Passion For Some Station Is Key to TOTAL RADIO TSL
October 22, 2012
Who are the most reliable customers for Radio? This is a question for which, over many decades, we have had dependable stock answers. And those answers have always revolved around the obvious consumer-lifestyle factors that have driven long TSL’s to radio. The most impactful, as we know, is the ability to listen while working a fulltime job. And the most widespread, affecting the entire consumer base, has been the in-car “captive audience” syndrome. But these are no longer going to be automatic opportunities for radio, so much as they are automatic opportunities for listening. More and more listeners will have more and more options to get their favorite music other than terrestrial radio. So it is time to think about not just lifestyle patterns, but other factors that also influence a consumer’s choice to use our particular medium a lot. As barriers to or costs of other media continue to fall, understanding these factors will be key to our future. Now, as we pointed out last week, the simple availability of alternate media, per se, does not lower radio TSL very much, if at all. It is not the availability, but the perceived advantages and disadvantages, that will drive a consumers’ choice to listen to one medium versus another.
So … what makes some consumers more likely than others to give long TSL’s to terrestrial Radio?
Of course, we have always known the value of a passionate partisan. In the old days, we thought about listening time as a fixed pie. The more attached a listener was to a particular station, the less punching around, the more of a loyal P-1, the more of that pie would go to that one station. And we would hope to convert a listener with no or weak loyalties into a raving fan, with obvious TSL benefits to our station.
Today, something far more significant is afoot. The radio station that just happens to play your favorite songs, but not a brand to which you are not really bonded, is just another provider, lined up against other providers in other media… and increasingly, perceived as being on a level playing field with them. Meanwhile, the reason you make a choice to listen to “The Radio,” increasingly, is because there IS a particular brand to which you are bonded. A feeling of strong bonding to a station makes for heavy use of the medium. Not surprising, right? Think about retail businesses. Shoppers who are not brand-loyal may just be looking for bargains or convenience, and may go to many different stores, while a shopper who is loyal to particular brands that she can get only at a certain store is certain to shop at that store. Conversely, a consumer who does not feel well bonded to a music radio STATION brand, it turns out, is already spending less TSL to the entire medium of radio.
One In Four Is Passionate For A Music Station; One In Four Have No Attachment
Not everyone is in head over heels in love with a music radio station, but the good news is that one in four radio users are. And fully half of them are at the top two levels of attachment to a station. Now, watch what happens when we stratify the audience in terms of how brand-loyal they are to one particular music station. The impact on their overall Radio TSL is remarkable.
The More Attached He Is To One Favorite Station, The Longer His RADIO TSL
Consumers who have no favorite music station, or have only a very weak “I just like the music” affinity (“1” or “2”) make up about one third of the radio base, as our first chart showed. Among them, only one in ten listens to radio for more than 2 hours a day. Consumers who scored their favorite station a “3” listen a bit more: one in seven hits the two-hour mark. Up the ante to the much-more-brand-bonded “4” listener, and now one in four hits two hours. Now go all the way to the true partisan to a music station, and the number becomes one in three. Thus, we see how critical those well-attached-to-a-brand “4” and “5” listeners are. They may make up only half of the overall consumer base, but they account for the overwhelming bulk of people who use our medium for long periods of time.
Half of All Radio Consumers, Across The Demos, Have a Favorite Morning Show
So while we’re on the subject of brand attachment and TSL, let’s see if morning brand attachment matters. As the above chart shows, about half the consumer base these days does have a morning show they consider their favorite, while half does not. Does attachment to a morning show also have an impact on how much a consumer uses Radio, total? Yep.
Listeners With A Favorite Morning Show Listen To More Radio, Period
While one in seven consumers without a favorite morning show uses radio for the jackpot two-plus-hours a day, one in four consumers with a favorite morning show does so. Morning-station partisans are one half of the radio universe, but they account for about 2/3 of radio power users.
What this means to you
It is more important than ever to cultivate strong bonding, loyalty, involvement in the listener’s life, and love. Playing the best music is not sufficient. After all, we defined even the least-bonded tier as folks who indeed have a favorite station where they do like most of the music. Not the same thing as a raving fan. You may recall that, in our series on PPM Prospects, we showed that consumers who have a strong brand-bonding with a radio station are more likely to accept a meter than those who don’t. Now add to that the simple fact that, in a time of multiple options, they are the heavier users of Radio. The other kind of consumer, who says “yeah, I have a favorite but there’s nothing really special about it,” is just not going to spend the TSL that we … as stations or as a medium … are going to need in order to win.