever gone beyond the numbers to think about the environment? ("Thinking
beyond reach and frequency:
Try it. Consider the fit with the vehicle's values").
Is he perhaps acting out on a complex based on the
pervasive broad-stroke assessment of consultants as snake-oil salesmen and
A CONSULTANT pontificating about ACCOUNTABILITY? Now
Thanks for doing us a service by publishing such a baseless
blast of self-aggrandizing generalities and giving it an author.
Now I know a little more about the kind of people whispering
in the clients' other ear all the time.
A Midwest group planning director
What AOL must do to
Jan. 17, 2003
In the parade
of firings, hirings, and aspirings at AOL, I have yet to hear anyone
articulate the one sure way to lift the company to profitability: produce
the equivalent of hit shows on the web.
Dial-up is dying and broadband access will soon be
plentiful and cheap. We're about to come full circle, to the second era of
"content is king."
But AOL cannot merely upload terabytes of Time-Warner
content, as if the internet were merely a delivery service for TV shows
and magazine articles.
To succeed and build revenue, AOL must pioneer an entirely
new entertainment form, one that leverages the unique interactive elements
of the medium.
just the weather, thanks
Jan. 16, 2003
I'm responding to Heidi Vogt's article about the Weather Channel's
long-form programs. (Weather
Channel: Won't you stick around?:
programming beyond quickie forecast, hoping to hold viewers a bit longer.)
Of late, I find nothing more annoying than flipping to
the Weather Channel for the latest forecast and instead finding a program
showing a re-enactment of Ned from Oklahoma hiding under a mattress as the
great twister of 1986 bore down.
I turn to the Weather Channel for the temperature and
conditions in my neighborhood - and that's it. Rather than watching
for 2-3 minutes, I view for only 5 seconds when I come across their
long-form programs. I have not interest in hearing for the umpteenth
time an eyewitness account of how a tornado sounded like "a hundred
Osbournes, our real
Aren't "The Osbournes" the hillbillies in the
L.A. mansion? (Big
stink over CBS hillbilly reality series: Rural activists:
Don't you dare pick on our folk)
I'm so confused.
Mercury Communication Partners
Hey, you forgot us
Dec. 17, 2002
I'm writing in
reference to the interesting article by Jeff Bercovici regarding the
launch of STA's magazine for college students, Xplore (Xplore,
for college kids with loose feet,
From Jungle, a travel title enters a crowded field.)
From Jungle, a travel title enters a crowded field.)
I just wanted to let you know that, unfortunately, you've
missed mentioning one of the biggest players in the student travel market
- Student Traveler Magazine.
Unlike Outside, National Geo Adventure, or Frommer's Budget
Travel, our magazine is already focused directly on the student travel
market, and we've been there for six years now.
Unlike STA's Xplore, we are completely independent and have
grown from a small magazine written by college travelers for college
travelers to one of the most widely-distributed magazines for young
We are freely distributed on over 750 college campuses
in the United States, are expanding from 50,000 to 100,000 circulation in
our next issue, are published five times per year, and are truly the voice
of the independent student traveler.
I'm sure Xplore will be a great, high-end publication for STA,
but for all the students who truly want advice from independent sources
and inspiration from travelers like themselves, they'll still pick up our
magazine in their study-abroad offices first.
If you're interested in seeing print copies of our recent
issues, please feel free to let me know.
Thanks for taking the time to cover the travel magazine business,
especially for adventurous and student travelers.
Student Traveler Magazine
Hey, you forgot us,
Dec. 17, 2002
magazine was remiss when Places, the magazine for the modern nomad, was
not mentioned in your article on travel magazines that target younger
travelers. In your article on Jungle Media’s new travel magazine, you
failed to mention that Places, the magazine for the modern nomad, invented
There had never been a travel magazine specifically designed
for 18-35 year-old travelers before Places, the magazine for the modern
nomad, launched in August 2001.
Our magazine just celebrated its one-year anniversary issue
not too long ago.
However, unlike Jungle’s new magazine, which will be distributed
by STA travel and is only for 18-25 year-olds, Places has full newsstand
and bookstore distribution and has gained a large following from people of
varying ages who represent the new travel culture, anywhere from 18-49. It
has always been Places intention to be a voice, and a magazine where
younger travelers and readers could find a design style and editorial
content that they could personally relate to. Looking towards the future,
we will continue to innovate and revolutionize the genre.
Paul W Jacob
Publishing and editorial director
Please, stop the NY
Nov. 21, 2002
Dear Editor: Just wanted
to say that I found your headline about "flop sweat" re: Donahue
quite objectionable. (Deathwatch
for Donahue Television: He's oozing
flop sweat, sure. But don't dig just yet)
You are, after all, not the New York Post.
On the whole you are a good site and I enjoy your news and
insights but this was uncalled for.
The editor responds: We are indeed not the New York Post
Hey, you guys got it
Nov. 8, 2002
Your Nov. 6 story on how the New York Post is taking readers away from the
Daily News is a portrait in journalistic inaccuracy, far below Media
Life’s usual standard of excellence.
For one thing, you state that the rivalry “really heated up
two years ago when the Post lowered its newsstand price to 25 cents.”
According to your report, this prompted the Daily News to respond “by
launching a free afternoon edition, the Daily News Express, but folded it
a year later.”
Search your memory and you’ll realize that the launch of
the Express by the Daily News came first and that it sent the Post into
utter panic and prompted them to slash their newsstand price.
What’s more, the reason the Daily News folded Express,
which had been distributed at major transportation hubs in Manhattan and
Brooklyn, was that post-9/11 security precautions made delivery
Once the Post realized that it could sell its paper more
successfully at a quarter, a stunning exercise in money-losing publishing,
it stuck with this price for one apparent reason: Maybe, just maybe, it
could gain enough cheap circulation to achieve parity with the Daily News
and begin competing with us on the advertising front.
Maybe. But meanwhile the Daily News continues to run three
times the ad pages the Post runs for the simple reason that we work for
our advertisers and the Post doesn’t.
As for the Post being up 10.5 per cent in the Sept. 30 ABC
audit and the Daily News being down 2.5 per cent, try this explanation on
for size: In the comparable post-9/11 period, the Daily News, because of
its incredible editorial coverage, registered a series of million-a-day
Even at its near-giveaway price of a quarter, the Post had no
such success. That we were down only 2.5 per cent against such a
formidable performance represents a magnificent achievement for the Daily
News and is reflective of why we outsell every newspaper, including The
New York Times, in the five boroughs.
You suggest that the circulation losses we are incurring are
“mortifying” for the Daily News.
In truth, the only thing that’s mortifying us is that a
respected news medium like Media Life would inadvertently mislead its
readers into believing that this is the case.
Everyone has come to expect more from you, just as readers
and advertisers expect more from the Daily News than from the Post.
President and Chief Operating Officer
The editor responds: The sequence of events recounted in our story was
indeed wrong. As Media Life reported at the time, the decision to launch
the Daily News Express, announced in August 2000, preceded the New York
Post's cover price reduction. Media Life regrets the error.
#&^!#@ the record industry
Nov. 5, 2002
The RIAA has a flackmeister second only to the MPAA's.
(Nobody beats Jack!). (Web
Shorts: Online music sales show drop)
Maybe online CD sales are down because online no longer
offers a benefit. Check prices for new releases and you will find the
chain discounters now easily undercut online prices.
So what's the benefit of buying online?
CDs released this week are running $10.99-11.99 at
Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, BestBuy, CircuitCity, etc. Tough for an e-com
retailer to match those prices because they can't pick, pack and ship for
5-10 percent of the sell price (i.e. equal to the local sales tax) and
still make a profit.
Nor can they match the "buy today, play today"
As for the overall decline in sales, the RIAA and the
industry shrug off the weak economy and lack of real hits in favor of
blaming Napster, Kazaa and CD burners for their woes.
My survey sample (*) says: "There aren't as many
CDs worth buying as there used to be. Who wants to buy a whole CD for one
or two good songs? And they keep playing all this nasty stuff on the
Forty-fives may be gone but the basic concept has taken on a
new life as .mp3 files. Too bad the RIAA and the labels haven't figured it
Or don't want to...
(* Son (23), May 2002 college grad, daughter, 19, college freshman,
and their friends.)
HR pinheads and older media people
Nov. 4, 2002
Hromas's letter to the editor concerning the lack of jobs for experienced
media people should be required reading by all the clueless pinheads who
work in HR and perpetuate the myth that experienced people won't be happy
in lower level positions.
Let's rethink needs
of older media people
Oct 31, 2002
Having bounced around ad agencies and media departments for some 18 years now, I find it hard to understand why everyone assumes older, more experienced professionals won't consider a lower salary in order to find a job (Older media folks face hard job times: Workplace: Hiring's up only for young 'uns. Time to quit biz?).
Where is it written that once someone attains a certain salary level, or job position, they are never willing to accept less?
It sounds as though ad agencies and media companies aren't willing to take the chance they'll get turned down by experienced job applicants because they aren't offering what these people have lost.
What's a few no's when ultimately you'll find a yes and get the experience clients deserve?
Three times now I've taken a lower salary/job position when I wanted to change jobs. All three times I have been amply rewarded in time, especially when business was good.
If companies are worried these employees will not be happy with their "reduced" circumstances, they need to rethink.
This is a career people are happy they chose. Unlike many professions, where you hear people say they are just in it for the money and are waiting to have another life, media people love what they do.
We work with people who are happy to be here. Big salaries are great, but just working in the business for a reasonable salary is enough for some people.
Companies should start interviewing the available talent and making them job offers despite their past salary/job position. It is the only way these companies can provide the quality product they've promised their clients and the only way the next generation can truly learn from those in the know.
(Former broadcast director
western international media,
now initiative media)
Real reason senior
media people have it tough
Oct 31, 2002
this piece (Older
media folks face hard job times: Workplace:
Hiring's up only for young 'uns. Time to quit biz?)
and it was interesting, but it seemed to overlook one of the key reasons
why senior people aren't finding jobs in media: The function has always
been viewed as "back office," to be staffed with the least
expensive, i.e., most junior, people available.
Now that the congloms are under enormous profit and
market pressures, I doubt that they'll hire senior people ever again.
Clients will suffer (as usual), but as the last paragraph
aptly notes, “I don’t think anyone at the top is happy about how they
are doing business right now, but they don’t have a choice."
As a matter of fact they do have a choice, but it would
be at the expense of their bonuses, so it isn't going to happen.
Good riddance to
Oct 30, 2002
awful show is cancelled (Fox
spikes Kelley's 'girls club': Television: Quick end to critic-trashed legal eaglette series) .
How on earth could the show possibly have cost $1.7 million
per episode? No one was on it who would have gotten a large salary.
The sets were static.
We're in the wrong end of the business! Anyone can write
Oct 28, 2002
Dear Editor: I read
with interest Toni Fitzgerald's article entitled Demise
of pop-ups, coming real soon:
Stampede kicks in as sites noose pesky ad format.)
On balance, the article was a good one, however, let's be
clear in regards to America Online.
A moratorium on pop-ups? Not exactly.
What AOL's press release communicated was that they were
stopping the sale of pop-ups but that they plan to honor commitments to
existing advertisers. What appears to be a movement to give
their subscribers what they want is really a clever PR ploy to
placate their customers and cajole them into believing that pop-ups really
going to go away. A half truth.
When read carefully, one sees that AOL is really not
committed to ridding itself of pop-ups. AOL ,while no longer
selling pop-ups evidently will have no problem pushing them on their
subscribers just so long as they're used to promote their own company or
one of the other sibling companies.
So while we applaud those companies that have
elected to drop pop-up ads, let's be clear that AOL's announcement is just
Is any one else out there tired of being
prompted with a pop-up ad every time we go to sign off the AOL service?
I know I am.
David J. Brown
SVP/Director of Media Services
Your Ethan Alter
Oct 18, 2002
Ethan Alter's take on "RHD" is right on (Robbery
Homicide Div.,' dark, doomed:
First-rate CBS copper far bleaker than 'CSI' model).
Good and thoughtful TV reporting.
Markham/Novell Communications, Ltd.
MSNBC just doesn't
Oct 16, 2002
Your analysis is right on (For
MSNBC, back to the drawing
more changes as makeover sputters.)
Uppermost, they don't get it. The DC area sniper is a
story they should be all over, but they have studio folk talking--talking
when they have a zillion NBC people covering the story on the scene. Imus
more than anyone else on MSNBC gets NBC journalists to talk almost off the
record which is fascinating.
Putting Donahue in Jersey in a little studio is like
having a gourmet chief work in McDonald's. He needs an audience.
Moreover, Donahue admitted during a Katie & Matt interview that he
doesn't like to call people getting them on the show (Dah?). This
interview was on the heels of a similar interview with Al Roker.
It sure doesn't help you fix MSNBC. They have the
strongest cadre of affiliates and don't use them either.
In other words, for G.E. and NBC, MSNBC is a pimple on the
___. This is a a fascinating thing. Even with the resources of NBC, the
No. 1 network news broadcast in the a.m. and p.m., and having the No. 2
web site, they can't figure out cable.
LOUIS P. KASMAN
What's really wrong
with 'West Wing'
Oct 15, 2002
Heidi Vogt wrote a very good article ('West
Wing' is heading
south, Mon Dieu! At hands of
'Bachelor' too! Good grief.)
I don't think it's time to panic about
"The West Wing." It's a strong show and even my conservative
pals watch it. Heidi's article didn't refer to the specific cells within
the demo that tuned out "WW" for 'The Bachelor' but I would
venture it was F 18-49, which would make sense.
What "WW" has to watch out for now is how much more
of a decline will occur after Rob Lowe leaves the series later this
season. He was part (some say all) of their hunk quota.
I think NBC can live with second place though. Like Heidi's
article mentioned, it's a different mindset between these two shows. If I
were at NBC selling "WW," that's a key point I'd point out
Chevy Chase MD
What's really wrong
with 'West Wing'
Oct 15, 2002
Dear Editor: I saw your article on
'The West Wing" ('West
Wing' is heading
south, Mon Dieu! At hands of
'Bachelor' too! Good grief.) and have to comment on the lack
of NBC promotional support behind the show.
I am an avid fan of the show and have been watching it
from the beginning. However, I did not even know when the season premiere
was going to be on.
Why ? Two reasons.
Number one, I am a Tivo owner and don't watch live television
Number two, I did not see one ad anywhere reminding me
of the premiere of the season for the show. If they can't get their core
audience to the show, how are they going to maintain or grow their numbers
I don't think they have to sack the President, or change much
of the cast, to keep it fresh. There will always be plenty of current
events to pull from to write a very good show.
What they need to do is reach their audience more
effectively and more often and remind them that the show is on.
Also, since they appear to be competing against reality
programming, why not try a reality spin of their own and have
"President" Bartlet appear in "newscasts" in other
time slots ?
Paradysz Matera Digital
Writer needs a
Oct 15, 2002
am amazed that Ms. Vogt's reporting on "West Wing" ratings
perpetuates the shallow and misguided view of measuring audiences.
Even the most junior media buyer understands the importance
of demographic and psychographic audience characteristics as critical
criteria for reaching a target audience.
Perhaps she hasn't noticed the lack of fast food advertising
on "West Wing" or maybe she feels a guest shot by the"
Osbornes" would remedy the lack of household ratings relative to
A veteran ABC Television sales exec, I used to ask the
question when agencies based their budgets on household ratings:
"What kind of households does your client want to reach; ranch,
colonial or perhaps some lovely Tudors?"
Much longer life for
paper checks, thank you
Oct 15, 2002
To paraphrase Mark Twain, Media
Life Magazine's October 9 report on the death of paper checks is greatly
Paper checks will be with us for a long time because the
economics of shifting to digitized checks have not been demonstrated by
the Federal Reserve or any other advocate. Legislation to create the legal
framework for digitized checks is advancing based on the blind faith that
electrons are always cheaper than paper.
Ironically, this legislation would authorize paper
which could be produced from the digitized version of the original check
for presentment to the bank on which the check was drawn.
Instead of eliminating paper, this innovation
would increase paper in the U.S. payments system -- hardly a way to save
money or trees.
Much of the case for getting rid of paper checks
is based on eliminating check transportation, but that cost is much less
than the several billion dollars a year MLM reported. The Federal Reserve
recently estimated annual check transportation costs of $200-$250 million
Even if paper check volume dropped by half, much of
that cost would remain because of the substantial fixed expense of
maintaining an overnight delivery capability for the remaining checks.
Digitizing a check, only to reproduce it a few hours later in
another city as a paper substitute check, entails substantial technical
problems which will add to payment processing costs. A major supporter of
digitized checks, the Electronic Check Clearing House Organization,
acknowledge these technical problems in a letter to the Federal Reserve
Finally, not only are consumer groups protesting the
digitized check legislation, but so too are business groups concerned
about increased check fraud.
While the United States is steadily moving towards electronic
payments, the paper check remains a proven and low-cost way of making many
types of payments.
Counsel to AirNet Systems,
a provider of overnight check transportation
Leave NBC's Thursday
Oct 12, 2002
Brilliant Robin! (How
NBC can fix Thursday night Television:
Bold moves are needed. Move 'Friends' to 9 p.m. )
Now all you have to do is
convince CBS to sit there and twiddle its thumbs and not counter-program
to keep the time period match-ups exactly the same. Or even worse watch
"Survivor" drive the final nail in the coffin of teetering
"ER" at 8 p.m.
NBC is so stupid; why are they paying Zucker a gazillion
dollars when there are guys like Robin who can come up with NBC's Thursday
night Salvation just like that--and probably do it for half the money?
Now, any suggestions for Fox's Friday night
Robin, right on
Oct 12, 2002
Dear Editor: I think this is
very clever and well thought out and would do better than the current
line-up and stop the hemorrhaging until NBC development can properly fill
I hope enough media buyers and planners forward this to NBC.
Sept. 12, 2002
Message to John Durham: I like the
honest demonstration of frustration in your column. But you can't blame
the cat for chasing the mouse. That's what they do.
Media types can't be blamed for seeking the best deal.
That's how they're evaluated.
Your beef is really more that there hasn't been
acceptance of the efficacy of online advertising. No money in the market
leads sellers to desperate measures. And, its the sellers who make
performance buys available.
Sorry, but its not going to change without more pain
(shakeout) and/ or change in the basic model.
Partner/ Director of Media and Marketing
Seiter & Miller Advertising
Right on, John
Sept. 11, 2002
commentary yesterday on the pay-per-performance issue for on-line
thievery, let's call it: Pay-for-clicks
proponents are guilty of shoplifting) strikes a very familiar
"history repeats itself" chord.
As the media matures, smart media pros will recognize the
value in branding and CPM buys on the web. The marketplace
originally guided buyers to a 70/30 split for performance vs. CPM
That will likely come to pass, but not until this
economy--which does have a significant impact on the way we
buy--starts swinging in a more confidently positive direction.
The approach by agencies, for now, is to take the path
of least resistance, even though that path leads the client to the wrong
My advice, John: Stick with it. You'll come out
Director of Client Services
Mediaplex, Inc / AdWare
With all due
respect to your opinion about not forgetting the blackout of '77, you
trivialize a world event that could be considered the most catastrophic in
U.S. history, let alone NYC. ("Lest
we forget the blackout of '77/
Commentary: Lessons from watching people
by Richard Laermer)
While not everyone physically viewed
our city crumbling, we were ALL affected by 9/11 as New Yorkers and as
A comparison to 9/11 is not a justifiable comparison. This
appears to be controversial for controversy's sake.
Your is a disappointing view of NYC.
Associate Media Director.
The editor responds: The article was a commentary and as such reflected
the author's viewpoint, not that of Media Life. But that said, I must
agree with the letter writer that the argument presented in the commentary
suffered mightily from a lapse of logic.
Question: Does Andrew Wallenstein
have any idea that Def Leppard WAS NOT A GLAM-HAIR-LIPSTICK WEARING
If he ever really followed the band, he would have realized
that the statements he made not only about Def Leppard but about the VH1
movie, "Hysteria," were not only biased by his opinion of what
music is supposed to be about but also NON-FACTUAL IN
Please do us readers a favor and do not insult our
intelligence by having some, over 50, bald, fat, moron write columns about
which he has no idea what he is writing about!
Thank you for your time and attention!
I read and enjoyed today's
article titled "As content Improves, more folks are
However, I was disappointed with the attached ranking of
"Top 25 Sites Ranked by Paid Content Revenue," compiled by
comScore Networks in association with the Online Publishers Association.
According to comScore's methodology, they utilize
a "proprietary technology network," tracking SSL transactions
among its panel of 1.1 million U.S. internet users.
This study fails to take into account the fact that a
significant portion of purchases for Economist.com subscriptions are
Also, due to the international appeal of Economist.com, a
significant percentage of our subscription revenue is from non-U.S.
The title of the ranking is misleading, since it does
not mention that this is a US-only study (although the study clearly
defines itself as "Online Paid Content - U.S. Market Report").
The title of the study itself is misleading and seems
to have been misinterpreted. By "Online Paid Content," they seem
to be referring to people transacting online for content, which is what
their methodology supports. However it is easy to see where people
would think this refers to total subscriptions for online content sites.
In your July 11th article, "Yes, folks will
pay for content," you published the "Top 25 Subscription Content
Publishers" from the Intermarket Group. We were ranked 19th overall.
This ranking more accurately reflects Economist.com's
position as a market leader in subscription-based content. The ranking
published today fails to take into account both online subscriptions
transacted offline, and non-U.S. subscriptions. I hope that you may
consider this and look forward to reading your next article.
reading Bark! for several years and was tickled to see Jeff Bercovici's
well deserved write-up.
Director of Client Services
Mediaplex, Inc / AdWare, Inc
The lonely lot of
I read your
really fun story on the Lone Liberal. Incidentally, the LL wears a
mask because he, like all liberals, is loath to admit it or to truly be
identified as a liberal.
of the PPM
"More folks listen to more radio" (7/23/2002 in Media Life
Magazine by Kevin Downey).
Kevin!! Did you write this article directly from Arbitron's
Any media planner worth his/her salt knows that the PPM is a
nefarious instrument that will, no doubt, cause the over-reporting of
Why? Because coming into contact with a radio signal does NOT
translate into actual listening.
Example: You and I catch a taxi at 8:45 a.m. at Central
Park South. We have a stimulating conversation all the way to
Surprise! Even though you are a loyal Don Imus listener (WFAN/660
AM), your PPM registered WSKQ/97.9 FM.
Why? Because the cab ride took more than sevenminutes, and
that's what the taxi driver had on his radio.
Advertisers on WSKQ have virtually no chance of reaching you
effectively with their spot schedules, but you just got counted in WSKQ's
unduplicated audience (cume) anyway.
You get the picture, I'm sure.
Collins, Haynes & Lully Advertising
The real cost of
Have you ever had one of those
moments when you see something on paper and say, "Wait a minute, that
can't be right!"
I had one of those moments when I read about KPIG
shutting down its webcasting services due to the ".07 cent per
song" royalty fee.
For those of us who work in the broadcast business but don't
deal with royalties on a daily (or even lifetime) basis, the numbers just
didn't add up for $3,000 in month royalty expenses for KPIG given .07 cent
On a straight-ahead basis, at .07 cent per song, KPIG could
readily expect to pay about $8.73 in royalties per month (approximately
12,840 songs/month times .0007). That's a far cry from $3,000 a
What isn't being said?
With a little due diligence, you can always find the missing
piece to the puzzle that brings it all together.
Essentially, for the laymen among us, a royalty is not due
for each song played by a webcaster, it is due for each time one person
hears one song played by the webcaster. If 1,000 people hear that last
song you played, you owe 70 cents. So, it is more accurate to say that
webcasters owe .07 cents per song per person listening rather than .07
cent per song.
I now see what the fuss is over. Thank you!
Client Research Services
History lesson for
I find myself
uncharacteristically compelled to comment on Jeff Bercovici's recent
article: "Send Jann an Issue of Blender/ A likely model for
Rolling Stone as it revamps."
Jeff, as you attempt to dissect the family tree of music and lad
magazines, I just couldn't help but offer a brief history lesson. I
hope you'll then see past the recent American imitators that you
mistakenly credit as original and set your sights on the truly innovative
British magazines that inspired them.
Your article says, "When Needham talks about
creating 'multiple points of entry on each page' and establishing an
'aggressive and forceful' newsstand presence, he is, in effect, describing
a music magazine that already exists." That's correct, except
the magazine that already exists is not Blender, it's called Q.
Not only is Q the template that Andy Pemberton used for
Blender, but Q has also enjoyed a sizable cult following in America among
music listeners who have been buying it on American newsstands for nearly
Then Pemberton says, "Without blowing our trumpet
too hard, we've come along and said, 'Well, you can present the
information like this, and it doesn't necessarily compromise what you're
doing.' It just makes it more enjoyable."
He apparently knows that if he DOES blow his trumpet too hard,
someone may notice that he's falsely attributing Q's innovations to
Blender. He's obviously figured out that it's easier to let you (and
perhaps some of your readers) blow his trumpet -- secure in the knowledge
that you have no familiarity with quality international magazines.
Are you not aware that Pemberton is an ex-editor of Q?
(He passed through Q's ranks long after Q's editorial voice and visual
style were developed.)
You may also not realize that Pemberton reluctantly acknowledged that he
copied Q's editorial and visual style in an interview with former
Inside.com writer Simon Dumenco.
Next, you observe, "What makes Blender fun
isn't so much the ubiquitous lists, sidebars and charticles as imaginative
features like 'Useful Tips from the Stars' and 'Dear Superstar'."
Have you ever visited an international newsstand, Jeff?
If you had you might recognize that 'Dear Superstar' is Blender's
imitation of Q's long-running 'Cash For Questions.'
I could go on to point out several other Blender column
concepts that are lifted directly from Q's pages (not to mention their
entire reviews section, including the ratings system), but I won't.
Allow me one last observation (you are, after all,
writing for "public" consumption). Your myopia seems to
extend beyond the music titles to the lad mags, as well.
I seem to recall more than a few articles where
you identify FHM as a Maxim imitator. In fact, FHM launched in
Europe in 1994, a full three years prior to the launch of Maxim.
In a now-familiar Dennis Publishing strategy (i.e., Blender
imitating Q), once Dennis witnessed FHM's unrivaled success in Europe (and
now in 15 countries worldwide), they launched Maxim and eventually brought
it to America.
If imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery, then
Dennis Publishing has flattered Emap to no end. By the way, are you
on Dennis' payroll?
I've worked in the advertising/media planning/print
world for over 14 years now, and am a huge fan of magazines. Despite
my years of industry experience, though, I do not purport to be a magazine
expert such as Samir Husni. But it doesn't take an expert like him
to spot erroneous information. In the interest of journalistic
integrity, as well as your professional reputation, I would think you'd
take it upon yourself to get your facts straight before putting them out
there for all the world to see.
Trouble with ad
problem with the reliability of any spending estimate generated by
Competitive Media Reporting, including their regular reports given to
subscribers to the service is what they use as cost benchmarks. CMR
uses rate card for print (who pays rate card, nowadays?) and if I'm not
mistaken SQAD and other cost per point services for electronic media.
They don't account for the negotiability of individual media
This means two things. CMR overestimates
media spending considerably by using benchmarks without factoring in rate
negotiation as a variable. And unless two marketers are running the
exact same schedule, CMR's spending reports have limited value as even a
relative comparison tool (Despite spending the same benchmark amount,
Company A's schedule may be intrinsically less expensive than Company B's,
if A's media contains greater weight with properties discounting more).
Not the first woman
I was interested to read Jeff Bercovici's story about Sia Michel
being the "first" woman to edit a national rock magazine.
It'd be pretty bad if there hadn't been a woman in such
a position until 2002. As it is, there were several before her.
I became editor of Creem Magazine, the national rock
magazine, in 1978. But you could make a good argument that I wasn't the
first woman to edit a rock title; Gloria Stavers was the incredibly
well-known editor of 16 Magazine way back in the early to mid '60s. That
beats out Ms. Michel by 40 years.
My Creem colleague Bill Holdship pointed out the incredible
feat you ascribe to Ms. Michel, and we both had a good laugh.
A nasty word or two
It's been a
year or so but I just wanted to comment on Andrew Wallenstein's review of
my now-defunct talk show, "A.J. After Hours."
Whoever this is....and I hope you have a direct line to
Andrew: Can you please tell him to go fuck himself. Thank you so
I can't wait to meet the pussy out one night and smack his
mouth while we discuss his pussy comments about my show.
What is it, Andrew? Does your girlfriend think I'm cute? Or, worse even,
does you boyfriend think I'm cute?
Please, please, please tell him to go fuck himself or
if he has any balls to please email me directly. Fuckin assface.
In defense of
I enjoyed reading Mr. Everitt's
June 18 article "At last, cheaper media buying software."
However his reference to our company, Marketing Resources Plus (formerly
Media Management Plus). might lead your readers to believe that we do not
serve small agencies.
Our media buying system, SmartPlus, is used by over
1,000 advertising agencies ranging from $2 to $400 million in media
billings. We scale our license fees based on agency size, the number of
markets they buy and the number of workstation they use. An entry level
system can start as low as $3,000.
Although nearly all of our clients subscribe to
ratings, some do not. SmartPlus can operate as a standalone buying
system or interface with popular media planning and agency accounting
With SmartPlus our clients start at any size and grow
at their own pace
without the time and cost of relearning a system. Some of our clients have
grown with us for over twenty years.
Marketing Resources Plus (MRP)
a VNU, Inc. Company
Right on regarding BO $s
I am in total agreement with the author about the absurdity of using box office figures in estimating anything but a movie's financial success. The gremlin known as inflation distorts the use of gross receipts as a benchmark to compare the popularity of film from not only different eras, but even from year to year. What I would really like to know is how many fannies are in the seats. How does
"The Attack of the Clones" compare with the original "Star Wars" in terms of movie goers actually paying to see it in movie theaters and how each ranks among all time blockbusters in audience quantity, not box office? To put things in perspective a movie released in an era of $10 movie tickets needs only 5 percent of the audience of a movie released when the price was 50 cents to equal its gross sales. Why doesn't someone publish audience figures?
Very silly 'Battlebots' lawsuit
Hello, I just wanted to take a few seconds and go on record to say
that whoever took the advice of the moronic spin doctor/legal advisor that
instructed the creators of "Battlebots" to sue Bud Light and DDB for the
creation of the Superbowl commercial, should be run down by rabid goats. While I'm guessing that since the suit is to force Bud Light not to
run the spots instead of for monetary gain, this was strictly a publicity stunt.....probably covered up by some whining story about intellectual
Truth be told, the creators of "Battlebots" should have
kissed the ass of the ad director that created that spot and sent a basket of
cash to the client that approved it! That 30-second spot probably did more
for the "Battlebots" brand and ratings than all of the billions of cross-network
promos Comedy Central has run over the past year or so combined. The creators should have taken it as flattery that a gigantic advertiser
like Bud Light thought enough of their creation to include it in a campaign
that undoubtedly has cost them a pretty penny......probably more spent than
any promotion that "Battlebots" will ever be likely to see again.
creators had half a brain, they would have contacted Bud Light immediately to propose a series of commercials including
"Battlebots." I know that the original one was great.....every guy I know loves it and they both have similar targets. Guys that like beer and smashing things up. So, Kudos to the creators.....they really hit one home with this one.
Youth appeal of
NBC O&O's and key Affiliates are pushing the Olympics hard.
Additionally, after work on Sunday I stopped into a graduate-student-type
pub here in Ann Arbor, and you would think the Super Bowl combined with
University of Michigan/Michigan State Basketball was on the TVs--very
involved and very exciting audience for X-Game-type events.
Louis P. Kasman
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Why we need Relix
Music industry executives love blaming Napster and similar services for
anemic sales, but the current vapid lineup of boy bands and Britney Spears
clones have more to do with it. Record company moguls seem to think that
teenagers listen to the Back Street Boys or Britney, but it is
eight-year-old girls that do.
Teenagers wouldn't get caught dead listening to such uncool stuff (except
for some musical nerds), the same way that former David Cassidy and Donnie
Osmond fans renounced their former allegiance to these performers after
they reached puberty during the heyday of FM rock.
Teens have more
disposable income to buy CDs than tweens, but they won't buy the TRL
pabulum fed to them.
Putting marketing dollars behind the type of bands Relix covers would help
revive a stagnant music industry.
Teenage taste-makers would begin buying
music again (these taste-makers have allowed performers with little or no
commercial airplay to produce platinum selling albums and sell out
concerts) and record sales and concert revenue would increase
Just read Jeff Bercovici's article on the "all new and
improved" Relix magazine and couldn't agree with his perspective on
jam bands more. Both the musicianship and the lack of trendy hype are
becoming increasingly refreshing. I forwarded his article to five
different people, all of whom are going to now check out a copy of Relix!
Feb. 4, 2002
Regarding the comments made by Felicia Minei Behr of ABC about reaching
the young demographic in
your February 4th piece on "Port Charles," this type of thinking
is going to be the downfall of the media and advertising industries if
they don't wake up soon to a few facts.
The Baby Boom generation is very likely to be offended at the
perception of being as set in their ways as their parents at the same age.
The "Greatest Generation" didn't grow up in an environment
filled with constant advertising messages and more brand competition than
ever as the Boomers have.
While the media gloats over the increasing numbers of Boomers who are
getting the AARP letter every year, it ignores the fact that Boomers are
better educated than their parents and have experienced far greater media
exposure to more vehicles than their parents did. Cable TV is enjoying
Contrary to computer industry propaganda, Boomers own
PCs, work with them and are on the internet. Unlike most of their parents,
Boomers will not be content to sit by the fire in a rocking chair, using
the same brands their parents used or even ones they used themselves when
they were in the 18-34 age group. They have more choices in every aspect
of their lives than their parents did and they will continue to exercise
their freedom of choice.
Today's 50-year-old is not the 50-year-old of 20 years ago. S/he is
always learning to keep up and to get ahead. Many are starting new
careers, getting advanced degrees, or opening their own businesses for the
The times we live in necessitate an open-mindedness previously
thought to be the sole property of extreme youth. That means a higher
incidence of brand trial and a greater propensity to consume new products
than the previous generation.
Considering also that people 50+ have
greater disposable income than an 18-24 year old, it is foolish in the
extreme to ignore this audience. Baby Boomers are just as likely to buy
new cars, new furniture, appliances, and new food products as anyone
younger. Ignore them at your own risk.
Freelance Media Supervisor
New York, N.Y.
The real problems
with online buying
Jan. 23, 2002
reason why online media buying platforms for traditional media have not
taken off (An online classroom for placing spot
buys) is not because of the computer skill level of the buyers and sellers.
Negotiations require give and take discourse.
It not a matter of a media outlet listing rate card prices and the buyer
accepting it, which is the only way an online buying system could work.
And I'm sure the individual media companies would prefer a non-negotiated
environment. But that's not what happens in the real world.
Strong negotiators often need several conversations and proposals to
receive a media offer that remotely meets their objectives. And strong
negotiators deal with senior staff, not generic sales reps who have no
authority to cut the deals they need.
Some level of give and take can be achieved via instant messaging, but it
would not be a time saver. Most people speak much more rapidly than they
Letters To The Editor from previous years: