Intrinsic Characteristics of Media Audiences

The purpose of advertising is simple: to make potential buyers aware of products or services and to get them to act.  The advertising message is easiest to deliver through mass media which carry advertising.  For a fast-moving consumer product with near universal penetration, it is most efficient to utilize mass media such as broadcast television and radio.  For a consumer durable that appeals to a narrower sub-universe, mass media may not be the most efficient way to go.  Rather, there are specialized media that appeal to the specific sub-universe.

To compete for advertising budgets, the media have to position themselves to advantage.  For some media, one can in fact speak of built-in characteristics for their audiences.  We will now cite some survey data from the TGI Latina study.  This is a survey of 52,639 persons between the ages of 12 to 64 years old in eight Latin American countries conducted during the second half of 2001 and the first half of 2002.  Among these respondents, 45% of them are magazine readers, 45% are newspaper readers, 33% are cable/satellite television viewers and 16% are internet users.  Therefore, these four media do not have the near universal penetration of broadcast television and radio.  

In the next figure, we show the media usage levels separately for the top two socio-economic levels (Level A = top 10% and Level B = next 20%), managers, professionals and college graduates.  For each demographic group, the media usage levels are much higher than the total population.  This type of pattern can be found on a country-by-country basis, whether in Latin America or elsewhere.

(source: TGI Latina 2001-2002)

These patterns of media usage can be said to be built-in or intrinsic because a self-selection process is in operation.  Print readership is obviously tied in with socio-economic level (=ability to purchase), education (=ability to read) and occupation (=professional needs).  Cable/satellite television is tied in with socio-economic level since subscription television is costly.  And internet usage is tied in with computer access and literacy.

For these four media, these built-in characteristics make it easy to position their advantages.  At the most basic level, the media usage by demographic groups reinforces what should be commonsense.  Therefore, these four media find it easy as an industry to argue their case for their 'fair' share of advertising expenditures.  Furthermore, these patterns are inherited by individual products and services.  In the next chart, we show the situations for a number of products and services.  For each and every product/service, the media usage level is significantly higher than in the general population.  The three pieces of the equation --- [demographic characteristics], [media usage] and [product usage] --- are in fact inextricably linked together.

(source: TGI Latina 2001-2002)

(posted by Roland Soong on 02/18/2003)

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