Media Buying: Buying TV and Radio Ad slots


Let’s say you want to advertise a shower gel for women on TV. What do you think would be the right time to advertise on TV? When would your target audience, i.e. the women would have time to watch your TV ad without skipping it. All these factors taken into consideration while buying a slot for your product’s TV ad is called Media Buying and Media Planning.

Media Buying

Media buying differs from “earned” or “owned” media. It falls into the “paid” media category and plays an essential role in marketing. Media buying is the purchase of media spaces for the most advantageous timeslots. Purchasable media options span from newspaper ads to prime time TV slots to online banner ads. This article describes the buying of above-the-line advertising media i.e. Buying TV Ad slots and Radio Ad slots.

Buying TV Ad slots

Buying TV ad space is not that complex, but advertisers must know the basics first. Here are some of them you need to keep in mind before launching a TV Ad campaign.

The first question to be asked is:  What are you gaining by buying TV advertising? What are the KPIs you need to reach? What are your expectations? We could say two different objectives would motivate you: your brand image would drive one, the other by your achievements.

Regarding your brand, a TV Ad campaign could help you when you are launching your brand, with a campaign dedicated to presenting a new product or the new features of an existing one. Don’t forget, TV is the most powerful media, and it is one of the only ones that can touch such a big audience in such little time. You would also want to reposition your brand – a tough job – and lead customers to think differently about your brand; think about sponsorship, which is very useful for repositioning a brand. Another example would be you need to link your brand to a story-telling, establishing trust and confidence with the TV-viewers

If you are correctly led, TV could help you generate a direct response to your website, app or even store. For example, you could want to push your application and increase the volume of app installs. Also, a TV ad could help you multiply the amount of traffic on your website and, therefore, generate more leads. Your TV campaign could also permit you to trigger calls to your call center, and motivate TV viewers to know more about you and your services/products.

In other words, every advertiser has different objectives, and, therefore, different KPIs.

Who are you trying to reach?

Deciding what you want to do is tightly linked to knowing who you want to target on TV. Who is watching TV at the time your ad is broadcasted essential: you want to reach the right audience! Once you’ve selected your audience – 16-34 women, men who love to cook, parents with kids – you (or your agency) will be able to choose the TV programs that are the most relevant.

An to do so, you should definitively know some keywords.


The reach is the number of people who have seen your ad, at least once. But if someone saw your ad twice in a defined relevant period, it is still counted as one.


It shows the average number of how many times a person has seen your ad, in a defined relevant period.

Frequency = Total duplicated audience



The percentage of the target audience reached. And the target audience would be the audience you’ve selected, as the one who would be the more responsive to your ad, because it concerns it, your products/services are made for them.


The Television Viewer Ratings, known in other countries as the GRP, the Gross Rating Point, is actually how you buy a TV Ad – kind of currency. It is the percentage of potential TV viewers at a given time. It is effortless to calculate: you need to compare the number of your target audience and the total of the audience, and 1 TVR = 1% of a target audience.

When should you advertise?

Your audience isn’t the same in March and in July, on a Monday or a Thursday, at 8 am or 5 pm. That’s why you need to know which programs are broadcasted throughout the year, the week and the day.

The seasonality

Of course, seasonality. If you advertise for school supplies, August and September would be your preferred months. Do you want to present your new sunscreens? Think June to August. But if you advertise cars or hair products, seasonality would less impact you.

Prices are driven by supply and demand, and some months are more expensive than others. For example, January, July or August would be the least costly, and April, May, September, October or November would be the most costly.

Day of the week

Same here, with the days of the week. Your audience may be watching TV on certain days of the week but not others. A difference could be made between “need” and “want” products. For example, TV viewers would be more likely to respond well to products they want during the week, as they would be watching TV after a day of work, and just wanting to relax. However, on weekends, especially Sunday, they would want to get this done before the weekend is over, and therefore interested in “need” products.

The dayparts

The hour of the day plays an important part when looking to buy ad space on TV. The TVR is at its highest during Peak, because that’s when viewing is the most important. The most profitable time is definitive during early peak and late peak, mostly from 5:30 p.m. to 10:59 p.m., and even post maximum, from 11:00 p.m. to 12:29 p.m. Breakfast time is also worthwhile, from 06:00 a.m. to 08:59 a.m.

On the contrary, daytime is pretty calm, from 09:00 a.m. to 5:29 p.m., with most of the audience having the most purchasing power being at work or school.

How much does it cost?

The cost of advertising on Television depends on the following factors:

The timing of advertisement: If you want to advertise between 7 AM – 9 AM it varies between INR 1,000 – INR 24,000 for 30-second ads. English channels like HBO charge you about INR 1000, and News channels charge the highest about INR 24,000 as the viewership is maximum in the morning.

Weekends Vs. Weekdays: The cost of advertising during Weekends goes as high as 45% when compared during a weekday. The price depends based on the channel.

Surprisingly movie channels charge you lower on a Sunday. The cost drops by almost 45% during weekends

Viewership: The price of advertising differs from channel to channel based on the number of viewers they attract.

Average amount spent per customer for an advertisement of 30 seconds is about INR 0.007. (Yes, the reach is great).

You can check the detailed price tariff for different channels in India here.

Buying Radio Ad slots

Radio, as an advertising medium, is perhaps unparalleled. Whether it’s commuters stuck in traffic, students going to class or cross-country cruisers cranking classic rock, about 77 percent of Indians listen to the radio in a given day. So your business can only grow by utilizing the radio waves to advertise. But before you do so, here are five things to think about.

The Time of the day

Most radio stations say there are six sessions per day – and as you can imagine the breakfast session has a far bigger listening audience than the midnight to dawn session. So it’s important to consider the trade-off between what session best suits your product versus the cost of advertising in that session.

The Length of the Commercial

Most radio commercials are 30 seconds long. However, you can purchase 15, 45 and 60-second slots as well. A 60-second commercial suits products that need explanation whereas a 15-second ad suits a consumer-friendly brand with a clear call to action. And because of the peculiarities of radio advertising – stations want to sell 60-second spots; you might pay 20 percent more to double the length of your commercial.

The Type of Commercial

Most radio commercials are pre-recorded. Other options include live-reads (by the announcer) and live-crosses (to the advertiser). Radio advertising rates are lower for pre-recorded commercials, but the added benefit of personal endorsement or interaction often significantly increase the number of responses to the ad.

The Popularity of the Radio Station

An independent research company measures the audience size for each radio station according to many criteria. Radio stations use these numbers to position themselves in the market and to set their radio advertising rates.

Tune in to the right frequency

Listeners constantly turn their radios on and off, more so than TV. So you need enough repetition to be heard and remembered. But at first, don’t break the bank. So once you know the station and time of day, pick a couple of weeks and buy about three ads per day on a trial basis. If it works, keep buying.

Get the spot right

Now you need to make the commercial. If the station offers to produce it, take them up on offer, even though they keep the rights to it. Pay for a DJ or commentator to read your ad, if possible, since that carries more weight than a pre-recorded commercial. Repeat the name of your business in the actual ad copy. People can’t write down info when driving, so they need to remember. Also, make your phone number or website easy to remember. Helping the listener only helps you.

Check out the price tariff of radio stations in India here.

If you are thinking of buying radio and TV ads to help reach prospects and boost your sales, leave your media buying tasks to Strawberry Branding for optimum results.

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