Friday, January 19, 2007

How much does Guardian advertising cost?

The failure of the Government to answer written questions is, as everyone knows, an annoyance of mine. What confuses this situation for me is when an MP is clearly going from department to department asking the same question and yet appears to receive answers from some, and excuses from others. This week I'm thinking of Tory MP, Oliver Heald, who has been trying to find out how much departments spend on advertising in the Guardian.

For example, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport spent just short of £39,000 last year on Guardian advertising, whilst the House of Commons Commmission manage to throw £84,951 in there direction. The Welsh Office even got in on the action, spending just over £3,500. Yet when the question was asked to the Department of Transport the answer back was slightly different (and yet predicatable).
Gillian Merron: : The Department did not use The Guardian in fiscal year 2005-06 for advertising in support of our THINK! road safety or Continuous Registration campaigns.

The Guardian has been used for recruitment advertising. Details, however, are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Not held centrally? How can you know that you've used the Guardian for recruitment advertising; know that you must have paid for it out of a budget; and yet not know how much you actually spent? What's more, how come other departments answer the question quickly and easily? I dread to think what the figure is, but I have a feeling it's rather high, and that's the real reason it's not been answered.

1 comment:

Chris Paul said...

Labour should not be giving anything to the Trots at the Guardian who are boosting liberal and eco parties and encouraging the urban intelligensia to be revolting and not support the workers party.

From 1985 to 1990 I used to buy a hell of a lot of recruitment advertising from the Guardian Group on behalf of a local authority. Between that and their regional title it probably reached £0.7M a year at the peak of civic job advertising before the cuts really kicked in. We spent the same again on professional journals, what we called "special press", and local adverts and our own bulletins.

£39,000 does not sound like a huge amount of space even at 1990 prices. 42 cm print depth by 9 columns means 378 column centres per page. If this costs £40 pccm and HMG place their own and get an agency discount of 20% they would be paying £32 x 378 = £12096 per page.

Three and a quarter pages say for DCMS. Spread over 52 weeks this is little more than 1/16th of a page per week or for instance an average of one 3 x 8cm block each week.

A typical blue chip public sector advert would be at least two and possibly as much as five times this size meaning such a budget stretches to just one or two block adverts per month.

The Welsh Office figure is perhaps three or four adverts over the year.

These estimates were provided free and gratis for the benefit of Oliver Heald MP, Dizzy and the dear readership. At no cost whatsoever to the tax payer. Mr Heald could have carried out some similar calculations on the back of an envelope or got an unpaid intern (hat tip Parbury Politica) to do them.

Or Oli could have asked The Times advertising staff who will I think have a pretty good idea what such figures represent in their rivals pages.

My employers used other national papers from time to time when the price was right (or even zero) or for certain posts. But the response for such public sector adverts was considered far better in every way from the Guardian.

Not sure this is the greatest example yet of secrecy or waste.