Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Ratings Bonuses In A PPM World

PPM Strategist and longtime radio research analyst Charlotte Lawyer and I had an exchange 60 days ago on how bonus structures may change for on air talent in PPM:
"I had a program director ask me about using aqh ratings. I always used AQH persons rank or share goal in diary, and/or cume for some stations depending on format and goals. With ratings so compressed now you can have maybe a .3 rating separating #1 and #10. I suggested he use aqh persons because of the compression and consider adding TSL. This PD's stations (spoken word) have great tsls in ppm. Do you have any thoughts?"

At the time we talked about it, but I didn't blog it, thinking that it was a pretty narrow subject area for universal interest. Then came "KRBE, Houston’s Ryan Chase (says) a temporarily messed-up sample due to Hurricane Ike cost him “a sixth of my income.”) and the online chatter about Ryan Seacrest and Kevin & The Bean.

What to do when the change wrought by a new method of measurement is no longer motivating, but actually frustrating, demotivating, to talent?

Samples are one-third of what they used to be, shares are too compressed, hair-raising wobbles appear to be weekly events and in some markets format shares for whole groups of stations and styles of personalities seem to be turned upside down.

I agree with the idea of bonusing on AQH person rank rather than share, but even that can seem unfairly capricious, given that it only takes a handful of panelists to dislike something to doom a station or talent.

So, how about trying this on for size: bonus talent on a metric they can control, comparing to their past trend rather than other stations or personalities on the metric which drives PPM ratings, the number of listening occasions in their daypart?

Get your panelists to come back to the station more times, earn a bonus. Have panelists listen for fewer occasions this month compared to last month, lose a bonus.

To be motivating, a bonus needs to reflect something talent can control. To do well, you incent the behavior you want.

Do you have a better idea? I'd love to hear it.


Facebook Thread said...

Chuck Geiger
Jaye - What about staying with rank 25-54 in the daypart? For Country and ranks for PD's 25-54? - sure beats using the internet hits :)

Joel Baker
Whats a bonus?

Lee Ann Taylor
I haven't seen one since '03. My companies pulled the plug when too many were being handed out.

Jim Schoebel
i agree with joel on that one!

Don Kellogg
Do what Cumulus does. Get rid of the air talent and give the Pres of the company a huge bonus
about an hour ago · Delete

Lisa Mckay-blake
being an air talent and pd I vote cume!

Steve Shannon
The reality of empty studios after morning shows is sad. Radio stations on weekends are ghost towns. Live night shows,.overnight live talent....GONE! The bean counters are sucking the life out of our industry. Generic voice tracked shows everywhere...ughhh.Keep the bonus,but bring back mom & pop!! We are dying.

Dave Solomon

Carl Enna Jr
Amen, Brother Shannon....can we get a witnesss???

Jay Guyther said...

My suggestion would be an incentive based on both TSL and cume, by daypart and/or demo if appropriate. TSL and cume are the two direct measures of listener behavior. TSL measures the abiity to keep current listeners tuned in while cume measures the ability to attract new listeners. AQH persons, rating and share are calculated from TSL and cume. So stations with the same AQH can and will have very diffferent different cume and TSL measures. In the compressed AQH world of PPM, one really needs to look at cume and TSL.

Jay Guyther
ROI Media Solutions

Jaye Albright said...

Jay, thanks so much for your comment.

However, "TSL" doesn't exist in PPM and moving TSE (time spent exposed) is almost impossible since there are so many occasions per week that the average TSL moves in very small increments.

Or, am I messing something?