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Media buyer: job description

Media buyer: job description

Media buyers negotiate the price of and purchase television and radio air time, and advertising space within newspapers, magazines and other print publications.
Media buyers need to be able to take in and fully understand large amounts of information.

What does a media buyer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • negotiating the best price, quality and placement of advertisements
  • keeping up to date with fluctuations in popularity ratings and developments in the industry
  • maintaining good relationships with media sales staff
  • securing the best airtime slots
  • managing media bookings

Advertising costs are rarely constant, particularly for television broadcasts where prices are related to viewing figures.

Typical employers of media buyers

Some advertising agencies operate graduate recruitment schemes (contact your careers service for details). A small number of agencies offer vacation placements. There are also student programmes launched by the IPA; for example, AdMission provides a ten week paid placement for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) graduates and final year students.

Publications that advertise vacancies include national newspapers, Campaign, The Drum, Marketing, Media Week, Marketing Week and their respective websites. Many posts are never advertised, so speculative applications are essential – Advertisers Annual and BRAD Advertiser may be useful for these.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into media buying for both university graduates and school leavers.

Any degree discipline is acceptable, although journalism, psychology, business studies, public relations, media studies, marketing or management qualifications can be particularly helpful.

A good appreciation of what working within advertising involves is helpful, making relevant paid or voluntary work experience desirable.

To find out how to get into a career in this area via a school leaver route, visit the media and business sections of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for media buyers

  • Confidence
  • Working well under pressure
  • Good numerical and data management skills
  • Effective organisational abilities
  • Good verbal communication skills
  • Ability to quickly assimilate large amounts of information
  • Decisiveness
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