Media Definitions

Revenue and Spending Types


Estimates are advertising, marketing or promotion figures based on complete, actual data for the year. Estimates are not considered volatile or subject to radical change. Borrell releases final estimates based on all 4 quarters of data at the beginning of the following year.


Projections are similar to estimates, but are based on partial-year data. They are more volatile than estimates, but less volatile than forecasts.  Borrell releases one quarterly projection for each year.


Forecasts are based on little or no actual data. Every forecast is based on a set of assumptions that are used to weight and proportion the estimates. Forecasts are therefore quite volatile and great care should be exercised when using them.

Addressable Market

Addressable Market is an estimate of the total amount of digital advertising "available" to all local media companies located in that market. It can also be seen as an estimate of the sum of what all media companies located in that market are making -- or should be making -- in digital advertising. It excludes advertising expenditures by local businesses that go directly to out-of-market internet pureplay companies such as Google, Facebook, Craigslist,, Yelp, Bing, and others.

METHODOLOGY: Estimates are calculated specifically and uniquely for each U.S. market. The principal source of information is our database of more than 10,500 individual media entities that shows how much they make in digital advertising across more than 500 individual markets. We collect this data on a continuous basis directly from media companies, or we estimate it based on other available data. In a typical market, our actual data includes entities that represent approximately two-thirds of the total market. We estimate the remaining third by applying our benchmarking data to the unaccounted-for companies.

Achievable Revenue

Achievable Revenue refers to the highest amount of ad revenue that any one local media company in that market could make.

METHODOLOGY: This estimate was calculated specifically and uniquely for each U.S. market by looking at our database of more than 10,500 individual media entities make in digital advertising. We sort each market to see who's getting the highest amount of revenue among the "known" entities in our database, and we calculate estimates from our benchmarking data (derived from the same database) to determine "unknown" revenue. We then compare the two to determine the highest amount achieved in that market. Finally, we adjust the number slightly upward to a) mask the actual revenue or b) comply with industry benchmarking in cases where the highest revenue achiever might be severely underperforming.

Revenue & Spending Direction

All Borrell Associates revenue and spending figures are based on where and to whom advertising and marketing expenditures are directed. These can be geographic locations, consumers or specific categories of business. Therefore, a single media company's revenue can be attributed to several media categories depending on the media services it offers.

Outside the Market

Outside the Market or "National" expenditures are any marketing expenditures directed toward the market, but originating from businesses that have no locations inside that market. This includes national advertisers as well as small advertisers that happen to be located outside the borders of a given market.

Inside the Market

Inside the market or "Local" expenditures are marketing expenditures directed toward the market being measured that originate from businesses that have a physical presence within that same market.

Geography Types

Borrell Associates can provide market data reports that cover any configuration of counties - even non-contiguous - that a client wishes to examine. Some typical geographic definitions:

TMA - Television Market Area

Television Market Areas (TMAs) are the areas for the cable must-carry/retransmission consent election. (47 CFR § 76.55) -  They are defined by the FCC as being equivalent to DMAs as defined by the DMA Market and Demographic Rank Report, by Nielsen Media Research. According to Nielsen, DMA is "generally a group of counties in which the commercial TV stations in the Metro/Central area achieve the largest audience share." This market definition scheme has come to be used for many marketing and research purposes. DMAs usually - but not always - consist of several whole contiguous counties. The term DMA is a registered trademark of Nielsen Media Research Inc.

CBSA - Core Based Statistical Area

A Core Based Statistical Area is the official term for a functional region around an urban center of at least 10,000 people, based on standards published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB.)  The term "CBSA" refers to both metropolitan statistical areas and newly-created micropolitan areas collectively. Micro areas are based around Census Bureau-defined urban clusters of at least 10,000 and fewer than 50,000 people.

CSA - Combined Statistical Area

If specified criteria are met, adjacent metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, in various combinations, become the components of a new set of areas called combined statistical areas (CSAs). Using Census Bureau data, the OMB compiles lists of CSAs. The combined areas retain their own designations as metropolitan or micropolitan statistical Note that CSAs represent multiple metropolitan or micropolitan areas that have a moderate degree of employment interchange. CSAs often represent regions with overlapping labor and media markets. The use of CSAs as a representation for a single metropolitan area is rarely appropriate within the larger combined statistical area. There are 126 CSAs defined by OMB as of December 2006.

DMR - Digital Marketing Region

Borrell Associates developed digital marketing regions based on a formula that identifies a core county where digital marketing expenditures to reach local consumers is high, then spans out to draw geographic boundaries where expenditures taper off or “hit a wall” from another market’s expenditures.

DM - Designated Market

A "Designated Market" is typically a selection of counties used to identify an area defined by an advertiser or media company for which the report is being produced.

Advertising Media Category Definitions


Advertising expenditures in any newspaper listed in "Editor & Publisher", including weekday, weekly and biweekly publications.

Subcategories include:

  • National Newspaper: Ads in nationally distributed newspapers and ads from national advertisers in local newspapers.
  • Local Newspaper: Ads in newspapers local to the market measured.
  • ROP (Run of Print): National or local display ads.
  • Classified: Local or national classifieds ads.
  • Preprints: Advertising inserts and circulars preprinted and inserted into the newspaper.

Other Print

Other Print includes ads in magazines, shoppers, penny savers, niche publications, etc. The category can be further defined as:

  • National: Ads in nationally distributed magazines and publications such as "Wired" or "Road & Track"
  • Local: Locally produced and distributed non-newspaper publications, including magazines, real estate guides, shoppers and niche publications.
  • Alternative/Business Publications: Advertising in less-than-daily community papers, alternative or business broadsheets, and tabloids.
  • Niche/Shopper: Ads in niche publications and shoppers, which include free classified real estate and automotive publications typically found at retail stores.
  • Magazines: Includes ads in glossy magazines that are either local or national in distribution.


Directories include both trade and consumer directories distributed within the market. Examples include: "Yellow Pages", "Gold Pages", "Green Pages", "Silver Pages", The Thompson Directory and others.

Network Television

  • National TV: Network TV ads, paid for and scheduled nationally.
  • Network: Ads placed directly with networks to run nationally adjacent to network programming.
  • Syndicated TV: Ads placed and paid for through syndicated programming.

Local TV Stations

Ads broadcast on any television platform. Subcategories include:

  • Local TV: Locally generated ads, paid for by advertisers within the market.
  • TV National Spot: National ads placed locally by the network.

Cable TV

Cable TV includes ads appearing on cable channels both local and national. Satellite TV is included in this category.

  • Local Cable: Locally generated ads, paid for by advertisers within the market.
  • Network Cable: National ads placed locally by the network.


Radio includes ads broadcast on any licensed radio station to the market measured, whether the station is within the market or not. Further defined as:

  • Local Radio: Ads placed locally.
  • Network Radio: Ads placed directly with radio networks that typically are run adjacent to nationally distributed radio programming.
    National Spot Radio: National ads placed locally by the network.


Out-of-Home includes any advertising viewed outside the home, such as billboards, public transportation, kiosks, electronic screens in grocery stores, and a growing variety of other platforms.


Formerly included in our Out-of-Home category, Cinema advertising includes ads that are shown in movie theaters prior to the movie as well as other theater-based advertising. Payments by studios to theaters for showing trailers ("coming attractions") are part of this category.

Direct Mail

Direct Mail includes advertising and promotional materials sent by mail to individual households or businesses. Further defined as:

  • Local: Locally produced and distributed direct mail.
  • National: Direct mail produced and distributed from outside the market measured.
  • Solo Mail: Direct mail products that promote one business or advertiser.
  • Marriage Mail: Direct mail products designed to accommodate multiple advertisers or businesses. Shoppers and coupon books sent in the mail fall into this category.


Online is defined as any online, software or computer-based or computer-generated advertising media. Subcategories include:

  • Display: Traditional Online advertising such as banners, listings (including classified ads), skyscrapers pop-ups, etc.
  • Static Display/ROS: Untargeted standard online advertising such as banners, listings (including classified ads), skyscrapers pop-ups, etc.
  • Targeted: Online display advertising targeted to specific users, using demographics, segmentation, or other means. Social network advertising is included here.
  • General Paid Search:  Advertising messages that can be found in a generalized, searchable database where placement advantage may be purchased (listings for trade associations on Google).
  • Listings Paid Search:  Ads for products or services of a specific nature, collected into a searchable database where placement advantage may be purchased (examples: listings on, listings on
  • E-mail: Paid advertisements directed to a list or targeted group of respondents via e-mail, including SPAM. This is the Online equivalent of direct mail.
  • Online Streaming Video: Streaming video advertising, including "pre-rolls" and "post-rolls," paid "infomercial"-type videos, flash-animations and voiceovers and OTT.
  • Online Streaming Audio: Streaming audio advertising, including voice "infomercial"-type ads, radio-type advertorial broadcasts and voiceovers.


Telemarketing is defined direct telephone solicitations to consumers and businesses from within or outside the market measured.

"Non-Advertising" Marketing Categories

There is much more to marketing than advertising. Additional "non-advertising" expenses make up the bulk of marketing spending for many businesses. 

Promotions & Online Promotions

Promotions are a tactical tool used by product and brand managers with the primary goal of increasing short-term sales. It is said that advertising causes people to want to buy, and promotions cause people to want to buy now. This is an amorphous category that includes coupons, point of sale, samples, promotional materials and games. However, the biggest part of promotions involves cash - discounts, coupons, loyalty, etc. 

  • Coupons: Discount documents for specific goods or services, these are typically printed.
  • Point of Sale: Includes costs of marketing at the point or area where the user is purchasing the item or services.
  • Samples: Free or discounted goods or services dispensed to a specific geographic or sociographic group.
  • Specialty Printing: Includes advertorial programs, magazines, newspapers, videos or other media produced for the sole purpose of advertising or promoting a product or service.
  • Licenses: Fees paid for marketing efforts coordinated with and tied to an event or entertainment.
  • Games/Sweeps/Contests: Games, contests or lotteries created to promote the goods or services of the sponsoring entity.
  • Sponsorships: Promotional funding of content or events.
  • Loyalty: Promotions designed to retain and strengthen relationships between businesses and their customers.
  • Event Marketing: Includes costs associated with conventions, conferences, promotional events, booths, etc.
  • Discounts: Discounts, rebates, or concessions not offered in conjunction with coupons. Includes SPIFFS, rebates and incentives used to entice the user to purchase at the store or point of purchase.
  • Promotions Products: Products developed and designed for the purpose of promoting a business or service.  Usually logo based items like pens, stress balls, stationary, etc.

Online Promotions: Online promotions is a subset of promotions. Please note that some different terminology is used to be more specific for online.  

  • Coupons: Electronic discount documents for specific goods or services. These can also be codes used during an online checkout.
  • Samples: Free or discounted goods or services dispensed to a specific geographic or sociographic group. This can also include a sample shipped with a purchase (noting what samples will ship with your order based on your selection). 14-day program trials are also included here.
  • Online White Paper Marketing: Reports issued to explain products or issues, resulting in leads or list addresses.
  • Licenses: Fees paid for marketing efforts coordinated with and tied to an event or entertainment.
  • Games/Sweeps/Contests: Games, contests or lotteries created to promote the goods or services of the sponsoring entity.
  • Sponsorships: Promotional funding of content or events.
  • Online Proximity Marketing: The use of GPS or prospect input to market goods or services according to physical proximity -- the online decendent of Point-of-Sale (POS).
  • Loyalty: Promotions designed to retain and strengthen relationships between businesses and their customers.
  • Online Event Management: The management and marketing of online events -- conferences, trade shows, and webinars. 
  • Discounts: Discounts, rebates, or concessions not offered in conjunction with coupons. Includes incentives to purchase a specific amount for a percentage off.

Ad Production

Ad Production covers expenditures to produce advertising, marketing materials or programming. It includes agency fees, photography, graphic design, video and film services, studio and equipment rentals, mailing list costs and fees for writers, artists, actors, designers and technicians. 

Sales Force Materials

These are expenditures associated with training salespeople to sell or market products and services by providing them with supporting materials and literature, and developing sales leads. Product brochures, price lists, and computerized presentations are included here.

Public Relations

This category of expenditures is associated with the placement of press releases, product announcements, interviews, and statements concerning a company, a product or a service in national or local media.

Market Research

Market Research helps businesses find the best ways to spend their marketing budgets or capture ad revenue. It includes the external cost of performing primary or secondary qualitative or quantitative market research, including the acquisition of systems, data bases and reference texts.