Nielsen Audio Conference Day One Recap
December 4, 2015 at 5:30 AM (PT)
The NIELSEN AUDIO Client Conference & Urban PD Clinic is underway at the GAYLORD NATIONAL RESORT AND CONVENTION CENTER in NATIONAL HARBOR on the MARYLAND side of the POTOMAC -- just south of WASHINGTON, D.C.
YESTERDAY the conference kicked off with the half-day Urban PD Clinic and opening remarks by COX MEDIA GROUP ATLANTA VP/Programming TONY KIDD. He stressed that radio is still alive and well and that Urban radio has always fought to understand the market. KIDD stressed the importance of the smart phone and the 87% heavy usage by Urban consumers. He went on to point out the continued fight for audience by Urban and radio in general. The good news is our industry is the best at what it does and will win the war regardless of the media landscape.
The remarks were a perfect lead-in for the presentation of the Ratings Year-in-Review for Urban with NIELSEN VP/Audience Insights JON MILLER. The review took a look back at the major storylines in Urban radio during 2015, including the rise of Classic Hip-Hop, the continued success of Urban Contemporary and how daily tuning is a fundamental key to ratings success.
MILLER said, "Urban has shown a slow but steady rise. The recently released study has shown this year was the best it has been over the last couple of years. Urban AC has been steady, but Urban has continued to grow; especially in the 35-44 demo. Both PPM and Diary markets have indicated the growth. The overall U.S. radio increases have been driven by Black and Hispanic listeners. In fact, Black and Hispanic consumers spend more time with radio each week than any other group and possess enormous buying power."
What Makes Urban Music Fans Tick?
NIELSEN ENTERTAINMENT presented a holistic look at how Urban music fans keep in touch with their favorite artists, how they engage with music through digital and mobile platforms, and the role music plays in their perceptions and consumer tastes.
NIELSEN VP/Multicultural Growth and Strategy COURTNEY JONES went on to talk about the various ways media is consumed by the Urban audience, and the significant gains in streaming. She highlighted what turned out to be a constant for the day, the huge use of smart phones and impact of digital as a whole.
- Urban fans are hyper engaged in social media platforms
- Steaming is not the death of audio but an extension
- Hip- Hop and R & B are the most streamed formats, 86% listen to music on smart phones
- The continued rise in use of SPOTIFY and PANDORA
- Getting personalities to engage the audience on other platforms
- Social media significance, the overlap in the diversity of listening by the Urban audience
- The need to leverage the various ways of profiting from media of usage by the Urban audience.
Talent Spotlight: Donnie Simpson
RADIO ONE SVP/Programming Content JAY STEVENS and WMMJ/WASHINGTON, D.C’s Legendary Personality DONNIE SIMPSON took to the stage. SIMPSON shared stories and learnings from a radio career that has spanned more than 40 years. STEVENS answered questions, reminisced, and provided SIMPSON the platform for DONNIE to be DONNIE.
STEVENS: What are some of on the biggest changes you've noticed?
SIMPSON: Jocks don’t get to turn you on to music any more. Example one of the biggest things in my career -- I turned DETROIT onto ELTON JOHN's 'Bennie & The Jets'. I can still remember the late AL PERKY PERKINS calling me the night after I played it to find out what it was I had played that had the listeners calling him up all morning wanting to hear it. Jocks don’t have that freedom anymore. That's gone -- jocks can’t use their ears to express themselves.
STEVENS: I have learned from DONNIE how to paint the canvas when scheduling music -- the passion -- I learned it from DONNIE. I remember driving in one morning in the Springtime when he played EWF. This was on Mainstream Urban in '93 -- it broke all the rules but it sounded right.
SIMPSON: There is a sprit that exists that I need to tap into when I am on. It’s how I feel. It is how I connect to audience.
STEVENS: When you left radio, PPM was just coming on, what’s the difference?
SIMPSON: I don't know, I don't pay attention to things like that. A lot of times -- even when I was a PD -- I wanted to focus on the listener and nothing else. I try to have fun -- I think if I do that, the ratings will be there. I think its magic, and try and try to have as much fun as I can. I was a different kind of programmer. I never used the hotline. I wanted my folks to be focused. I think you hire good people and let people do their thing.
STEVENS: You do great interviews
SIMPSON: I have chats, I find everyone interesting. Just listen. I never read a bio or a cue sheet of questions. An interview is to get to know the person. I never did prepared questions on VIDEO SOUL or any interview anywhere.
STEVENS: When we listen to you do interviews, we are allowed to listen to you or at least that is what it feels like.
SIMPSON: I try and get my guest comfortable. I want them to feel like they are kicking it with me.
STEVENS: Who is the best interview you have ever done?
SIMPSON: That’s hard, maybe SMOKEY ROBINSON, ARETHA FRANKLIN or CURTIS MAYFIELD. CURTIS was an amazing guy, he spent his last years as a quadriplegic due to a fall he suffered doing a concert. He said he said he was blessed and glad he was alive. He saw value in everything, His 'Pusha Man' song was amazing-- the lyrics meant so much to me, I learn from that.
STEVENS: The worst interview?
SIMPSON: The worst of the strangest was with TERRENCE TRENT D’ARBY. I was told he was upset with me saying he was inspired by PRINCE. My producers were not sure if the interview was going to still take place. It all worked out and it was just weird. We all inspired by someone as we find ourselves. I am working on a book -- the title will be 'Being Me.'
STEVENS: Listeners know authenticity.
SIMPSON: Talent has been suppressed in my opinion. Anybody can play music, it’s how it’s presented. If it were just about music, anyone can listen all day long in a number of ways.
STEVENS: PANDORA and SPOTIFY have changed things, compelling content has become important
SIMPSON: I want to be engaging, and want people to listen to me. If I lose a listener because of a a song I played, I am not doing my job. Back in the day, I noticed GARTH BROOKS was hot and wanted to know what it was all about. I got his album and listened and I liked it. So I played some and got questioned. The next day in the WASHINGTON POST, in the first paragraph of a huge story about him, it was pointed out that GARTH was so big that even DONNIE SIMPSON played him. I think peoples ears are bigger than what we give them credit for.
STEVENS: I have to share this story with everyone. When DONNIE worked for me at PGC we were doing a CORVETTE giveaway. The day of the big drawing, promotions put the box with entries on the counter in the studio. DONNIE just reached in the box, pulled a name and announced the guy as the winner. That was not how the contest worked! DONNIE was supposed to call a name, and the person was supposed to call in during a certain amount of time. The studio door was locked, and I kept trying to get in -- and couldn't in time to try and correct things. We had to giveaway another CORVETTE that FRIDAY, and go on the air and run an apology for how the contest went astray.
Q & A Highlights:
REACH MEDIA TANETA MYERS: What can we do to help our talent?
SIMPSON: I think radio has lost its balls, it’s not progressive anymore. I don't see the energy anymore. People seem to be afraid and scared of losing their jobs.
STEVENS: The business has changed -- everything is coming at us. Some of the fun has been taken out of it. Radio stations are like accounting firms now. I used to have a guy who would to roller skate around the studio and do his and do his show. If somebody did that now and you might hear from HR.
Nielsen Product Update Super Session
EVP/Global Watch Product Leadership MEGAN CLARKEN, VP/Product Leadership ROB KASS, Chief Engineer ARUN RAMASWAMY, VP/ Product Leadership DENISE SAFKO and EVP/Managing Dir. Local Media MATT O’ GRADY provided a walk through on NIELSEN’s progress in various areas.
EVP CLARKEN pointed out, “The 93% weekly reach figure that the company’s been touting, figures even slightly higher for 18-49s. The landscape is evolving. Consumers are accessing audio so many ways, and we are trying to make the measurement of digital simple -- to bring it on to the total audience frame work. Time spent with streaming audio is significantly higher than time spent with video. Total Audience Measurement is going to become very important.”
VP KASS followed up with how SDK will make Total Audience Measurement a reality, “Our SDK (Software Developer Kit) permits it to report census-level listening online, meaning that it tracks every user by embedding in an app or browser. To be successful will require involvement by 3rd parties to come aboard. It will take a team effort.”
Chief Engineer ARUN RAMASWAMY provided the advantages of the new PPM monitor. "It will store results for 90 days. More good news for stations, there will be a minute-level display of what’s happening with the encoding. The new free Encoder/Monitor doesn't do processing, just encoding and analysis." RAMASWAMY displayed charts from a test of a dozen WASHINGTON, D.C./BALTIMORE stations showing that “39% of the station/demo/daypart combinations had rating point gains with using the enhanced CBET software. Talk-based formats benefited more with enhanced CBET. Rollout of the software is underway, with about 65% of encoding stations upgrading in BALTIMORE, but only about 22% in PHILADELPHIA up to this point. NIELSEN will continue to test the enhanced CBET versus VOLTAIR. PPM is looking to improved design for the meter carried by panelists."
NIELSEN VP DENICE SAFKO discussed the future, and using smartphones as meters. “Do I carry my smartphone differently from how I carry my PPM? You might plug in your cell phone when you get home and leave it an another room. One of the concerns is battery life for smartphones and it's being addressed."
She also addressed the new PPM from RAMASWAMY, “The enhanced CBET is giving us more complete codes. The quality of our codes has increased and decreased edit issues.”
EVP MATT O ‘BRADY, “The SDK for radio has gone much smoother than with TV, there are a lot of logistical reasons for that. Radio has been much easier to deal with in this area."
Now In Session: The Class of 2015
NIELSEN’S Dr. ED COHEN and UNIVERSITY of FLORIDA Dr. SYLVIA CHAN provided videos taped with a group of UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA students followed over a 4-year period. Their attitudes on social media, entertainment, life and media usage changed during the course of the study. The adjustments, which included new social media avenues such as TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, SNAPCHAT and others were noticeable. This was also a another reminder of how smartphones is the center of the universe for millennial's.
The Lessons Learned From The Study for Radio:
- You must have a mobile strategy
- Everyone Is on FACEBOOK and Radio can leverage that finding
- In Social Media, you have to be relevant
- Remember Funny, Useful and Informative when posting on social media
- Social Media breaks the headlines: you deliver the news
- Look for talent in unexpected places
- You need a feedback loop to gauge what’s working
The New York Are A-Changing
NIELSEN VP/Audience Insights JON MILLER interviewed NEW YORK TIMES Product Dir./Mobile PAUL WERDEL, who gave a look at a heritage media brand adapting to the digital and mobile world from both a content and platform perspective. One of the most interesting aspects was how the paper is working on the best use of push notifications.
WERDEL said, “We are trying to use breaking news in more meaningful ways. The notifications are what I am talking about. We are expanding push notifications in a respectful way. We are working on seeing how to use them to possibly help navigate to other areas of the paper.”
The Components of Tuning Behavior: Switching vs Turning
Are your listeners more likely to switch over from another station, or to turn you on in the moment when they decide to use radio? COLEMAN INSIGHTS Pres./COO WARREN KURTMAN, RCS WORLDWIDE Pres./CEO PHILIPPE GENERALI and NIELSEN SVP/Product Leadership BILL ROSE were on hand. They shared some groundbreaking findings about the behavior of PPM panelists during the moments when they land on your station, and also when they leave, and what this means for stations strategy.
NIELSEN data from 48 PPM markets gave an interesting glimpse. It found that “nearly two-thirds of all listening occasions (not listening minutes, but occasions) are the result of switching on and off. Some people are turning on the radio, listening, and then turning off without seeking a second station." The second big finding was that “listening occasions which start with turn-ons last five minutes longer than those that begin with switch-ins." Another finding of note, P1s turning on and off without switching to another station account for more than three-quarters of all P1 listening occasions.
There are differences by demo and format, as you’d expect. About half of listeners to Top 40, Top 40/Rhythmic and Alternative were involved in switching. The comparable figure for Sports is only 38% -- and less for formats with older appeal like Gospel (15%) and Classical (13%).
Podcasting and Radio: How Broadcasters Can Engage Audiences and Generate Revenue with On-Demand Audio.
JACOBS MEDIA Digital Dot Connector SETH RESLER moderated. Panelist included, NIELSEN VP/Product Leadership ROB KASS, SCRIPPS MEDIA Dir./Digital Solutions Group ROB MCCRACKEN, LIBSYN VP/Podcaster Relations ROB WALCH, SPREAKER Head of Content ROB GREENLEE, NPR Product Manager MATHILDE PIARD.
All agreed that podcasting has been growing for 11 years -- and it continue as a growth area. The coming of Internet in cars will be a huge boost. Total Audience Measurement will help with monetizing. Stations need to find ways to utilize this area to extend the reach of personalities. Podcasting is content on demand.
The Art of Songwriting, Part 2: Featuring Randy Bachman
The day ended with KSWD/L.A. PD DAVE BEASING guiding BMI Recording Artist RANDY BACHMAN in a walk down memory lane. RANDY BACHMAN, of BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE and GUESS WHO performed, shared stories, and talked about how digital platforms have changed the music industry from both a listener perspective as well as an artist’s.