PPM Benchmarks Study Revealed!

January 17, 2012
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January 24, 2012

PPM Benchmarks Study Revealed!

Back in another career lifetime, I vividly remember having to present the results of a research study I had commissioned to the very daunting CEO of my company.  I was nervous enough, but when the room was deafeningly quiet and he started the meeting by tossing the report on to the table and asking, “So you call this research?” I saw my career flash before my eyes.  I knew he asked that question because a sneak peek at the results told him what he did not want to hear. I however steeled myself against his stern look, took a deep breath and answered “Yes, it is! These pages clearly tell us the way things are and I have a plan to address the issues and make them work for us. He smiled. My job was safe and the meeting went on.

Since that day it has been my philosophy to look at research as neither good news nor bad news. It’s just news. It’s what you do with the news that determines the good or the bad. Make the numbers work for you. That is how I like to preface any discussion on research.

So now back to our regularly scheduled programming and the Arbitron Radio PPM Benchmarks Study.

For the uninitiated the PPM, Portable People Meter, is an electronic measurement device worn by participants in Arbitron listenership research. In the larger U.S. markets, it replaces the old diaries that participants kept. The PPM detects and stores inaudible ID codes embedded within radio broadcasts as the PPM is exposed to encoded audio signals.

Research Director, Inc. has crunched Arbitron ratings data for over 1,700 stations in the 45 non-embedded PPM radio markets, for a study that determined a new set of ratings for the 19 major formats and 11 demographic/ethnic groups. Average share, cume and TSL (Time Spent Listening) by format group were reworked, along with new benchmarks for audience recycling by day and daypart, and average days listened

Among the key findings:

* Of the 19 format groups analyzed, Urban Contemporary has the largest AQH share (4.3). The highest weekly cume rating belongs to Top 40 (20.8), and the Inspirational radio format group achieves the highest weekly time spent listening (3 hours and 52 minutes).

* Listening to radio was consistent across the days of the week, with minimal drop-off on the weekend. Some formats actually perform better on Saturday or Sunday than they do on weekdays. Of all P6+ listeners who tune to the radio on weekdays, 82% also listen on the weekend.

* Across dayparts, 16 of the 19 format groups examined had higher cumes Sat-Sun 6A-Mid than they did in Mon-Fri morning drive. Some even had a higher Monday-Friday 7p-mid reach than in mornings. This study emphasizes the power of these time periods that are sometimes considered “throw-ins,” but have huge audiences and are of considerable value to an advertiser.

* The daypart that reaches the most listeners 6+ is Mon-Fri 3-7p, with a 79.0 cume rating, followed by Sat-Sun 6A-mid (77.2), Mon-Fri 10a-3p (74.7), Mon-Fri 6-10a (67.7) and Mon-Fri 7p-mid (59.7).

* The average Person 6+ tunes to radio 5.1 days per week. On a format basis, News/Talk had the highest number of average days listened at 2.8.

* On a total week basis, 95.7% of all Adults 25-54 tune to radio, spending an average of 12:55 with the medium. Three-quarters of Adults 25-54 tune to radio on an average day.

The big take away from this study is that radio has tremendous reach and delivery in all time periods. As marketers we need to take advantage of information like this to structure efficient, targeted and measurable radio campaigns. We know what the stations know. Knowledge is power and we have the power to keep the stations accountable for delivering on our advertising dollar.

Monica Caraffa is a Senior Account Manager at The Radio Agency. Please follow The Radio Agency’s Blog “Sounding Board” by subscribing to the email or RSS links above. Visit our website TheRadioAgency.com