Tag Archives: media planning

How do TVRs build media reach and frequency?

Published / by Simon Foster

As we saw in the “what is a TVR” post a TVR is a percentage of a given target audience in a given geographic base.  But is a TVR any more than that? Well, yes it is. A TVR is an important factor in calculating how media activity builds reach and frequency. Reach is the percentage of your target audience seeing your ad at least once. Frequency is the number of times they see it.

How TVRs build campaign reach

Let’s assume you buy 100 TVRs in a given region. We know from our last post on TVRs that 100 TVRs is an amount of audience that is the equivalent of 100% of our target audience base.  But here’s the first important lesson in how TVRs build reach and frequency. 100 TVRs will not deliver 100% reach of that base.  In fact 100 TVRs will probably build around 60%-70% reach depending on how those TVRs are distributed in the plan. So what is delivered by the TVRs that don’t deliver reach? Well, they deliver frequency.

How TVRs build campaign frequency

In the early stages of campaign, most people will see the ad only once. But some will see it twice and some may see it three times. Let’s say 70% see it once, 20% see it twice and 10% see it three times. This is how your 100 TVRs are distributed. This is called frequency distribution.

How to estimate frequency from TVRs and reach

There is a simple formula for estimating how TVRs deliver both reach and frequency.  Let’s continue to assume you have 100 TVRs. Frequency (sometimes called average opportunity to see or OTS) is calculated by dividing your campaign reach into your campaign TVRs. So, if you have 100 TVRs and your campaign delivers 50% reach then your average OTS is 100/50 = 2. If your campaign delivers 70% reach then your average OTS is 100/70 = 1.43.

How many TVRs does my campaign need to be effective?

This depends upon whether or not you adopt the view that reach is more important than frequency.  Modern “recency” planning advocates (John Philip Jones, Erwin Ephron, Byron Sharp) argue that each point of reach will deliver more sales response than additional points of frequency (i.e. the percentage of people seeing the ad twice, three times etc). So they advocate building maximum reach on a weekly or a monthly level, but not building frequency. To achieve this objective media planners will seek between 100 and 150 TVRs per week and often plan the delivery of these TVRs in a week on, week off “drip” pattern. This type of campaign plan tends to suit campaigns that are designed to regularly remind consumers about a product they are already aware of.

More traditional media planning approaches (Krugman for example) suggest a minimum frequency of 5 OTS before a message begins to resonate with a prospect.  Our calculation tells us that if we want to achieve 80% reach at 5 OTS we will need 80×5 = 400 TVRs. Targeting an average of 7 OTS would require 560 TVRs. You can see why a launch campaign would typcially be around 600 TVRs.

More advanced forms of planning use statistical modelling to estimate the sales response curve to advertising. These models show how budget and TVRs drive sales response (could be retail or online sales) on a weekly basis and forecast when spend levels will hit diminishing returns. For more on this please see www.mus3.co.uk

What is a TVR?

Published / by Simon Foster

This is a question that many marketers don’t want to ask, especially when they are halfway through the agency’s TV presentation. The trouble is, the agency team have been talking about TVRs for about 20 minutes, the coffee’s gone cold and you daren’t chip in to ask “exactly what is a TVR?”

Put very simply a TVR is a TV Rating point and it means a given percentage of a base population watching a TV programme where that base is defined as 1) a given target audience in 2) a given TV region or area.  What’s important here is that because we are talking percentages the bases from which those percentages are taken can change, and this can mean huge differences in the volumes of audience actually seeing an ad. Let’s look at some examples of the effect of different base criteria when establishing TVRs.

If a TV spot runs across the UK TV network and delivers 1 Adult Network TVR how many people will see that spot? The base criteria here are 1 TVR, meaning 1% of a) the UK TV Network and b) the adult demographic population base. If there are 49 million adults in the UK i.e. across the whole UK TV network, then 1 Network Adult TVR is 1% of 49 million. That’s 490,000 Adults.

But we could also have 1 Adult TVR in the London ITV region; these are very different base criteria.  If there are 9.5m adults in London then 1 Adult TVR in London would be 1% of 9.5m – that’s 95,000. So we can already see that 1 Adult Network TVR equates to more than 5 times the audience volume of 1 Adult London TVR. Remember 1 TVR against one set of base criteria is not the same as 1 TVR against another set of base crieria. In other words, not all TVRs are equal.

Then we can look at different audiences. The UK media industry breaks audience down from all Adults 16+ into a number of sub-groups refined by age and socio economic group so we might have ABC1 Adults or Men aged 25-44 or ABC1 Women or Women aged 25-54. Each of these sub-groups (sometimes called “demos”) has a different size of population base.

So, for example we might look at a programme that delivers 1 ABC1 Adult Network TVR. As there are 26.7m ABC1 Adults in the UK network area then 1 ABC1 Adult Network TVR equates to 267,000 ABC1 Adults.  If there are 5.8m ABC1 Adults in London, the 1 ABC1 Adult London TVR would equate to an audience of 58,000 ABC1 Adults.

We need to remember that when we measure a sub-group, we are only measuring audience in that sub-group. So, whilst a programme may deliver 58,000 ABC1 Adults, it could still deliver 100,000 Adults in total. 100,000 Adult viewers in London would mean the programme had an Adult London TVR of 100,000 / 9.5m – that’s 1.05 Adult London TVRs.

TVRs are important because they are used to populate models which estimate the reach and frequency of an advertising campaign. As TVRs build so do reach and frequency. More on that in later posts…