Getting on the same measurement page

February 11, 2009 by Dave Haynes

From a press release this week about a media commitment to a network that has screens on golf carts on golf courses …

ProLink Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ProLink Holdings Corp. (OTC BB: PLKH) and the world’s leading provider of Global Positioning Satellite (“GPS”) golf course management systems and digital out-of-home on-course advertising, today announced that Active International, the global leader in corporate trade and one of the world’s largest media specialists, has entered into an agreement with ProLink to purchase up to $3 million of net advertising on the ProLink Network through January 31, 2010. The Company expects to begin recognizing revenue under the agreement commencing during the first quarter.

Active International, which places more than $1 billion in media annually, will offer its clients advertising on the ProLink Network, which annually reaches more than 13 million golfers at approximately 400 courses across the U.S. 

First, great to see money committed to the sector, even if the commitment seems pretty squishy.

However, the numbers here are the sort of thing that makes media planners shake their heads in dismay and frustration, and they just add to the pile of reasons this industry needs to get on OVAB’s, or somebody’s, measurement page.

With help and considerable insight from an industry friend, consider the following:

This PR suggests the reach for this network is 13 million golfers. Reach in media terms is an unduplicated number, so you can’t count the same golfer twice or more. That means if this is true reach each of these golf courses must have 32,500 members, which means they are sending out seventy-eight-somes on Saturdays. 

I don’t want to be a member at one of those courses …

What they likely mean is impressions, or sets of duplicated eyeballs. So if we assume the average golfer gets in 20 rounds a year (I got in three, woohoo!), that means 13,000,000 divided by 20 equals 650,000 unique golfers. That works out to about 1,600 members at an average club, which seems about right.

So, the first OVAB requirements are presence and notice, and we’ll assume almost all the golfers look at the screens because the GPS locator is built into said screen. So what ProLink has really got is a network that reaches 650,000 golfers several times a year, or a network that delivers more than 13,000.000 ad impressions a year.

But it doesn’t, at least I don’t think, reach 13,000,000 golfers.

And this is not a hair-splitting exercises, as the people planning media want to really know how many people they are actually reaching with their media spend. If the numbers are fuzzy and contradictory, as it is through much of our industry (hence the guidelines), we’re not going to see budgets reliably allocated. 

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