MEDIA MAVEN: MEDIA RESEARCH AS A PROFIT CENTER SHOWS SHIFT IN INDUSTRY THINKING: STEVE STERNBERG

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For a number-cruncher, Steve Sternberg has become quite the media star.

Not only are his media research reports among the most sought-after in the industry, the 41-year-old senior partner-media resources at Bozell Worldwide, New York, is one of the most widely quoted figures in the advertising business.

ETHNIC VIEWING TRENDS

From The New York Times to Entertainment Weekly, Mr. Sternberg's analysis of everything from African-American viewing trends to fall TV show prospects are must-reads for agency and media executives alike.

It was not always so.

"This business has changed a lot over the last 10 to 15 years," he explains. "When I started out research was a backroom, low-profile operation."

However, the need for accurate, up-to-date research has brought people like Mr. Sternberg to the forefront-and added a great deal to agency bottom lines.

For instance, the agency's "Cable Reach and Frequency Report," first issued five years ago and then updated for release in July, was "bought by almost all the major cable networks. I am not aware of another product that an agency developed that was purchased by so much of the industry," he claims.

"When media research becomes a profit center, you know this business is changing."

20 REPORTS A YEAR

BJK&E issues 15 to 20 major reports every year, and Mr. Sternberg's imprimatur can be found on all of them. He is currently at work on the company's annual sports report, a 100 page-plus effort that covers a wide range of televised sports activities with in-depth detail.

Mr. Sternberg began his career in 1979, signing on as a network research analyst at Ted Bates & Co. A few years later, he moved to McCann-Erickson Worldwide and was eventually hired by Bozell in 1986 as manager of broadcast research.

He describes his current job as "analyzing programming and writing reports on TV and research."

TIME WITH PLANNERS

He also works closely with buyers and planners, develops proprietary computer programs and gets involved in new business presentations.

"What I do changes so much from day to day," he notes.

Sari DeCesare, VP-audience measurement for NBC-TV, has followed Mr. Sternberg's career over the years, and even briefly crossed paths with him at Bates in 1982.

She points out that he "stays on top of industry trends and gives them

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