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Arbitron Report

Outdoor Media Plays Critical Role in Media Mix New Arbitron Study Reveals

NEW YORK, N.Y.-  Whether targeted to pedestrians or vehicle drivers/passengers, outdoor media have the power to reach today's mobile consumers, according to a new outdoor media consumer study conducted by Arbitron Inc. Particularly, outdoor media can play a critical role in a media plan by reaching consumers who are not exposed to either newspaper or local television news. The study also underscored outdoor media's compatibility with radio, which also has the ability to reach people out-of-home, close to the point of purchase. Indeed, these two media classes move in lockstep with each other; the greater the time spent with outdoor media, the greater the time spent with radio.

The Arbitron Outdoor Study was designed to examine the media habits of America's pedestrians, vehicle drivers and passengers, and commuters. To conduct the study, Arbitron surveyed 2003 consumers aged 18 and older by phone.

Among the study's findings are that Americans are more mobile than ever. For instance, Americans reported traveling an average of 302 miles in a vehicle in the past seven days. Not surprisingly, much of this travel is devoted to going to and from work, with the average daily, round-trip commute clocking in at 54 minutes. Pedestrian traffic has also stepped up across the country with eight out of ten Americans reporting that they have walked in any town, city or downtown in the past seven days.

With so much motion in the marketplace, the study quickly revealed the power of out-of-home media to reach America's increasingly elusive consumers. According to the study, media that target vehicle drivers/passengers reach 96 percent of Americans weekly and outdoor media that target pedestrian traffic reach 79 percent weekly. These findings are especially important because of the inverse correlation between time spent traveling and exposure to other local media. According to the study, heavy commuters spend 19 percent less time reading newspapers and are less likely to be reached by local TV newscasts, especially the local evening news.

In addition, three new consumer groups emerged from the study: Mega-Milers (29 percent of consumers who represent 77 percent of all miles traveled by vehicle), Power- Pedestrians (the 21 percent of Americans who generate 83 percent of all miles walked) and Super-Commuters (the 24 percent of Americans who spend nearly two hours a day getting to and from work). Mega-Milers and Super-Commuters tend to be upscale, educated and more likely to be married with children than the national average. Power-Pedestrians, on the other hand, tend to be younger, single and from each end of the income spectrum.

"The emergence of these groups confirms that outdoor media not only have significant reach, but they also can generate extremely significant frequency of exposure among heavy commuters and vehicle drivers/passengers," notes Nancy Fletcher, president, Outdoor Advertising Association of America. "We're delighted that Arbitron has developed this insightful and valuable study, which will help marketers to better understand the full capabilities of the outdoor medium."

Another important finding of the study is that over one-third of Americans shop near work. Among those who work full-time, 62 percent say they shop closer to home and 35 percent indicate they shop equally near home/work or shop most at work. "This indicates that advertisers cannot just target consumers who live near their retail locations; they must also consider the sizable group of consumers who shop near work when constructing their media plans," says Jacqueline Noel, director, sales and marketing, Arbitron Outdoor. "By examining the results of the study, marketers can identify out-of-home media that have the ability reach the working crowd, as well as gain important insight into outdoor advertising's role in the overall media mix."