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Advertising Rates  

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2014 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts

Television & Cable Print Page

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Books to Help Calculate Ad Rates

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The 2012 Thumbnail Media Planner
ISBN: 1468092677
Park Library Reference: HF5415.3 .T48

Information on ratings and ad rates for network and spot radio from MRI, MPA, and Nielsen.

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SRDS TV & cable source
Davis Reference: HF5905 .S745

Information about television markets necessary to calculate advertising rates.

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SRDS radio advertising source
Davis Reference: HF5905 .S74

Information about radio stations required to calculate advertising rates.

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SQAD Media market guide
Park Library Reference: HF5826.5 .M42 2011

Provides CCP (cost per point) and CPM (cost per mille or thousand views) for TV, cable and radio. Covers different demographic groups, metro areas, and dayparts. Includes ad rates for newspapers and magazine too.

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Marketer's guide to media
Park Library Reference: HF5826.5 .M345

Information on ratings and ad rates for spot and daypart radio, plus major markets from Simmons and MRI. Also includes a glossary of print terms such as CPM, MSA, rate base, and more.


How to Calculate Rates

To calculate television ad rates, take the SQAD cost-per-point (in US$) for market and multiply it by the Nielsen rating for the program that airs at the same time. That will equal the cost of the ad.

SQAD cost-per-point 
x Nielsen rating 
= (relative) TV ad cost

Step 1: Get SQAD cost-per-point

    • For summary data, consult the Thumbnail Media Planner (print, Park Library reference, HF5415.3 .T48).
    • For detailed data by media market, consult SRDS TV & cable source (print, at Davis Library reference, call number HF5905 .S745).

Step 2: Get Nielsen ratings data from one of the following:

  • Nielsen | TV Ratings Offers data for the current week only, broken out by Broadcast TV, Cable TV, Syndication, "Among African-Americans," and "Among Hispanics." All data is U.S. only.
  • Daily Variety publishes a weekly chart of Nielsen's Primetime Ratings Report. Lists number of total viewers for all prime-time shows, as well as the top shows in various age groups. One-month delay. Charts available for the past several years.
  • Television Nielsen Ratings Zap2It blogs about TV ratings and links to weekly, seasonal, and cable ratings from Nielsen.
  • provides a "scoreboard" with Rating/Share for each television network, broken out by age group. Material includes brief analysis. Other links include Network TV Ratings Season to DateBroadcast Top 25Cable Top 25, and a list of all their ratings charts, including the date the most recent was published.
  • Futon Critic Ratings Daily Nielsen data, along with a good explanation of what the data means. From
  • Business Source Complete provides hundreds of stories about Nielsen ratings from a variety of sources, including Advertising Age, AdWeek, Broadcasting & Cable, MediaWeek, and the Wall Street Journal. Free for UNC students!

Note: UNC does not have print or digital access to the full data collected by the A. C. Nielsen Marketing Information Company. This data is proprietary and only available to clients of A. C. Nielsen.

Info. About Television Markets

  • SRDS DMA Profiles & Maps
    Demographic profiles, sales ranking of retail purchases for 210 U.S. markets. Data from Nielsen.

Info. About Cable Networks

Fox Deport Profile, among hundreds of othersCabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB) provides advertisers and agencies with "media insights at the national, DMA and local levels." 

  • CAB publishes 5-page profiles for each of the major cable television networks.
  • Each profile contains program format, target viewers, viewer profile, viewer lifestyle, leading national advertisers, network contacts, and more.
  • Find networks by age, ethnic, or gender demographic. 
  • Search or browse to find a network, then find the PDF of the full profile.

(h/t to   at Ohio University's Business Blog)


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