I try never miss what Jerry Del Colliano writes.
Then you know that he presented research at his just-concluded Media Solutions Lab in Scottsdale with the intent of warning media content providers that attentions spans have been reduced so drastically that radio stations need to rethink the way they present content.
Streaming video users lose patience after just 2 seconds according to a recent University of Massachusetts study. That’s only 2 seconds and then they move on. Ever wonder why they can’t listen to, say, a talk (bit) that takes ten minutes or more to get a topic rolling?
Half of the people who use a high-speed, fiber-optic connection believe that five seconds is too long to wait for streaming video.
Each additional second of delay resulted in a 5.8 percent increase in the abandonment rate. That’s major. It only takes two additional seconds to lose another 10% of streaming video audiences.
Survey participants were more forgiving when waiting for longer content like movies than for short form videos. But not that forgiving. Ramesh Sitaraman, science professor at the University of Massachusetts sums it up like this: “If you start out with, say, 100 users — if the video hasn’t started in five seconds, about one-quarter of those viewers are gone, and if the video doesn’t start in 10 seconds, almost half of those viewers are gone.”
He advises: "Get into your topic within seconds – perhaps 15 seconds and set the scene as they proceed. The old master Larry King used to be skilled at this before short attention spans became a much discussed attribute of today’s digital age. When Larry did his Mutual show and came back after the hourly news, he was in the interview within a minute."
Two other bits of Del Colliano programming guidance, provided in light of the data, running commercials one at a time instead of in long clusters and that music sweeps are useless shows the danger of applying research on one thing to another, making me think that perhaps he's been out of programming a bit too long, at least for music radio.
Coleman's PPM-based (actual radio usage) finding that 40% of the audience tunes out the instant they think a commercial might be starting.
That factoid notwithstanding, using data from a full year across all 48 PPM® measured markets, the study shows:
- Radio delivers more than 93 percent of its lead-in audience levels during the average commercial break.
- One- to three-minute commercial breaks deliver radio audiences levels that are practically the same as the lead-in audience.
- Longer spot breaks of four to six minutes plus delivers a surprisingly high an average percentage of the lead-in audience level.
- Commercial breaks in morning drive deliver some of the highest percentages of their lead-in audience levels, on average. In the study, you’ll discover what drives this daypart’s performance.
My advice: keep clustering commercials. Work to make them as engaging as possible, but no matter how good they get and how few you run, listeners come in for compelling content delivered by fun personalities who know how to entertain mixed with long sets of music.
It's a mistake to apply research on one topic to something completely different.