RECAP: PPM FORMAT STUDY
Despite the continued controversy over PPM’s impact on ethnic-skewing stations, the Research Director/Inside Radio PPM Formats Study has a surprising conclusion. With an average 7.8 AQH share per market, urban AC is the top 6+ format in the 16 major markets where PPM has been currency since June. Our weeklong exclusive series digs into format and daypart results.
The study shows urban AC is followed by AC (7.8), news/talk (6.7), country (6.4) and CHR (6.0). “There is great parity across formats,” says Research Director Inc. president Charlie Sislen. “All of the top five formats have very close average shares per market.” The study reconfirms the highly-targeted nature of radio, with vast differences in how formats perform in individual demos.
Sports is second in men 18+ with a 7.1 but dead last in women (18+) where AC wins. CHR is tops in 18-34 with a 9.4 but fifth in 25-54 with a 5.7. The study also affirms the power of the regional Mexican format, which ranks #6 in 6+, second in 18-34, fourth in 18-49 and third in 25-54 in the markets where it exists. “This study will not predict how formats will perform when a market converts to PPM,” Sislen says. “Individual market dynamics are far more important in PPM and every market is unique.”
It’s important to note that the format averages in the study reflect only the markets among the 16 studied where the format exists. Stations with a 0.5 (6+) AQH share or higher, Monday-Sunday, 6 am-12 midnight, were included. Stations’ four-month average shares (July-October) were added up and divided by the number of markets where the format exists. Only formats represented in at least eight of the 16 markets were included. The study is based on Inside Radio format designations.
The report underscores the impact of a market's ethnicity. Urban AC’s surprise #1 appearance, along with that of regional Mexican at #6, reflects the high concentration of African Americans and Hispanics in the 16 large markets covered in the study. “These markets have a much heavier and more diverse ethnicity,” notes Sislen.
The format rankers would likely be much different after Arbitron completes rollout of the PPM in the top 50 markets, where less ethnically diverse populations would be included in the sample. In fact, there are large fluctuations in how some formats fare in the new study compared to Arbitron’s National Radio Format Shares, which was based on the fall 2008 diary and October-November-December PPM survey periods. Formats that play better in smaller, less ethnically diverse markets, such as country, classic rock and classic hits, ranked significantly higher in the Arbitron study, while urban AC clocked in at #8 and regional Mexican at #11.
Despite strong showings in the new Formats Study, urban and Hispanic formats lost significant share in many markets in the conversion from the diary to PPM. A November 2008 Research Director study showed urban AC declined 17.2%, Urban lost 14.4% and Spanish formats declined 10.3% in the eight major markets that had recent diary ratings as well as October 2008 PPM data. “Even though it appears Urban AC does well in PPM, you have to look at how well it did in the diary to see it actually has lost the most shares among the major formats,” says Inner City Broadcasting-
Apart from CHR, the top five formats in the Research Director/Inside Radio study have at least two stations programming them in the markets where they exist. Although regional Mexican and urban AC performed well, numerous stations are splitting up the ratings pie. The former boasts 27 stations in 11 markets while the latter averages two per market in 11 markets. “The study shows how many stations specific formats will support,” Sislen notes. Sports, for example, is second in men 18+, but has an average of 2.4 stations per market, making for a very fragmented format. Adult hits, on the other hand, has 11 stations in 11 markets. “The reason we looked at market share is to assess appetite for various formats within an average market,” says Sislen.
Under-represented formats posted higher average shares per station. With just 15 stations in 13 of the study’s 16 markets, all-news tied for #1 with CHR (25 in 16 markets) and urban AC (22 in 11 markets) in average share per station with a 3.9.
Download the full report HERE.
Download the week-long series recap HERE. (see "Related Links" for individual stories)
Have a comment on the study? Email them to Inside Radio senior editor Paul Heine at email@example.com.
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