Posts Tagged ‘Audience’

Nashville Readies for Personal People Meter Fueled Changes

June 28, 2010

Nashville, Tennessee, has just become the 44th market nationally to adopt Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM) for measuring radio listenership. Considering the readings taken by the device in other markets, it is not surprising that people in Nashville are bracing for a change in the distribution of advertising funds.

As The Tennessean reports:

“It’s going to shake up the ratings and how stations are perceived by advertisers,” said Dennis Gwiazdon, president of the Nashville Area Radio Organization and vice president and general manager of South Central Media, which owns Mix 92.9 (WJXA-FM) and 96.3 JACK-FM (WCJK-FM).

“It’s definitely going to force the programming departments to be more judicious in what they play on the air.”

There is certainly precedent for this stance. Just take a look at the numbers produced for The Sean Hannity Show, which experienced a 20% drop in ratings across multiple markets after the introduction of the PPM. The Tennessean article details several more examples of a similar nature:

In Detroit, Breakfast Club morning show hosts Kevin O’Neill and Lisa Barry found themselves without a job in April when the Clear Channel-owned WNIC-FM switched to a music intensive format after PPM ratings showed the formerly No. 1 morning show was coming in at No. 11 among 35- to 64-year-old

A sample audience of 754 Nashville residents put on their PPMs and began collecting data a few days ago.  The results will be compiled and previewed by advertisers and station managers in August and then released to the public in October.

Image: Silenus81 / CC 2.0


Jetcast and Lenovo Make Internet Radio “Sticky” With Loyalty Program

April 19, 2010

Today, Jetcast Inc. and Lenco Mobile Inc. have pooled their resources to launch a listener loyalty program geared towards rewarding Internet radio audiences for tuning in to their favorite stations’ Internet streams.

RadioLoyalty is the name of the new program and it’s all about the points. Their UniversalPlayer has an app store of its own just like the iPhone, and members of the loyalty program can earn points for using any of these apps. Points can also be earned for online social sharing through platforms like Twitter and Facebook, referring friends to the station and various other interactions and activities. These points, like the boxtops of old, can be redeemed in the RadioLoyalty store.

Here’s a statement from the Jetcast CEO about this new endeavor, as taken from the press release posted on MarketWatch:

“Our RadioLoyalty(TM) loyalty program is focused on helping Internet broadcasters succeed in the digital marketplace,” said John Williams, CEO of Jetcast. “RadioLoyalty(TM) contains all the tools necessary for a broadcaster to dramatically increase the usage of their Internet broadcasts, enhance audience satisfaction, and grow the station’s monthly recurring revenue. RadioLoyalty’s(TM) loyalty program installs easily into our UniversalPlayer(TM) and is free for the station and listener to use. It is a win-win situation because RadioLoyalty(TM) rewards the listener and the station at the same time,” said Williams.

So here we go, another approach to the ongoing issue of engaging and monetizing the Internet and mobile audience. I think these companies are probably on the right track. Courting interactivity, capitalizing on the prominence of the app store phenomenon in the public psyche, and the offer of tangible rewards through their point system. Sounds to me like they’ve combined a number of great concepts into what looks like a  potent strategy.

The technical infrastructure for the UniversalPlayer and RadioLoyalty platforms was developed by a wholly owned subsidiary of Lenco called AdMax Media Inc.  Parent company Lenco is a mobile and Internet solutions provider while Jetcast, their partner in this venture,  is a leader in the monetization of Internet broadcast streams.

Image: RadioLoyalty Logo / Fair Use: Reporting

Made For Each Other: Radio and Smartphones

December 28, 2009

In the two years I’ve been authoring this blog, mobile has been a constant refrain. In that time, we have watched iPhones and Blackberrys saturate the population, bringing with them unprecedented connectivity and bandwidth. Close on their heels have been the apps that bring radio to these users, broadcast becoming as accessible as the now nearly ubiquitous 3G connections that cover the U.S.

I’m an iPhone user myself, and my radio listening has increased dramatically since the introduction of a few key apps, some station specific and some more generalized. The real point is that I can get radio anywhere my phone can get a signal, allowing me to tune in to the stations back home in New Orleans from my living room (or the bus, or the coffee shop, etc.) here in Cincinnati.

This game changing transition, the rise of the smartphone, is doing exactly what I’ve predicted all along — bringing radio to new listeners and evolving with the new technology rather than against it. As more and more radio concerns get apps into distribution, the numbers keep on increasing. Just look at the info as presented in this recent article in The Courier-Journal:

About a year after Clear Channel, the No. 1 radio company introduced its iHeartRadio app for iPhones, phone users account for 10 percent of its digital audience.“We expect to at least double that number” in 2010, he said. “That’s a modest goal.”

The company attracts about 28 million unique visitors a month, up 30 percent from last year.

David Goodman, CBS Interactive Music Group president, also is upbeat.

“In the last seven months, our streaming audience has doubled,” he said. “It’s a rocket ship in listenership.”

It’s always a pleasure to find one’s prognostications proven right, and it’s a joy to live in a time when the tech is advancing and evolving so quickly. The world five years from now will bear little resemblance to the one we know today, and looking at trends like these is what makes me confident of radio’s place in that future!

Image: George “Loki” Williams, screencapped for this article

Canadian Women, Sports Radio, and the PPM

October 12, 2009

canadaThere’s been all kinds of controversy about the Portable People Meter (PPM) introduced by Arbitron. Numerous challenges have been levied against it and its accuracy, while many others have supported its methodology and heralded it as the next clear step in harvesting audience metrics. Like most things in life, I would be willing to bet that reality falls somewhere in between.

BBM Canada, basically the equivalent of Arbitron north of our borders, just released their first round of PPM data and some interesting aspects of the system have come to light. You see, the PPM data shows a huge upswing in the number of female listeners tuning in to sports radio.

The Globe and Mail‘s Bruce Dowbiggin looks at the effect:

Why the sudden surge in female numbers for sports-talk formats? As opposed to the traditional diary methods of the past (which were often filled in after the fact by a single listener), PPMs record everyone in the vicinity of a radio or TV signal. So wives and girlfriends within earshot of sports-radio shows are now being lumped into the raw data.

“It was a factor of what I call aspirational tuning,” [David] Bray [senior vice president at Hennessy & Bray Communications] said. “Women filling in the diaries just felt better about recording CBC or light rock instead of a sports station. Now they can’t self-edit themselves with the PPMs.”

I find this extremely interesting. PPM measures your ambient soundscape, including radio that you might “tune out” in the background. This creates a far more complete image of what a person is exposed to over the course of their average day. How much of it actually registers, or registers only on a subconscious level, is impossible to say at this point. I doubt a reliable measurement of that nature can actually be made.

I do think it is important to have a window into the audioscape of our listeners, even something you tune out can make an impression after repeat exposure.  It is certainly something to think about.

I’m sure that the coming year or two (at least) will see a constant tug of war between Arbitron and Nielsen over what techniques of measurement are more accurate and why. Over time, competition should cause one or the other to field a truly superior product and approach. In the meantime, I advise keeping an eye on them both. Let’s see what the next level turns out to be.

Image: imuttoo / CC BY-SA 2.0

Nielsen Radio Ratings Debut!

August 31, 2009

logos-NielsenIt has been decades since Nielsen was in the business of radio ratings, but they are back and have just delivered the first round of stats in their new markets.

Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey says he is “quite pleased” with the results. That’s a good thing since it was his company that brought Nielsen in to launch the new service and has subscribed to it in all 51 of their markets.

Here is a more detailed comment and analysis from Mr. Dickey as quoted in RBR/TVBR:

“The sample far exceeded their targets and was a dramatic improvement over our previous ratings service. The Nielsen data is simply more reliable due to a much larger and more inclusive sample frame. The bottom line is that advertisers, programmers and management all make decisions based upon a discrete set of numbers provided by the ratings service. Unlike the political polls quoted in the media which are invariably accompanied with the rejoinder of ‘margin of error,’ AQH share numbers never are. If the consumer of this information – advertiser, programmer or seller – knew the magnitude of the margin of error, they would view it quite skeptically if not disregard it all together,” said Dickey.

With Arbitron’s Personal People Meter (PPM) technology getting mixed reviews, I am sure that many are keeping an eye on Nielsen’s efforts. Clear Channel is using the new service in 17 markets so it will be interesting to see their comments on the comparative value of each approach.

The data released was gathered this past Spring with a release date of August so that Nielsen would have time to get their software operational. Even though there have been some reported snags in the client download process, all 51 markets received their data on time last  week. As someone who works on the Internet, I am well aware of the issues and troubleshooting required of all newly implemented software and must say I’m quite impressed with their handling of the launch.

In the future, we will be seeing, according to Nielsen’s plan, eight-week long survey periods with the collated data being released six weeks after the period ends. The sweep for the twice yearly markets involved (Huntsville, AL, and Shreveport, LA) begins next week with data delivery set to happen on the six-week schedule.

Image: Nielsen Logo | Fair Use- Reporting

Radio Ruminations

August 25, 2008

It is a really interesting time to be alive. The warp speed rush of technological advance makes itself felt daily at all levels, be it the Facebook-based efforts of the Obama campaign, the integration of radio into cell phones or the tiny iPods that carry weeks worth of music in a package smaller than a cassette tape. We have the privilege of watching history unfold, a period of advancements rivaled by nothing in human history. It is, quite simply, astounding.

Yesterday afternoon, I did a pre-recorded interview for a local New Orleans radio station about technology and the ramifications of social media. It was a lot of fun, and it also made me realize a few things. I make my living here on the ‘net. I have to stay as on top of “what’s new” as I possibly can be, from microblogging tools like Twitter to analyzing how people use FriendFeed to enhance work collaboration. To my wife’s chagrin, I am always glued to my laptop.

Yet despite virtually breathing the ones and zeros of digital life, getting on the air is always a thrill.

In the mid-1980s I was a college DJ at KLSU FM in Baton Rouge. My studies and career path took me in another direction, but I still have incredibly fond memories of it. I miss the joy of sending your voice out there to an unknown number of people, sharing my own musical tastes with them, and everything else that goes with the late night show. Weird phone-ins are especially missed. Those were always good for a bit of Gary Larson style entertainment.

I realized while speaking into the producer’s mic that there is a connection of feeling in radio that I have not found anywhere else. On the Internet you can reach an amazing array of people, you can interact in the comments of blogs (Go ahead, try it. Leave me a comment.) or in a wide variety of other ways. You just do not get the feeling of connection that comes with broadcast. There is something about it that is unquantifiable, the feeling that people are being drawn in which is distinctly different in so many ways. To return to the words of audio artist Tetsuo Kogawa, “radio is centripetal, not centrifugal, since it brings people together to the center.” I know I used that quote in my last post but it bears repeating.

I think he is dead right. Most Internet-based efforts are spinning content out in ever broadening arcs as they attempt to find/create their audience and community. This is not a bad thing. Radio on the other hand draws you in. Just like in the early days of broadcast when families would sit huddled near the radio listening raptly to the adventures of Sherlock Holmes or The Shadow, radio still draws you in.

Construction workers on a job site listening to music after the all important argument about which station to listen to is resolved. Taxi drivers and their passengers taking in the usually local content rushing through the airwaves. Indian businessmen halfway around the world listening to FM on their cell phones. These are the descendants of the big wooden box that told my grandfather when Babe Ruth scored a home run. Even though it lacks the pictorial aspect of TV or YouTube, there is nothing like radio for feeling like you are part of things.

As Bruce Lee said in Enter The Dragon, “What we need is emotional content.”

Photo courtesy of gutter, used under its Creative Commons license

Radio Scores a Touchdown with Pre- and Post-SuperBowl Coverage

February 18, 2008


Radio World Online brings us details of an interesting study done by Arbitron concerning radio and the SuperBowl. The study looked at the media consumption habits of adults 18 and older in the New York city and Boston areas before, during and after the big game.

The study says radio benefits from the run up to the big game. Half of the adults in Boston and 29 percent of New Yorkers said they listened to sports/talk radio in the week before the Super Bowl. Time spent listening was up the week prior with a third of New York adults and more than half (56 percent) of Boston adults listening “a lot more.”

As a cultural touchstone, the SuperBowl is almost unparalleled in sheer enormity. Sports commentators (and their advertisers) experienced a huge upsurge in audience as they analyzed and argued over the potential outcome of the event, as well as its aftermath.

Additionally, people are less likely to switch radio stations while listening to the game: 52 percent of New Yorkers and Bostonians were less likely to switch stations while listening to the Super Bowl than they are when they are listening to something else.

As I read those numbers, I could almost hear Wolfman Jack’s voice in my head saying, “Hold on folks, don’t touch that dial!”

Arbitron said radio reaped its greatest benefit from the pre-game and post-game coverage of the Super Bowl. Most Super Bowl listening was done out of home: 49 percent of Bostonians and 45 percent of New Yorkers who listened to the radio on the day of the game listened in a car or truck. Nine percent of Boston adults and eight percent of New York adults listened to pre-game, game or post-game coverage on the radio.

Marketing Charts has posted a breakdown of the data, which was compiled via telephone survey on February 4, 2008. Two hundred completed surveys in New York and another 201 in Boston generated the data on which the report is based.

Sports commentary on the air clearly scored a touchdown during this period. The referees have spoken loudly and clearly, and their verdict is a win!

Photo Courtesy of Sister72, used under this Creative Commons license