Why we don’t believe in the media value

Unlike most other tools, Placedise doesn’t output any monetary media value in its analysis. Many ask why.
The answer is more or less pretty simple: Because we want to provide honest, meaningful and (as far as possible) transparent results and reports. A media value owns not one of those attributes and that’s why we don’t believe in its right to exist.


What is a media value?

Media values are used in slightly different ways and occur usually in the fields of not that “traditional advertising” and PR. They are always represented by a monetary value.

The general idea behind the media value is to make an advertising activity (in some not that traditional area) comparable to more traditional, payed ads – and then calculate its “real” value. This new value considers the special style of the specific measure and represents the price that one would need to pay at traditional channels to get similar reach and/or attention. In the case of product placement, the number usually tells us how valuable the placement is, compared to regular TV ads. Most times, it is calculated by extrapolating the duration of a visible integration and comparing this number to the cost of a prime time ad break minute.
Therefore, a media value is some kind of quality measurement that can be communicated to the (internal or external) customer. That’s also one of the reasons why the value is mostly always higher than the actual cost.


What’s the problem?

The media value is problematic in almost every aspect of its definition and use.

Comparison: First, the media value tries to compare something that is not comparable in most ways. Of course, it makes sense trying to compare product placement with traditional TV ads for sales reasons. However, the problem stays: You cannot compare them in a fair and wise way! That’s the reason why the media value has been invented. But it is even worse. Product placement affects consumers on a mostly totally different level. That’s why calculating a media value is always based on randomnes and anything, but never actual differences.

  • Example 1: You want to advertise for your super special Sunday sale. A perfect case for simple TV ads. But why not try a product placement in a movie? It has a way higher media value! Wait … right … sale is on Sunday, but the movie will be out next year.
  • Example 2: Similar situation, but now you are going to advertise it at the same time and with a comparable style on TV and as a placement on YouTube. You get a huge media value on YouTube, but because you only focused on reach, you get a very bad reputation and sales drop. Media value is still high anyway.
  • Example 3: You do a very boring and simply bad TV spot. There are absolutely no positive effects on it. At the same time you start a smart product placement. Reach and time on screen might be slightly lower, but it increases reputation and sales dramatically. However, media value would be lower than the actual cost. Bad move, right?

That’s when the value has no longer anything to do with quality or impact, but only compares pricing.

Budget/Finance: Pricing is the next dangerous illusion. It seems like there are two price lables. The price you pay and the real price. Therefore, you basically bet on if the activity will be expensive or cheap; but in fact, you will always pay the same and since you get different effects whether you do product placement, PR our TV ads, you do not save anything. Even if product placement would be more expensive, you would get another outcome anyway. Besides that, the question is how you can benefit from the media value at all? There is one thing! You have some kind of proof that your idea and work turned out to be somehow good (even if you don’t know why) and you can tell that to your customer or boss. However, from an economic point of view, it still has no value – otherwise it would be totally comparable to the evaluation of real estate in the US in 2006. Ask yourself: “Wouldn’t it be also possible to save money by replacing all computer monitors by keyboards?” That’s the same logic as with comparing media values from a pricing perspective.

Reach as objective: The media value usually focusses on reach as primary goal. Reach is important, but you should never ever focus on reach alone. Just think of reaching many people, but they all hate your product, bought fake likes, views and fans on Facebook and YouTube (only to name a few examples).
Often, the media value is used to sell product placement. The greater benefit of product placement, however, is not reach or short-term attention – it’s the way, the product is presented to the audience and the implicit effects that come with this style (that then lead to better reputation and sales).



We totally understand why the media value has been created and why it is used. However, we don’t believe that it does any good to anybody (except the people who calculate it). Only very few producers or agencies use the media value to make extra cash. Most times, it is the client/product company who wants to get some simple reach and pricing figures, because they are so easy to handle and to communicate to others. Change has to happen in every part of the industry. Product placement is no alternative to TV ads – it is a great part of the marketing mix! The funny thing: No matter if you talk to experts from advertising agencies or big corporations. They always give you a smile, usually tell you that the media value is not worth the paper it is printed on, but also mention that it is simply necessary, because there is no alternative.

One goal of Placedise was to create such an alternative. That’s why you won’t find a media value in our reports.

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Jens Kuerschner

Author: Jens Kuerschner

Jens Kuerschner is founder and CEO of Placedise. As an expert in the field of consumer behavior and media enthusiast, he is especially responsible for the product know-how. In our blog, this knowledge and the experience of many years of research and study will be shared with you.

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