Targeting the PPM People: How Are They Different? Part 12: Morning Show Fans Over-Represented in the PPM Pool!!
July 2, 2012
By Joel Lind
To succeed today, stations must maximize their appeal to those who control that success:Â those who wear a PPM.Â Â And, no matter what Arbitron says, the PPM-friendly population, pure and simple, is nowhere close to a representative sample of the population in general.Â NuVoodoo’s national study of 1000 adults 18-49 shows that there are several key differences between radio users who will agree to take the PPM and those who will not.Â This is the twelfth article in our series discussing those differences and how they can help stations win and change the future.
First, please bear in mind that 100% of our sample are already research-receptive people: people who at least agreed to answer a few questions.Â Experience tells us that only about 30% of the population will participate in any research.Â Therefore, any information we share about “Arbitron-friendlies” should be considered in this context.Â We also know respondents are always quicker to agree to a theoretical question than to commit to the actual behavior.Â So the percentages who say they will do something are always greater than the percentages who will in fact do so.Â
Three weeks ago, we began discussing how PPM Prospects are atypical in their feelings about radio stations.Â
- We have showed that willingness to wear a PPM is higher among those (slightly more than half the population), who actually have a favorite music station and listen at least one quarter-hour a day, and is higher still if they truly love that station.Â
- We have also showed that PPM-willingness is higher among listeners who value radio as an information source, whether as music/artist expert or as trusted news/whether/traffic provider.Â
This week and next, we will look at morning drive habits.Â Here is the screaming and undeniable headline that Arbitron either is not aware of or will not admit, and it is a whopper:Â Not because any listening is being misreported, but because of the kinds of people who agree to carry a PPM, stations with successful morning shows are going to score higher in Arbitron than they do in “reality.”
One in Three Consumers is a Radio Morning Show Fan
Once upon a time, or at least the way many of us thought back then, most of the population had a favorite morning show that was an integral element in their waking up / getting ready / driving to work ritual.Â Even if it once was true, that is not the case today.Â That’s simply the world as it is.Â You already know this if you have been asking the question of morning loyalty in an unbiased way, instead of the forced-choice, biased-wording, question, “What morning show is your favorite?”Â It doesn’t mean consumers aren’t listening to morning shows; of course they are.Â It doesn’t mean that most consumers don’t tend to spend more morning TSL at one particular dial position than others; of course they do.Â It’s just that only a minority identify themselves as affiliated fans of any specific show.Â
As the chart above shows, about one-third of the population has a show they consider their favorite and listens to Radio at least one quarter-hour on a typical weekday.Â Slightly higher among Women 35+.Â Most common in the South, least common in the West.Â Very little correlation to market size.Â One-third of the population.Â But, as we are about to see, that converts into much more than one-third of Arbitron’s PPM-carrying “sample” of the population.Â The only listeners who matter.
AMD Fans Take PPM’s â€¦And The Longer You Listenâ€¦The More You Say “YES”!!!
WOW!Â Look at this strikingly clear, and very dramatic, relationship between morning-show attachment and willingness to be a ratings-maker.Â (And stronger still than the clear relationship we showed three weeks ago between music-station-attachment and that willingness.) Â Amazing and a bit scary at first glance, but makes sense when you think about it.Â Political scientists have long known that the citizens most likely to show up at the polling place have one or both.Â
(1) They believe in a candidate particularly strongly.
(2) They believe in the efficacy of voting, i.e., that their vote matters.
The listeners we are talking about here really believe in that show, and they know enough about ratings to know that’s how we know who’s number one.Â Naturally, they’re going to be the most likely to say they would wear the PPM, by a 3:1 margin, followed by those who listen to it between a half-hour and an hour, followed by those who listen to it for less than a half hour, and followed finally by those who don’t have a favorite morning show, who are split about 50/50.Â Of course, as we cautioned above, the “yes” response to this theoretical question is far greater than the number who would actually go through with it and wear The Device, but because that is true across the board, it doesn’t change the finding one bit.Â
Consumers who are fans of a morning show are over-represented in Arbitron’s microscopic People Meter samples.Â Accordingly, these folks are exerting a disproportional positive or negative influence on every single radio station’s ratings, in all dayparts.Â And thus, they exert a disproportionate influence on every station’s revenue.Â If you fish where the fish are, you get these fish in your boat, not the other guy’s.
What this means to you
A caution:Â the only factor that attracts this kind of loyalty is a beloved personality/team.Â Not how talk-intensive a show you build around unworthy talent.Â Of course, a highly appealing talent who plays nine songs an hour draws a lot more loyal listening than an average talent who plays four.Â Thus, these data should never be misinterpreted as “more morning talk content attracts more meter-wearers.”Â If you already have a morning show that gets a lot of love and a lot of loyal, non-button-pushing, long-TSL users, congratulations.Â Since that kind of listener is much more likely to be in the PPM sample, your Arbitron AMD AQH share is already probably significantly higher than your “real world” share.Â Â If you are considering the costs and benefits of developing, or acquiring, or indeed of eliminating, that kind of show, you may want to recalculate the potential costs/benefits and ROI, factoring in that this decision indeed will tilt the playing field itself to your advantage (or disadvantage).Â Â
And â€¦ if you do have that kind of show, are you focusing on recycling, in particular, sub-population of the people who truly love that show?Â They are the folks who will also exert disproportionate influence on your numbers the rest of the day, because they are more likely to be wearing meters.Â Are you getting the most mileage out of them?Â Naturally, their habits and needs change after morning drive, and you are probably right to go music-intensive for the workday, maybe even before 9 AM.Â But don’t forget who’s bringing them to the dance, and in whose arms they’re gonna be again tomorrow morning.Â Think about squeezing the most juice out of these key meter-wearers by weaving tiny tastes of your exceptional morning talent into the workday and PM Drive.Â This will almost certainly be more valuable to your numbers than a random break by Jane Jock.Â Now, don’t over-saturate it and overexpose the morning show.Â But remember what the hardcore fans look like on that chart above.Â Thus, maybe once an hour â€¦ give them one reason to stay here.