Country was a format with much greater loyalty 20 years ago. The mainstream AC listeners who were using Country as a P-2 back then are moving away from that format and are changing the face of the country audience now, growing our cume and shares, but reducing loyalty levels that we once took for granted. And, that's not even mentioning the fickle Millenials who have been turning on to country since they were teens.
Success has it's costs, as the country audience becomes more like the mass culture and less qualitatively unique.
Another price of this growth: once, country's "conversion ratio" was 1.42, but as average shares have increased, the format hasn't been able to convert ratings to revenue at the same rate.
The country format's growth is clearly less dependent than ever before on retaining long listening spans from a small base of very loyal listeners as less-loyal Gen Y has come into our universe.
Just a few years ago, country would have been on the top of the list of 'loyal formats.' Today, shifting demo targets, increased duplication, competition and PPM have made country radio less exclusive. Diary measurement still picks up exclusive cumes (folks who write down no other radio station in their book other than their favorite one. The great thing about PPM is the fact that the average radio station's cume doubles. The bad news is that the average listener is shown to actually listen to almost twice as many radio stations as are seen in diaries and exclusive cume listeners are practically non-existent.
Next time, let's think about ways to improve the loyalty of your audience.
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