Census Finale

I’m going to finish my explainers about how to use the Economic Census with this mild regret: I don’t know how to extract images from PDF files and paste them into this posting. So to make sense of this note, please print out Table 3 from the report on NAIC 518 (Internet Search Providers, Web Search Portals and Data Processing Providers, link here.)

( If you are an Economic Census newbie, take a look at the Media is Manufacturing post. For those in businesses other than media, I hope you can extrapolate from these explainers to find and use the Census data apropos of your field.)

I am focusing on Table 3 here because Census Analyst Paul Zeisset suggested it was a useful way to analyze whether your firm is on, above, or below par in realizing revenues from various product lines applicable to your sector. Thanks also to Census analyst Michael Hartz who helped me understand the table.

The top line gives the broadest slice: all 18,642 establishments. Reading across the top row you see Product Line Receipts ($79,212,494). All of the numbers below in that column add up to this $79 billion total. This means that the all the establishments together amassed $79 billion from all the product offerings listed below. The final row, response coverage (percent), shows that 48.1 percent of the 18,642 establishments answered the highly detailed questionnaire that yielded the results in Table 3.

Now look down under the 2002 Product Line Code, for product line 32720: Sale of online advertising space: ISPs etcetera EXCEPT Internet publishers (who are a separate category). Reading across this line, you can see that 576 establishments offered this service; these 576 had total receipts of $16.8 billion; Of these 576 establishments, receipts from this particular product line, i.e. sale of advertising space, accounted for $3.7 billion of their total receipts (the $16.8 billion figure) or 22 percent of the receipts for this group of 576 and 4.7 percent
of the total receipts for the NAIC 518 (the $79.2 billion)

Now what does it mean, and how do you use this information? Well, as you read down the list of product lines, you can see that product line 31170, sale or licensing of rights to content, has only a few establishments earning a relatively small sum of the total sector revenues, and that these licensing revenues are only 14 percent of the revenues for those firms that pursue the product line. Then comes the judgment call — does that mean you try to get into that product area if you’re not already in it? Or do you consider dumping or downplaying the effort if you’re carrying that product?

As you can see, if you’re still with me, the data are not intuitively easy to assess but I do believe they are worth the effort to grasp. I’m sorry I couldn’t do more with this. A good PowerPoint with embedded tables and some analysis examples would be the way to show entrepreneurs and product line managers how to extract meaning from the tables. But I just can’t volunteer any more effort toward this effort. If anyone happens to see a good Economic Census how-to explainer, please do send me a link.

I am listing the other entries in this series below just to keep them in one place.

Media is Manufacturing
By the Numbers
Newspaper Daze
Not more Metrics!

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media