Featuring The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History

The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, part of Duke University’s Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, holds an extensive collection of over 3,000,000 items — correspondence, publications, advertisements, photographs, slides, films, books and serials — that document the history and societal impact of advertising, sales, and marketing over the past two centuries. In addition to the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives, the most comprehensive historical record of any advertising agency, the Center contains the collections of other key companies and individuals in the fields of advertising, marketing and sales.

Special Projects at the Hartman Center
Ad*AccessAn image database of over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955.
Emergence of Advertising in AmericaA database of over 9,000 advertising items and publications (1850 – 1920), illustrating the rise of consumer culture, and the birth of a professionalized advertising industry.
Medicine and Madison AvenueA database of over 600 health-related advertisements printed between 1911 and 1958, as well as 35 selected historical documents relating to health-related advertising.
ROAD: Resource of Outdoor Advertising DescriptionsA database of over 50,000 descriptions of images of outdoor advertising dating from the 1920s through the 1990s, pulled from four outdoor advertising collections including the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). No images are available from this website.

NEA policy paper on Classical Music Listenership

A new NEA report, “Airing Questions of Access: Classical Music Radio Programming & Listening Trends” addresses access to classical radio. The report examines key classical radio characteristics, including trends in station counts and listening hours, as well as the finances of classical radio.

For several decades now, the distribution of classical music in the U.S. has been closely linked with public radio programming, whether through broadcasts of live concerts or studio recordings. A 2002 study found that most classical music listeners access the art primarily through radio, suggesting that the medium is critical to long-term audience development, particularly for live classical concerts. Yet the rise of news/talk radio formats since the mid-1990s has challenged classical music’s preeminence on public radio. This document offers a platform for extended research on the subject.

As a sector, classical music radio is dynamic and adaptive but in short supply of consistent, accurate data. The Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Census Bureau do not enumerate radio listeners or stations by format. Industry data sources can be irregular or even incorrect. Further complicating any analysis of classical radio are distinctions between commercial and public radio and the “dual format” of classical music and news so common at public stations.

Necessary Knowledge for a Democratic Public Sphere

Last March I had the privilege of attending a meeting in Washington DC to explore the formation of the Media and Communications Policy Data Consortium, an initiative of the Social Science Research Council to facilitate and expand access to a wide range of commercial and non-commercial data sets that frequently are used in media research, policymaking, and advocacy. The Data Consortium is part of a larger project of the SSRC entitled Necessary Knowledge for a Democratic Public Sphere whose ambitious goals are both idealistic and practical. Projects launched in 2006 include the establishment of a website (the Media Research Hub) for researchers and activists. The site will host a searchable, community-updated researcher index, online project brokering, a community-filtered resource database, a collaborative grants portal, a data consortium portal, and a conference alliance portal. (It is not quite launched yet but they’re getting close.) Additionally it will host a collaborative grants program and the Data Consortium to facilitate the sharing and evaluation of commercial data (both U.S. and international), obscure or neglected public data, and orphaned data sets.

Led by Joe Karaganis of SSRC, the Data Consortium meeting was comprised of folks from the Center for Public Integrity, Media Access Project, New America Foundation, Consumer Project on Technology, and the Future of Music Coalition, as well as a few academics–researchers, students, professors and a librarian. After agreeing on our purpose (that “public policy should be made with publicly available data”) we spent a long time discussing the requirements and benefits of consortium membership and our potential constituency–academic departments and schools, associations, research centers, think tanks, advocacy organizations, and libraries–and how to reach out to them.

The Data Consortium has just been booked for a June 24 presentation of its progress at the American Library Association in Washington DC. It should be one of the more interesting programs at the conference.

Those interested in learning more about the current state of the media data access landscape, the unevenness of the playing field and solutions for grading it, should contact Philip Napoli, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Business, Fordham University, for a copy of his soon to be published paper “Necessary Knowledge for Communications Policy: Information Inequalities and Commercial Data Access and Usage in the Policymaking Process (forthcoming, Federal Communications Law Journal).

ABSTRACT of Napoli paper:
Communications policymaking increasingly relies upon large-scale databases manufactured and marketed by commercial organizations. Data providers such as BIA Research, Nielsen Media Research, and Arbitron play a vital role in aggregating the data that policymakers, policy analysts, and policy advocates rely upon in policy deliberations. In many ways, these data providers supplement the limited data gathering capacity of government bodies such as the FCC and NTIA and thereby help to bring a greater quantity of relevant data to bear on policy issues than would otherwise be possible. Indeed, these data are utilized extensively by stakeholders with an interest in policy outcomes to conduct and submit studies that policymakers rely upon in their deliberations (often in lieu of conducting such research on their own).

One unfortunate byproduct of this situation, however, is that, to the increasing extent that the data relied upon in policymaking, policy analysis, and policy advocacy are provided by commercial organizations, substantial inequalities in access to these data inevitably arise. Specifically, significant actors in the policymaking process, such as academic researchers and public interest organizations, lack the financial resources of communications firms and industry associations to gain access to the data that are vital to conducting thorough, reliable, and persuasive policy research. Policymakers themselves often find their research objectives inhibited by the enormous expense associated with the relevant large-scale commercial datasets, and thus find themselves increasingly reliant upon the analyses conducted by those stakeholder groups with the resources necessary to gain access to such data. As a result of these information asymmetries, policy decision-making is likely to suffer, as the research inputs inevitably fail to reflect the full range of considerations across the full range of interested stakeholders. This article illustrates these issues via a case study of the FCC’s 2003 media ownership proceeding and offers suggestions for how the existing disparities in access to policy-relevant data might be addressed.

Television Station Ownership in the United States

AEJMC’s Journalism & Communication Monographs (Volume 8, Number 1, Spring 2006) features a broad analysis by Herbert H. Howard titled: Television Station Ownership in the United States: A Comprehensive Study (1940-2005).

Multiple-station, or group, ownership is a long established characteristic of broadcasting in the United States. It exists whenever a single organization owns more than one station or one medium. Through the efficiencies of operation of multiple outlets, or economies of scale, group media companies usually enjoy financial benefits that are not available to single medium operators. Thus, a long-term trend toward consolidation has prevailed throughout the history of the radio broadcasting industry. Television owners quickly adopted the practice, which has expanded steadily, as regulations have permitted ever since. The three forms of multiple ownership- Group ownership, Duopoly ownership and Cross-media ownership are analyzed in this study. Particularly, this study provides (1) a statistical-historical account of the development of multiple-station ownership in the TV industry from 1940 to 2005; and (2) a historical account and analysis of the government’s regulatory actions on media ownership during the same period. This study explores thus, the ownership consolidation and industry regulation that continue to be significant issues for the media industries with on-going implications.

Introducing The Center for Public Integrity’s Well Connected

The Center for Public Integrity has put together a useful set of resources on the website“Well Connected: Tracking the Broadcast, Cable & Telecommunications Industry” which describes itself as “an ongoing investigation…of the businesses that control the nation’s information pipelines and of their government overseers.” The project is funded by the Ford Foundation, with partial funding from the Open Society Institute.

Three Research Tools on the righthand site of the home page are worth checking out. As described in ResourceShelf:

Click on the In Your State link. On the righthand side of the next page is a dropdown menu inside a U.S. map. Choose your state and click “Go” to get a report. Which telecom companies are pulling the strings in your state government? Find out which telecommunications companies are spending the most on lobbying and campaign contributions. Learn about your public utility boards, where they are located and how to file a complaint. Also, view the personal financial disclosure statements of board members and learn how much they earn. Within this information you’ll find a link to a “Public Service Commission Disclosure Ranking Report Card,” which evaluates financial disclosure requirements for public service commission public utility board members in each state.

Use the MediaTracker search box to find out who owns the media outlets in your local area. Enter a zip code, a call sign, or a city/state combination. You’ll get detailed charts of all the radio and TV stations and major newspapers in your area. A multi-faceted search box at the top allows you to fine-tune your results — e.g., by geographic radius. Note that you can get detailed profiles of the owner companies by using the dropdown menu in the search box or clicking on the live links in the “owner” column at the far right of each chart

The InfluenceTracker — which covers broadcast radio/TV, cable/satellite TV and telephone companies — provides information on:
Campaign Contributions (from 1998 through September 2004).
Junkets — e.g., “industry-funded trips…by members of the House and Senate commerce committees and their staffs between January of 2000 and March of 2004.”
Lobbying — “amounts that companies, associations and unions spend on lobbying Congress and federal agencies as well as amounts paid to consultants hired to affect policy.”
Revolving Door — “The most comprehensive outline to date of the back-and-forth movement of people from government to industry.”

You can also read about the methodology used to gather and process all this information into “a 51,870-record database consisting of every radio and television station and cable television system in the United States.”

Movie industry numbers

Several times a year I get reference questions about box office statistics so I thought I’d share a website that I’ve just discovered called The Numbers. It’s at your fingertips more readily than the classic annuals: International Motion Picture Almanac (here in the ASC Library) or Art Murphy’s Box Office Register, 1982-1995, also at the ASC Library though no longer published, and more cut-to-the-chase than the movie industry paper of record Variety, or Variety.com (be sure to access it from the Penn library webpage for full subscriber access). The Numbers, subtitled: Box Office Data, Movie Stars, Idle Speculation, provides daily and weekend charts including archives of these that go back to 1980. There are all kinds of lists: all-time top 20 United States and worldwide grossing titles, biggest weekends, biggest days, widest opening weekends, highest grossing movies never to reach number one, biggest money losers, on and on. It even groups movies by over 100 genres so you can see financial figures for movies about animals gone bad, the beauty industry, courtroom dramas, funeral reunions, gay/lesbian themes, the Mafia, twins, etc. This from the site:
The Numbers was officially launched on October 17th, 1997
as a free resource for industry professionals and fans to track
business information on movies. Since its humble early beginnings,
with just 300 tracked movies, the site has grown to become the
largest freely available database of movie industry information
on the web. Nearly 10,000 movies and about 500,000 separate
pieces of information are now stored in the database, and The
Numbers continues its commitment to making this data available
to the widest possible audience.