Was a radio tuning myth debunked during last Friday’s web presentation by Astral on the first full currency year of PPM results in Canada?
Summer, it seems, isn’t the write-off we all thought it was. With PPM comes a new measure over one full year of radio tuning across the four seasons – in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.
In Toronto, consistency for 18-54s across all seasons.
Edmonton tuning dropped in winter, then picked up in spring and increases were found in summer.
Vancouver had consistency in fall, winter and spring with a 9% tuning hours drop in summer.
Calgary saw highest tuning in fall while winter and spring were flat and summer was up 6%.
In Montreal, spring and summer were up slightly compared to fall and winter.
My first take: since the measure is now 6+ and not 12+ as is the case in diary ratings, the impact of family vacations and children and teen radio use during summer months and the lack of it during the periods when students are in school could be distorting adult "away from home" listening estimates.
Or, are we just looking at variations in the statistical reliability of five different panel samples and nothing real at all?
Jim Seiler invented diary measurement of broadcasting in 1949 and was fond of reminding his clients for many years "don't believe anything in Arbitron until you see it three times."
That is why I am hoping ARB, which will have 43 PPM markets online by the end of the year will start tracking the seasonality of total persons using radio too, so that we don't have to wait three more years to find out if the Astral researchers have spotted a meaningful trend or just sample wobbles which will be totally different in another year.
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