Disparity Between MScores and Callout Scores Explained
April 12, 2011
What this means to diary-rated markets
In adult formats, it has been my experience that new music generally underperforms in PPM. In other words, newer music generally has a greater degree of "tune-away" than more established titles.
While this is not groundbreaking news, surprisingly, this data seems to counter callout music data that intuitively suggests that titles highly evaluated in callout research would experience highly positive MScores. In fact, I found almost the opposite to almost be true (MScore data is a service through Media Monitors available in PPM-measured markets that measures switch into and away from a station data in real time).
The disparity between MScore data and callout research is due to a four major factors:
- Callout and Mscore data measure different attributes. Callout measures the appeal and familiarity of music, while Mscore measures tune-away or the radio being turned off.
- The body of music tested in callout tends to be new(er) versus one that contains music of various ages.
- The sample in callout research consists of listeners who are heavier users of radio than the public in general.
- The level of unfamiliarity and/or appreciation of newer titles to this sample is likely greater than to the total cume which may not meet callout sample criteria.
Assuming that programmers are judiciously adding new product, this does not at all mean that stations should not play new music, decrease category size, or overall 24/7 exposure of these titles. This is especially true for stations branded as playing contemporary music. This is also not meant to suggest that callout does not supply extremely useful information. After all, it provides a programmer with the best of possible choices including comparative title-to-title, competing station and in some cases, brand appropriateness data.
That said, the discrepancy between callout and MScore data does suggest that stations might be better served by playing auditorium research-approved recurrent titles that are universally better-known and equally appreciated with core and cume alike in quarter-hours that traditionally experience the heaviest listening. Furthermore, it is important that the introduction of new titles be positioned in time periods where listening is more static (no pun intended).
For example, a station might be better served by playing new titles when listeners are working and listening on a desktop radio or streaming device versus periods when listeners are driving and are more likely to 'punch' around the dial.
The bottom line is one of balancing both the marketing (promos) of a station's perceptual attributes for playing new music with the realities of everyday listenership. For adult-targeted stations this might validate running demonstration marketing or music menu promos containing only hooks of new titles during the heaviest quarter-hours of listening while actually playing recurrents or gold more than currents. This scenario provides a station with both the opportunity of new music imagery and increased listenership.
What does this mean for diary-measured markets? A lot. First, PPM measures real listening. Therefore, the less tune-away any station experiences -- regardless of ratings methodology -- translates into more time spent with your brand, which translates into more top-of-mind awareness. And despite many who believe that top-of-mind awareness is not nearly as important in PPM as with Diary methodology, the truth is that the greater your station's awareness, the greater likelihood of you have of increasing occasions of listening.