To make your advertising experience a little easier, we have provided a glossary of common industry terms. Simply click on any word below to get its definition.

Glossary BG

Access Channels

Channels set aside by the cable operator for use by the public, educational institutions, municipal government, or for lease on a non-discriminatory basis.

Accounts Receivable

AR - Accounts Receivable, the group within Cox Media that facilitates billing and collections from clients.

Ad Supported

TV network that makes available a certain amount of time per hour for commercials.


A commercial or program that immediately follows or precedes another on the same TV channel.

Advanced Television (ATV)

The FCC's name for Digital Television (DTV).

Advertising Weight

A measure of advertising delivery, normally stated in terms of number of commercials, homes reached, target audience impressions, and/or gross rating points.

Advertising Zone

A specific geographic area, within a cable TV system's foot print, that receives different commercial feeds from other geographic areas within the same foot print. Allows an advertiser to pinpoint their message geographically and reduce waste.


A notarized statement that confirms a TV commercial actually ran at the time shown on the invoice.

Alternate Delivery Systems (ADS)

TV homes with satellite are referred to as having Alternate Delivery Systems.

Audience Composition

The distribution of a network or program's audience by demographic group.

Audience Duplication

The extent to which the audience of one network is exposed to that of another.


A single commercial space within scheduled network programming allotted for insertion of local advertising.

Back Channel

A means of communication from users to content providers. As content providers are transmitting interactive television digitally to users, users can connect through a back channel to a website. It can be used to provide feedback, purchase goods and services, etc.


The exchange of quantities of commercial time for merchandise or services.

Basic Cable

Channels received by cable subscribers on the basic service tier, usually supported by advertising.


A brief announcement, usually 3, 5 or 10 seconds in length, and usually earned by advertisers paying extra for the program being ordered. Billboards are afforded, in most instances, at the top and bottom (beginning and end) of the show. The product and/or sponsor's name is mentioned in a statement such as "the following portion of (program) is being brought to you by (sponsor)"Also, called OPEN when used at the top of a show, and CLOSE when used at the bottom of a show.


A particular programming service that may not be available in certain areas of the country, usually because of contractual agreements with sport leauges or teams.

Brand Development Index (BDI)

A measure of the relationship of a specific brand's sales to population in a specific geographic area. The BDI is derived by dividing an area's percent of total U.S. sales by that area's percent of population.

Broadband Services

High-speed cable Internet, digital cable and digital phone services received through a single pipeline.

Cable Original

A program that is originally produced and premiered by a cable network.

Cable Penetration

Percentage of TV households within a given geographic area that subscribe to cable.

Cable Television (Cable TV or CATV)

A television distribution system whereby TV signals are transmitted via cable (insulated wire).


A specific advertising effort on behalf of a particular product or service which extends for a specified period of time.

Campaign Fulfillment Center

The Campaign Fulfillment Center (CFC) is the Cox Media entity housing Traffic, Encoding, Accounts Receivable and other Operations-driven departments in one all-inclusive location. This unique center is instrumental in fulfilling client spot placements and scheduling needs.

Category Development Index (CDI)

A measure of the relationship of a specific category's sales to population in a specific geographic area. The CDI is derived by dividing an area's percent of total U.S. sales by that area's percent of population. Comparing BDI and CDI can be helpful in gauging brand or category potential.


Ratings/audience expressed within the wired cable univerese.

Click Through Rate

Click-through rate or CTR is a way of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign. A CTR is obtained by dividing the number of users who clicked on an ad on a web page by the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions).


Gauge used to measure amount or percentage of dedicated advertising space within media content.

Commercial Ratings

Nielsen Media Research term for ratings reported as live plus three-days of timeshifted viewing. Reported on a national basis only (also known as C3 Ratings).


A commercial is a television content produced and paid for by an organization or advertiser that conveys a message. Advertisement revenue provides a significant portion of the funding for most privately owned television networks.


A statement (verbal or written) given to advertising agencies by an advertising vendor when accepting an order for a commercial and/or media schedule.


Scheduling advertising consistently over a period of time without interruption in order to build or maintain advertising awareness and recall.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM)

The cost of reaching 1,000 homes or individuals with a specific advertising message. CPM is a standard advertising measure to compare the relative cost efficiency of different media.

Cost-Per-Rating Point (CPP)

Used by most media planners in developing and allocating market budgets and setting rating point goals. It is defined as the cost of reaching one percent of the target audience within a specified geographic area.


The percentage of homes or persons able to receive a media within a specific geographic area. This number refers to the ability to receive, not actual media consumption.


A cash deduction for the loss of advertising time when a commercial is pre-empted or is improperly scheduled.

Cumulative Audience (CUME)

Non-duplicated audience expressed as a percentage of a given universe. A household or person is counted once no matter how many times the telecast has been viewed. This also is known as reach, net unduplicated audience, or net reach.


The time segments that divide the TV day for ad scheduling purposes. These segments generally reflect a network's programming patterns. Comparison of audience estimates between dayparts may indicate differences in size and composition of available audience. While dayparts may vary by market, the most common dayparts are early morning, daytime, early fringe, early news, prime access, primetime, late news, late fringe and overnight.


Audience composition based on various characteristics such as age, sex, income, education, household size, occupation, etc.

Designated Market Area (DMA)

Represents an exclusive geographic area of counties in which the home market stations are estimated to have the largest quarter-hour audience share (as defined by Nielsen).

Digital Television (DTV)

Generic term that refers to all digital television formats, including high-definition television (HDTV) and standard-definition television (SDTV).

Digital Versatile Disk (DVD)

DVD, which once stood for Digital Video Disk or Digital Versatile Disk, is the next generation of optical disk storage technology. DVD holds a minimum of 4.7GB (gigabytes) of information on one of its two sides, or enough for a 133-minute movie. With two layers on each of its two sides, it will hold up to 17 gigabytes of video, audio, or other information.

Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

Refers to "digital video recorder," also known as "personal video recorder." A DVR or PVR records broadcasts on a hard disk drive which can then be played back at a later time (this is known as "time shifting"). A DVR often enables smart programming, in which the device records an entire series or programming defined by keywords, genre, or personnel; and offers pause control over "live" broadcasts.

Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS)

A television technology that delivers signals directly from a satellite to a home through the use of a small (usually 18") dish.

Direct Response

Advertising that seeks direct and prompt response from the viewer by means of exhibiting telephone numbers, box numbers, or other means of getting the viewer to order or inquire about objects shown.


A difference between station billing and the original order; requires a discussion between the buyer and the seller before the invoice is paid.


The transfer of data from one computer to another. When computers connect, trading partners can conduct business transactions electronically. E-Business is a more efficient procedure for processing spot TV buys electronically.


The relationship of media cost to audience delivery.


The act of taking physical media and converting it into a digital file.

Equal Time

The FCC's Equal Opportunities Rule (part of Section 315 of the Communications Act) states that if a broadcast station or cable system gives or sells time to one candidate for public office, it must offer equivalent time to other candidates. News shows are exempt.


A person's physical contact with an advertising medium or message. It can be in a visual and/or an audio form.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

An independent United States government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions.


A scheduling tactic that alternates periods of advertising with periods of no activity.

Fragmentation (Audience)

The increasing number of audience subdivisions which, together, constitute total TV usage. Television audiences are said to be fragmented, for example, across a broad spectrum of video sources: multiple broadcast networks, cable networks, syndicated programs, DBS services, VCR and video game usage, Internet usage, etc.


The average number of times an accumulated audience has the opportunity to be exposed to advertisements, a particular program, or program schedule, within a measured period of time.


The process of moving an approved order to a contract.

Geographic Targeting (Geo-Targeting)

The process of identifying a brand's geographic area of opportunity, or the markets (DMAs) in which advertising is most likely to produce sales. Geographic targeting combines demographic and sales data to reach high-potential customers.

Gross Impressions

Total number of exposures to an advertising schedule.

Gross Rating Points (GRPs)

The sum of individual telecast ratings on a total program basis or advertiser commercial schedule, without regard to duplication. For example, 10 announcements each with a 10 rating would produce a total of 100 GRPs.


Period in a campaign when an advertiser's schedule is suspended for a short period of time, after which the schedule resumes.

High Definition Television (HDTV)

Various technical systems providing a finer and wider TV picture and usually twice as many scanning lines as standard TV. Provides the highest quality picture and sound simultaneously with a substantial data delivery service.

Household (HH) Meter

An electronic device installed by the Nielsen TV ratings service that is connected to all TV sets in a home to record tuning activity.

Households Using Television (HUT)

The percentage of all television households with one or more sets in use during a specific time period. As an example, a 60 HUT during primetime means 60% of households within the market were using their TV sets during the daypart.


Number of exposures to an advertisement or group of advertisements, also referred to as "thousands."


Commercial avails that fall within the program content rather that during transition breaks from one program to the other.


A television commercial that is similar in appearance to a news program or talk show format, usually 30-minutes in length.

Interactive Advertising

An in-programming graphic overlay that appears on your traditional 30-second commercial. This solution enables viewers to interact with your brand with the click of their digital cable remote.


Two or more cable systems distributing a commercial signal simultaneously. An interconnect offers a multiple system buy in which only one contract need be negotiated. Interconnects can be hard, where systems are directly linked by cable, microwave relays or by satellite, and the signal is fed to the entire Interconnect by one head-end; or soft, where there is no direct operational connection between the participating systems.


Stands for Indian Script Code for Information Interchange which is a unique identifying number assigned to a specific spot.


A program that immediately precedes another program on the same network.


A program that immediately follows another program.


At the Cox Media's Campaign Fulfillment Center, a role within the Encoding team that manages the logging of all incoming media, either physical or electronic, and maintains the encoding queue.

Live Plus Ratings

Nielsen Media Research term for live ratings plus seven-day DVR playback activity.

Live Plus Same Day Ratings

Nielsen Media Research term for live ratings plus DVR playback activity until 3:00 am of the same day.

Live Ratings

Nielsen Media Research term for ratings reported as strictly live with no time-shifted viewing.

Local Spot

The advertising purchased in a market and aimed only at the audience in that market. Also see Spot Television.

Long-form Advertising

Normally 30-minute infomercials. These advertisements can include more developed forms of interactivity.

Media Mix

The distribution of message and budget allocated among TV, radio, print, online, and other forms of advertising that make up the total advertising plan of an advertiser.

Metro Area

The counties that comprise each Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area as defined by the US Government.

Mobile Marketing

Advertising content on a mobile device, such as a cell phone. Text message advertising (SMS) is a popular form of mobile marketing.


Programming designed to reach a specific group defined by demographics and/or program content.

National Spot

A form of TV advertising in which national advertisers, through their agency or buying service, select their target markets and stations to fit their marketing needs. The TV seller usually has a contract with a rep firm to represent it to ad agencies.

Nielsen Media Research (NMR)

A research firm involved in local and national measurement of TV audiences (ratings); also involved in other research services.


Express permission by a customer, or a recipient of mail, email, or other direct message to allow a marketer to send information or more messages. After the opt in, the marketer can continue sending the material or messages until the recipient chooses to opt out.


Term used for a method of media planning using computer programs that develop the optimum media mix to spend advertising dollars most effectively. These media modeling systems allocate using media audience and cost data for all measured media vehicles plus the brand's requirements in terms of budget, target audience, reach & frequency goals and other factors. Television optimizers identify the combination of programs, dayparts and stations that will optimize reach at the lowest cost.


A scheduling method in which the advertiser's commercials are rotated among different programs and/or time periods; this may also be called a rotation.


A combination of commercial units offered as a group to an advertiser. A package is generally priced more attractively than the collective costs for each commercial unit. A package may also be called a rotation or scatter plan.

Pay Television (Pay TV)

Home television programming for which the viewer pays for access to the individual network and content; also called pay-television, subscription television (STV), or toll-TV. An example would be HBO.

Pay-Per-View TV (PPV)

A system in which payment is made for a single showing of a program. Sporting events and movies are the types of programs available by PPV.

Personal Video Recorder (PVR)

PVRs are digital devices that use a hard drive instead of videotape as the recording medium. PVRs blend the features of a VCR with the programmability and storage of a computer. Also known as a DVR.

Persons Using Television (PUT)

The total number of people within a demographic who are watching television for five minutes or longer during an average quarter-hour. PUT is generally expressed as a percentage.


The back-to-back scheduling of two or more brand commercials of one advertiser in network or spot positions.


A group of commercials, promos or announcements contained in a television program break.

Post Buy Analysis

An analysis of schedule performance after it runs; offers a means of comparing actual to estimated performance of an ad schedule.


An omission of an announcement from a previously confirmed broadcast schedule; the advertiser is either offered a make-good or takes a credit.


The name of an online video commercial that appears prior to an online video, it is typically :10 - :15 seconds in length. Pre-roll looks the most like traditional TV commercials.


Audience analysis on the basis of psychological factors such as lifestyles, values, and interests and how they affect purchase behavior.


Local or national data survey data used to analyze demographics, media usage, purchasing behavior and lifestyles. An example would be Scarborough research.


Local or national data used to "quantify" an audience -- indicate the size, gender or age. An example would be Nielsen data.


A percentage of total households or population who are tuned to a particular program or station at a specific time. For example, a 6.0 rating for women 18-49 means 6% of all women 18-49 in the defined geographic area were viewing that station or program.

Rating Point

A value equal to one percent of a population or universe.


The number of unduplicated households or people exposed to a program, group of programs, or an advertiser's schedule over a specific time period.

Road Blocking

The scheduling of a brand's commercial at approximately the same time on all TV networks in a given market.


Scheduling of advertising in the same program or time period on different days each week (horizontal rotation) or throughout a particular day (vertical rotation) in order to increase advertising exposure to different prospects.

Run-Of-Schedule (ROS)

Scheduling of commercials to fall anywhere within a very broad daypart, usually Mon-Sun 6am-12am.


The concentration of a heavy amount of advertising in a short period of time in order to attain maximum impact.


A listing of the time of day and dates an advertiser's commercials are planned to run.


The percent of households or persons using television who are tuned to a specific program or network at a specific time. For example, if Discovery Channel has a 5 share in Men 18-49 at 6pm means that 5% of all Men 18-49 watching TV at 6pm were tuned to the Discovery Channel.

Short Message Service (SMS)

Text messaging on a mobile device.


The purchase of all or part of a television program or network by one advertiser.

Spot TV or Spot Cable

Television purchases made at the individual market level, as opposed to a nationwide television buy.


SpotXPress is Cox Media's "tapeless" delivery system that allows our clients to deliver their spots in a digital format, via the Internet, directly to our encoding systems. It is fast, easy and a more efficient, cost effective and "green" solution to deliver spots.

Standard Advertising Calendar

This standard advertising calendar, created in the 1960s, is designed to conform to the uniform billing period adopted by TV sellers, agencies and advertisers for billing and planning functions. Under this system, the standard week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday. The standard advertising billing month always ends on the last Sunday of the calendar month.

Standard Definition Television (SDTV)

An alternative method of operation for digital television and offers the opportunity to transmit two to eight standard quality programs in place of but in the same channel as that used for HDTV. By employing higher compression ratios, more programs may be transmitted.


Refers to a television program aired five days a week, primarily Monday through Friday.


Period of time in which local markets are measured simultaneously by Nielsen to obtain demographic data. Markets measured by diaries or meter/diary combinations have one sweep period per quarter (Feb, May, July, Nov). Markets measured by Local People Meters have continuous demographic measurement, therefore eliminating the needs for "sweep periods".

Syndicated Program

A program that is produced for national distribution and programmed on a local TV station. These programs may be sponsored either locally or nationally.

Target Audience

The audience most desired by advertisers in terms of potential to purchase the product or service.

Television Households

An estimate of the number of households that have one or more television sets.

Text Message

A common term for SMS, text messages are short messages of 160 characters or less that are sent between mobile devices.


Electronic cues sent by satellite from the networks to the local ad insertion systems to "insert" local advertising.

Total Survey Area (TSA)

A geographic area term; includes metro area and any additional counties where a statistically significant amount of viewing can be attributed to stations originating in the metro area. These outlying counties may well be a part of an adjacent metro area or DMA.


Top Programming for Top Clients, this is programming in our markets reserved for special clients only.

Traffic Instructions

Specific instructions from the client, agency or market that include spot details such as name, rotation, schedule, delivery method, estimate number, client name, market and network exclusions


Individuals that are counted only once in viewership; often called unduplicated reach or cume.

Unique Impression

An advertisement's appearance on an accessed Web page. For example, if the page you're on shows three ads, that's three impressions. Advertisers use impressions to measure the number of views their ads receive, and publishers often sell ad space according to impressions.

Universe Estimate (UE)

Reflects the estimated number of households or people within a specified geography. For local advertising purposes, Nielsen publishes a variety of UEs that are used to define the size and scope of individual DMAs and Interconnects.


Period of time in which the TV networks secure purchase committments from national advertisers. It usually occurs in the spring after the new fall schedules have been announced. The commercial time not sold in the upfront is sold later in the season, also known as "scatter".

Video On Demand

Allows television programs, video content and movies to be accessed by the viewer at any time.

Wraparound Commercial

A commercial with noncommercial material wrapped around it, such as a trivia sports question at the beginning and the answer at the end; sometimes called an "insert".


Targeting specific geographic areas by placing commercials within pre-defined cable TV zones that align with the business location or objectives of an advertiser.