Study Shows Radio Keeps 93% Of Lead-In Audience During Average Commercial Break
December 7, 2011 at 10:26 AM (PT)
A study by ARBITRON, MEDIA MONITORS and COLEMAN INSIGHTS says that radio delivers more than 93 percent of its lead-in audience during the average commercial break. "What Happens When the Spots Come On: 2011 Edition" updates a 2006 study of radio audience behavior during commercial breaks using PPM information across 48 markets.
The new study, using data from 18 million commercial breaks, 62 million minutes of commercials and 866 stations for a year, showed, among other findings, that one- to three-minute commercial breaks deliver audience levels "practically the same as the lead-in audience"; Longer spot breaks of four to six minutes-plus delivered an average minute audience nearly 90 percent of the lead-in audience; Commercial breaks in morning drive deliver 97 percent of their lead-in audience; and among teens and persons 18-24, radio delivers nearly 90 percent of its lead-in audience during commercial breaks, while among people age 65+, radio delivers 98 percent of the lead-in audience during the stop sets.
New findings in the study included the information that little difference was seen in market-by-market audience retention, nor did time of year make much of a difference.
"Radio does a remarkable job of maintaining its audience delivery when the commercials come on," said ARBITRON SVP, Marketing BILL ROSE. "Now that the Portable People Meter service can track radio audiences across 48 top markets, we can now demonstrate how radio constantly replenishes its audience with new listeners during commercial breaks. Today we know that the medium can deliver an average of 93 percent of its lead-in audience levels on a consistent basis, no matter the market, the daypart or the time of year."
"The incredible ability of radio stations to deliver audiences during commercial breaks suggests that programmers should not obsess over their stations' spot placement strategies," said COLEMAN INSIGHTS President/COO WARREN KURTZMAN. "There is no doubt that running excessive commercial inventory can undermine a station's brand and hurt its long-term performance, but we see very little evidence that commercials cause nearly as much audience tune-out in the short term as many radio industry professionals believe."
"Our MEDIA MONITORS technical team did an amazing job of computing a massive full year of spot break information on US radio. To our knowledge, this is the first study of this magnitude ever done. We're thrilled to continue writing the book on audience behavior for Radio," said MEDIA MONITORS President PHILLIPPE GENERALI.