Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Radio Remains On Arbitron "Radar" Bigtime

Radio Broadcasters Add More Than 1.9 Million Weekly Listeners in the Past Year According to RADAR 109 Radio Broadcasters Add More Than 1.9 Million Weekly Listeners in the Past Year According to RADAR® 109

Radio Attracts More Listeners aged 18 to 34 than a Year Ago

It's truly amazing how stable radio's reach has been for many years, and in spite of all the new media and mobile choices out there, audience behaviors continue to prove how radio usage is a habit driven by regularity, consistency and loyalty.

Those big gains among 18-34's and teens bodes well for the future.

Of course, we can't take this growth in diversity for granted and will also need to keeping working on the quality of our content and levels of engagement of all kinds.

However, it's a solid validation to see that what radio does every minute of every day keeps growing regular usage.


Mary Beth Garber in Radio Ink said...

RADAR’s newest report is consistent with the data that Arbitron, Edison Research and Jacobs Media have produced in the past few months. They all that show that radio listening is quite healthy and people of all ages continue to find its content and presentation compelling. That’s not PR-speak. That’s what the data really shows. Radio continues to thrive because it connects with listeners in ways no other medium can match. RADAR’s findings just reinforce that fact.

Jim Kerr said...

Jaye, I don't think anyone anywhere has ever said that radio has a reach problem, and a strong reach is all that this data shows. I've had meals with venture capitalists, and they all salivate over these numbers. EVERYONE wants a piece of radio's ability to galvanize a large audience.

That's not a problem. No one ever said it was a problem, and focusing on a non-problem is not helpful in addressing future challenges. Radio's problems are in two areas: Revenue and time spent listening. They are not connected.

I dare anyone to show me an advertising growth graph that doesn't have radio sitting toward the "poor performing" end, not too far from newspapers. We at radio cheer over a single digit increase in revenue for the year, where daily deals platforms, digital display, and even streaming audio are growing at double digit rates. Sure, things are "fine" now, but anemic growth in the face of multiple hockey sticks doesn't make one confident for the future, does it? At some point that hockey stick growth will come at at the expense of those poor performers, including radio. Hell, it's happening now.

As to TSL, it is convenient to say "radio is growing!" even as TSL plummets. Certainly part of that is due to the transition to PPM, but if you're going to take the benefits of the increased cume you can't stick your head in the sand about the decrease in TSL. To make matters worse, apples-to-apples comparisons of PPM markets show TSL erosion.

Is it really worth cheering our performance when our core customers are using our product less? What would happen if the CEOs of Wal-mart or Starbucks said, "Sure, our customers are buying less coffee, but more of them are visiting our stores!" They'd get fired, that's what would happen.

I find it alarming that there are people who would have us ignore our problems. Can you imagine if any of your clients ignored long-term TSL erosion and called you a hater of Country radio for pointing out they had a product problem?

Jim Kerr
Triton Digital

Tom Taylor said...

Radio ranks #2 on A&E’s list of “101 gadgets of all time.”

It’s right behind the smartphone – a gadget that increasingly will also function as a radio.

Arbitron supplied some research data to A&E and makes a very valid point – we take radio’s ubiquitous nature completely for granted. We grew up with it, it’s always been in our lives (unlike an iPod or BlackBerry), and when we use a little less of it, we
somehow think it’s dead or dying. The A&E special, produced with Popular Mechanics, even ranks radio ahead of television and personal computers. The
Arbitron data carries another message we forget about – the huge numbers of listeners a Rush Limbaugh can aggregate in a national audience, compared to the measured audiences of TV programs that get ten times more publicity. Emmis’ Jeff Smulyan talks about how radio’s lost a little of its mojo – not its talent or creativity, necessarily. But its confidence and even swagger. The “101 Gadgets” program is a useful reminder of a medium we take for granted – and we really should know better.

Gary Evong said...

"What would happen if the CEOs of Wal-mart or Starbucks said, "Sure, our customers are buying less coffee, but more of them are visiting our stores!" They'd get fired, that's what would happen."

Jim Kerr
Triton Digital

And as Mr. Kerr points out, those CEO's would deserve to be fired.

The problem exists when programmers do nothing to correct TSL erosion given the very valuable PPM data available. The solution is to find out WHY TSL is declining and take corrective action. Taking our product to other platforms (something which Triton is an innovative leader at). Making our product something audiences can wrap their arms around will lead to greater loyalty to the brand, greater TSL and increased cume as these uber-fans act as station evangelists.

Getting audiences to sample a station is deceptively simple, eliminating that which causes them to tune out is the challenge.

Quality, relevance, placement and amount of non-music content are areas which can critically impact TSL. Non-traditional methods of audience engagement are critical to growth and TSL.

Back to the CEO's of Walmart & Starbucks...given that they see more people visiting their stores, but buying less - the smart CEO exploits this information to ensure the customer visit is mutually rewarding.

Consumers have such a tremendous array of media available at the click of a button, our challenge is to those elements which trigger the impulse to click another button.

gary evong

PS: starbucks customers are leaving because tim horton's coffee is better, and less expensive!