Glossary : Media Buying

This glossary is intended for any person who would want to start learning media buying. This non-exhaustive list of words and expressions will help you to get a better understanding of conversations in the media field.

Therefore, we have tried to compile the most used vocabulary, which will be a time saving and confidence for your future negotiations of advertising space purchases.

If you may need to set a cross-media plan, the following terms will be very useful for any media such as billboards, radio or TV (in addition to press).

For any advice, feel free to contact our media agency:

Summary of our media buying glossary themes :

Common words of traditional medias

Advertising Rates

General Terms and Conditions of Sales in media buying:

Document made by advertising departments in order to set conditions of sales of their ad spaces.

Gross price:

Price without any discounts.

Net rate (negotiated):

Negotiated price after discount.

Net net rate:

Negotiated rate with an additional media agency (as is the custom about 15%).


Agency discount or agency commission:

As an advertiser, buying media through media agency services makes you generally benefit 15% discount on your purchases.

New advertiser discount:

As a new advertiser on a media, the most common discount is about 5%.

Government campaigns, cultural and social causes:

Such kind of advertisements, or rather non-commercial use messages usually get 40% discount.

Quantity discount:

Price allowance for volume purchase at one time or within a specific period.

Time discount:

Price allowance for regularity and frequency of ad spaces within a publication.

Other words to know


Marketing or communication strategy involving several medias in order to make the campaign benefit from their synergy.

Editorial Calendar:

Projected schedule of a media displaying its future editorial topics and all the deadlines of the different productions.


Advertising spaces sold on preferential terms depending on the inventory’s availabilities.


All the ad spaces available for sale according to the required conditions (period of time, media type, etc).

Last minute:

Purchase of advertising spaces which are still available a short time before its circulation/display, therefore, low rates are offered.

Media Kit:

Document compiling all relevant information about a specific media. For instance, in a magazine’s media kit, some information is generally available such as the editorial calendar, the rate card, the circulation, the readership, etc.

Rate Card:

Advertisement price list and available ad placements.

Regional variation:

Commercial exclusively broadcasted in a specific region or area (radio, television, press).


Dimensions of the advertisement must be met. This is an important document for the creative designer in charge of the visual, in order to make it suitable for the publication.

Media buying’s lexical field in press

In France, ACPM (Alliance pour les Chiffres de la Presse et des Médias) :

French organization certifying the circulation and audience of magazines and newspapers.

L’ACPM/OJD guarantees the total numbers related to digital (websites, apps, online radios).

In USA and Europe, ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations):

Same as ACPM and OJD.


Print advertisement purposely intended to look like an article in a newspaper or a magazine.

Closing date or Close:

Deadline for ad space reservations and editorial contents.

Checking copy:

Printed copy of the issue sent to the advertiser (and its media agency if it has) including its ad in the issue. Therefore, the ad’s placement can be verified according to the contract. 


The final advertisement will be added to the publication.

Drop date:

Date of issue’s earliest readers


Number of times a publication is released in a specific time period (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.).


Inside Back Cover (third cover).


Inside Front Cover (second cover)


Press (or other medias) ad format displayed in a magazine or newspaper.

IO (Insertion Order):

Contractual agreement from an agency on behalf of the advertisers with details such as the payment expectation or the ad’s placement.

Paid circulation:

The average number of paid copies per issue (kiosks and subscriptions).

Press title:

Press production which can be a magazine, newspaper, etc.

Printed circulation:

The average number of printed copies distributed per issue, free or not.


The total number of reached people per issue = printed circulation x readers per copy.

Press advertising formats

Media buying’s lexical field for billboards

Billboard network:

The network offered by an advertising space company which has a set of mediums. 

Display or Face:

The medium used for displaying the commercial« This network has 30 displays, 12m² each. ». Some advertisers evaluate their campaign’s price-quality ratio according to the net rate per face (printing costs and municipal taxes excluded).

Flyposting or Wild posting:

Displaying posters in illegal spaces.


G.R.P (Gross Rating Point):

Performance indicator equal to the exposure frequency by a percent of the target market reached. For billboard ads, the GRP represents the number of exposures for 100 individuals facing a commercial, during a given period.

GRP calculation

Municipal tax:

Local tax for outdoor advertisement. Therefore, the amount changes according to the town where the campaign is set, its duration, its size, etc.

OTS (Opportunity To See):

Number of generated eye-contacts by an advertising network over a given period. This indicator determines the power of a network or a specific display.

Printing costs:

Costs relating to the printing of ad posters. Billboard ad companies are generally able to handle it on their own, nonetheless, some advertisers and agencies can also deliver the posters by themselves.

Billboard sizes in France:

  • Used display’s dimensions. Here are the most common sizes outdoor:
  • 2m² (120*176cm) – city center (for bus and tram stops)
  • 4m² (240*160cm)
  • 8m² (320*240cm)
  • 12m² (400*300cm) – suburban and main roads
  • Subway: 200*150cm
  • Bus side; 152*68 / 192*68 / 274*68
  • Bus back: (99*83cm)

Billboards advertising formats

Media buying’s lexical field for radio

In France:


Broadcasting costs.


Online broadcasting costs.

Radio checking:

Audio file proving that the advertising campaign was broadcasted.

Spots frequency:

The number of spot’s repetitions per day.

Spot radio:

The audio track of the promotional message broadcasted on radio.

Media buying’s lexical field for TV – Focus on Sponsorship

Ad Sponsorship:

The sponsoring is an advertising format specific to Television lasting from 6 to 12 seconds. The broadcast duration depends on the advertising agency which sells it, or on the sponsored TV program. A few examples in France: 12s with France TV, 8s on average with Next Régie, 6 to 8s with M6 Publicité).   

A TV show can have one, two or several sponsors. Most of the shows enable a double sponsoring, Certain broadly watched programs even combine 4 and more sponsors (Ex: The Voice).

Until 2017, the sponsorship was following strict regulations, indeed, nothing but the sponsor’s logo and a voice-over could be broadcasted.

Because of its short duration and the lack of information, this ad format was much cheaper than the regular spots which usually late from 15s to 1min, sometimes even longer for some events. 

Therefore, sponsorship is the most affordable way to advertise on TV.

In February 2017, this format got some more flexibility, letting advertisers displaying their products and services, and for a longer duration. As a result, these changes have boosted the demand (+30% in 2018) but the sponsorship’s rates either.


Spot’s name for sponsorship.


Spot broadcasted at the beginning of the tv program.


Spot broadcasted at the end of the tv program.

Rates Index:

Rates index tells the price of a TV spot of a non-standard duration according to the 30s spot’s base price. The rates are not proportional to their duration; therefore, indexes give the right price.

The media buying realm has thousands of specific business words and expressions, Therefore, the given vocabulary above only represents a few of them, but knowing them is necessary.

So, ready to negotiate?

Written by Yann Roger

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