Friday, March 23, 2012

Your Cume Needs To Be 30% Higher

Coleman compared a full year of audience data on 13 "High Performance Stations" -- so designated because their Adults 18-49 audience shares were significantly larger than the shares of competing stations -- to 68 other stations in Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver using InfoSys+ radio software from BBM Analytics.

Among other findings, this comparison revealed that:
  • The average Daily Cume Rating of the High Performance Stations was 130% higher than the average for the non-High Performance Stations
  • High Performance Stations achieved slightly higher Time Spent Listening levels, primarily because they generate an average of 5.6 listening sessions per day, 15% more than the 4.9 average number of daily listening sessions generated by non-High Performance Stations
  • At 69.9%, the proportion of listening High Performance Stations generate out-of-home is higher than the 62.9% of listening generated out-of-home by non-High Performance stations
"Our findings are similar to those we uncovered in a similar analysis of American PPM data in 2009" said Coleman Insights VP Doug Hyde, who authored the study. "They support the idea that those radio stations that are well-known, have clearly-defined positions and have brand attributes that listeners want to affiliate with are the most likely to perform well under PPM measurement."

I find it sadly ironic that
BBM Analytics' blog still includes a link to a very nice concept "Creating Passionate Users" since the very radio formats with the most passionate users are the ones which tend to do worst in PPM measurement due to the too-small sample sizes where the only number they seem to be able to track reliably is 6+ cume. You'd think that the ratings firms who do the measurement would understand that by now, but it seems that they do not. (3/26: be sure to read the comments, where I am called to task for stretching a blog link into a point at least one step too far and I apologize to BBM for it, then try to explain why I am so worried about this issue)

Yes, at a time when media fragmentation is the megatrend, it would be very nice if radio's audience measurement system wasn't crushing radio stations with small, but loyal and reponsive audiences, but that's simply not the way it is. Listeners look to radio for more diversity and variety now and yet PPM's tiny (compared to what would be ideal) panel samples reward just the opposite.

Forget about "passionate users" until PPM samples double or triple. Until then, it's all about cume, cume, cume.


Radio Ink said...

Media Ratings Council CEO/Executive Director George Ivie appeared on a panel at the Radio Ink Hispanic Radio conference yesterday and we did ask him about Arbitron. Watch the video:

David Phillips said...

Hi Jaye

As the bloke who runs one of the companies you're criticizing (incorrectly, as I'll point out), I feel there are a few things I need to clear up. Sorry to do this again but I need to correct a few factual errors you've made in your piece.

Firstly, as I've pointed out to you on several other occasions, BBM Analytics doesn't create the ratings. That's BBM Canada. This isn't like the US where the same company makes the ratings and the software.

Secondly, BBM Analytics didn't produce the study that talked about the importance of daily cume. That was Coleman Insights. So even if we were the company that produced the ratings, your link between the study and the sample would be incorrect.

Also, the data is 2+, not 6+ (you're confusing US with Canada again).

In addition, your link of supposedly small samples leading to a focus on cume makes no sense either statistically or logically. The reliability of data has no relation at all to what statistic is chosen to analyse it. This isn't a PPM thing, it's a basic stats thing.

There are a few other things in there that don't seem to make sense to me, but I'll leave them for another time.

So overall, your point about PPM somehow only allowing cume to be used is incorrect, and the facts that you've used to make that point are also incorrect (sadly, ironically).



Jaye Albright said...

David, I so appreciate your post and have to admit that you are 100% right, of course, and I was being unfair.

Fresh in my mind as I saw the Coleman "cume needs to be 130% higher than average study" was the recent BBM day of education around PPM in Vancouver. I was not there, but I hear it had some pretty spirited debate in a session that a group of broadcast and agency types hosted. What I have been told is that only a very few stations are getting rates anything like they once were able to command and majority are getting hurt so badly by this system since they only get bought after everyone else is full and they have to lower their rates to hit GRPs like they haven't had in many years, before PPM.

One attendee at the meeting asks "how the heck we can make this thing work for us and not see us all go Top 40 or CHR."

Radio Ink's recent Hispanic conference in San Diego was full of similar complaints that US Broadcasters in Urban stations and Spanish stations are having a very difficult time getting reporting to happen too.

Common sense dictates that you need to buy more than the top 4 stations for effective over all reach and to not hit the same listeners over and over. Finally a few buyers are seeing this is folly, but the majority still are not.

Some agencies are buying crazy Frequency on the top few stations just trying to build up points.

Finally, some agency types are starting to realize that audience turnover is an important stat to look at seeing as TSL over 13 weeks is a somewhat useless stat,

I know that's not Analytics or really even BBM, yet I guess I don't like to see the score so lopsided and want the referees to do more to help the little guys who are faced with abandoning programming diversity or cutting costs to make what used to be their cash flow number by finding a way to program more cheaply, which is going to be very counter-productive long term.

Robert Feder, Time Out Chicago said...

Comeback cut short: Rewind ejects Robert Murphy. Some commenters blame PPM.