Coleman Releases Study Of PPM Panelists
September 19, 2008 at 9:49 AM (PT)
COLEMAN INSIGHTS' "Real PPM Panelists Tell All" presentation at the NAB RADIO SHOW in AUSTIN gave an overview of PPM panelists' interaction with both the stations towhich they listen and to ARBITRON and the meter system iself. The study included 30 in-person and telephone exit interviews with panelists in NEW YORK, HOUSTON and PHILADELPHIA.
COLEMAN's JOHN BOYNE said that the panelists' experience with the PPM system resulted in a "positive report card for ARBITRON" with the overwhelming majority of comments being positive. Panelists gave responses ranging from saying being selected made them feel special to "it was just something to do." The money incentive to participate was a powerful motivator as well ("free money ... are you kidding?").
Panelists also showed a commitment to wear the meters throughout the survey period, feeling that they should honor their commitment. Most said that wearing the meter became a "habit," with those not developing the habit tending to have more trouble sticking to the program; weekend use posed a problem for some, whose habits differed on weekends from weekdays. Some admitted to a gap betweem when they woke up and when they began to wear the meter.
ARBITRON's program to encourage compliance also appeared to be working well, with strong response to the "point system" and phone contact used by the company. The panelists seemed to like the beeper-like device, especially older participants used to carrying pagers, and gave high marks for ease of setup and customer service. However, some problems arose like forgetting the meter, other family members carrying the meter, inability to wear the meter in some situations (church, wearing certain dresses, going to a wedding or party, playing basketball), and fatigue after wearing the meters for several months. Some panelists also didn't like the meter's design and build, and privacy concerns were raised by participants.
In the interviews, COLEMAN's WARREN KURTZMAN said, COLEMAN noted that some respondents tended to misdentify stations to which they don't listen much. More importantly, listeners tended to listen to the stations on their car radio presets rather than scanning the dial, resulting to repeat listening exclusively to the stations on the buttons. There were few instances noted of "new station discovery," with stations discovered not by scanning but by an external impetus like a billboard.
KURTZMAN said that the study noted three distinct levels of cume, including "invisible listening" (detections of stations being played in the background that the participants are not perceiving), "incidental listening" (similar to invisible listening except that the respondents do know they're listening, but did not do so by their own choice, like workplace listening; "you hear it but you don't listen to it," one panelist said), and "intentional listening," for which respondents could describe the station in great depth and detail. Invisible listening accounted for 31% of the cume, although the sample size was not representative. KURTZMAN also noted that the invisible and incidental listening did not actually account for much actual total listening, with 77% of minutes devoted to intentional listening.
Recommendations included recognizing the vital role of intentional listening ("the key to success in PPM is driving intentional listening," KURTZMAN said), avoiding chasing incidental listening (which KURTZMAN said could cause more harm than good), proactively defining and developing brands to facilitate intentional listening, and not to fool one's self that external marketing should have a smaller role in a PPM world.