Coleman Insights And Media Monitors Find That 'Turn On-Turn Offs' Dominate Radio Listening Occasions
January 6, 2016 at 6:20 AM (PT)
A major new study of NIELSEN AUDIO PORTABLE PEOPLE METER data reveals that nearly two-thirds of radio station listening occasions consist of listeners “turning on” a station and end with them “turning off” a station, as opposed to “switching in” from and “switching out” to other stations. This is the major finding of “The Components of Tuning Occasions -- Switching vs. Turning” study the two companies previewed at last month’s NIELSEN AUDIO Client Conference and released TODAY (1/6). It is based on an analysis of nearly 37 million listening occasions captured in all 48 U.S. radio markets measured by NIELSEN AUDIO’s PPM measurement system in OCTOBER 2014, JANUARY 2015, APRIL 2015 and JULY 2015.
To complete the study, COLEMAN INSIGHTS and MEDIA MONITORS classified listening occasions as “Turn On-Turn Offs,” “Turn On-Switch Outs,” “Switch In-Switch Outs” and “Switch In-Turn Offs” based on how they began and ended. They found that 62.7% of all occasions are Turn On-Turn Offs, while 11.3% are Turn On-Switch Outs, 14.5% are Switch In-Switch Outs and 11.5% are Switch In-Turn Offs. It is the opinion of both companies that the proportion of occasions that involve Turning On and Turning Off is significantly higher than the expectations of most radio programmers and managers.
The study produced two other major findings about listening occasions:
Occasions that begin with Turn Ons are five minutes longer on average than those that begin with Switch Ins, suggesting that stations can theoretically generate more Time Spent Listening under PPM measurement by increasing the proportion of listening occasions they generate through Turning On.
The proportion of a station’s occasions that are Turn On-Turn Offs among its P1 listeners -- those who listen to a station more than any other -- is even higher. While 62.7% of all occasions are Turn On-Turn Offs, the figure soars to 78.6% among P1 listeners.
“These findings are about the strongest reinforcement of the value of brand-building for radio stations that I can imagine,” commented COLEMAN INSIGHTS Pres./COO WARREN KURTZMAN, who co-authored the study. “The ability of a radio station to generate listening occasions through Turning On is dependent on having a strong brand, which is based on having high awareness, a clearly-defined position, association with multiple product attributes and eliciting passion from the audience.”
“The Components of Tuning Occasions -- Switching vs. Turning” also reveals where Switching -- when listeners switch between radio stations -- plays its most significant role. Switching is more prevalent among younger listeners than older listeners and, as a result, is observed at higher levels for stations that offer formats that tend to attract younger audiences.
“Our study points to how those who program younger-targeted formats such as Top 40, Rhythmic Top 40, Alternative, Hot AC, Rhythmic AC, Urban and Active Rock need to be more concerned with preventing listeners from Switching Out than those who program other formats do,” noted study co-author and MEDIA MONITORS Pres./CEO PHILIPPE GENERALI. “Having a strong brand is clearly important, but for many stations, preventing Switching clearly can have a significant impact on their PPM performance.”