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Posting Should Follow the Same Rules as Baseball

March 21, 2013

As Americans are gearing up for baseball, there appears to be a new wave of agencies demanding that radio “post” their buys. While these two concepts may appear to be completely unrelated, broadcasters can apply what they know about America’s great pastime to the battle that is known as posting. While we at Research Director, Inc. believe that posting overcomplicates the transaction, we’d like to share some basic rules to follow if it becomes a necessity.

I’ll start with a brief description of posting for those who are unfamiliar with it. When an advertiser plots out a campaign, they expect to receive a certain number of GRPs or impressions. If, after the campaign runs, it did not post (i.e. deliver the number of GRPs or impressions expected), an advertiser may want to “make good” on the deal by using additional spots to account for those missing GRPs or impressions.

So how does this relate to baseball? Let’s break it down into four rules.

1. Everyone needs to agree on the rules up front.

At the beginning of every baseball game, the umpire reviews the ground rules to each team. Before the first pitch is thrown, everyone knows what to expect.

Like baseball, the rules of posting must be agreed upon at the point of sale. An advertiser can’t come back to a broadcaster after the end of a campaign and complain about the campaign not posting if the two parties never discussed posting in the first place. Posting a buy is like taking an insurance policy out on the campaign; the advertiser should pay a premium for this protection, and that doesn’t happen when posting isn’t part of the initial negotiation.

2. A run in the first inning counts the same as a run in the ninth inning.

When the game is over, it doesn’t matter which runs were scored in which innings. The total score determines the outcome.

Radio stations set their rates based on their ratings in each daypart specified in the schedule. If an advertiser buys a broad rotation (Mon-Sun 6A-12Mid), then they must understand the spots can be played at anytime during that daypart. When the campaign ends, they can’t evaluate delivery based on when each spot was actually aired – they must base it on the ratings of the daypart they purchased. If an advertiser wants better rotation, they must pay the rates for their desired dayparts.

3. Ultimately, team performance gets the win.

When it comes to scoring, we don’t compare team A’s shortstop to team B’s shortstop; team A’s right fielder to team B’s right fielder; etc. What matters is if team A as a whole scored more than team B as a whole.

The same should be said for radio campaigns. Did the total market schedule deliver what was expected? If 100 GRPs were purchased, were 100 GRPs achieved, regardless of each individual station’s delivery?  If so, the goal was met and the campaign should be considered a success. Move on!

4. When a team loses, the weak links are punished.

When a baseball team is on a losing streak, typically the manager doesn’t punish the entire team. He looks at the player or players who are lagging and takes action. Depending on the situation, he may opt to bench a player, trade them, or send them to the minors.

A radio schedule that doesn’t post should follow the same logic. In a multi-station schedule, the likely outcome is that some stations exceed their expected delivery, some match it, and some come up short. The stations that met or exceeded their obligations shouldn’t be punished. This responsibility falls to the underperforming stations to make up the difference.

In conclusion, as broadcasters, we would all prefer not to go through the scrutiny of posting. However, if you must post, just remember the rules of baseball.

Now PLAY BALL!

-Charlie Sislen, Partner

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