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What to Know About an Annual Media Buy

When attempting to take your media in-house or when offering media services for others, it’s important to know that media can be purchased in several ways, such as by flight, monthly, quarterly or annually. The trick to being a successful media planner and buyer is knowing which structure works best for you and your clients.

A flight can be from as short as one week to as long as several months. It is a continuous buy, which usually serves to bring attention to one specific promotion.

The structures for buying media on a monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis are pretty simple – as they follow the standard definition of the time lapses listed above. Though you have to choose which structure is right for you, an annual buy, which is achieved by the media buyer placing the entire annual media plan at once, does have advantages over buying monthly, quarterly or by flight.

Listed below are the top 5 things you need to know about an annual media buy:

  1. An annual buy will definitely give a buyer leverage to get the best rates, especially with television, cable and radio buys.
  2. Due to the volume of the buy, the rates will be more negotiable and generally lower than if placed monthly, quarterly or by flight.
  3. The closer the media buyer is to the beginning of the schedule when placing the buy, the higher the rates will likely be. If the media is sold out, the rates may need to be high enough to bump another advertiser’s spots. At times, it may be so close to the flight that the station does not have any space available to sell. Neither of these situations is in the best interest of the client.
  4. With print, if you know what you’ll be spending within the year, a media buyer can usually negotiate a contract to buy a certain number of column inches or spend a certain amount of money. This is harder to do if the buy is not purchased annually, as there can be short rates if the contract isn’t met. This isn’t good for either the agency or the client.
  5. Annual buys can always be adjusted, moved and or canceled if necessary with sufficient notice to the media vendors, so you will not be locked into any media that isn’t working for you. Media can constantly be adjusted to give your clients the best outcome possible.

Annual buying is great for many clients, and with its adjustability, you’re really in a win-win situation. Not only do you get the best deals for being prepared and coming to your rep with a well-thought out plan, but you also get flexibility in order to meet your client’s needs.

With our ever-changing marketplace accelerating at such a rapid pace, new tools, trends and types of marketing are being introduced every day. Due to this fast-paced way of life, many believe that you should steer clear of annual buys – because you never know when something will change. Not true.

Annual buys can be bought in a way that is adjustable, allowing you to bump up or bump back spots, make changes to material, swap your :30 radio spot with a :60, etc. – you just have to know what you’re doing.

As we have seen lately in the marketplace, sometimes there are other situations with annual buys that need to be addressed, such as the programming change that moved American Idol from airing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to airing Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you bought a good spot on Thursday during a popular show with a competing station – and now because of a programming change, you have to compete with American Idol – there would be a problem. This is when you contact your rep and discuss your options. By doing so, you’ll learn just how well you leveraged your annual buy in the first place.

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