Wednesday, September 12, 2007

#3 - TSL Realities for PPM and Diaries

In part 3 of the PPM realities we can all learn from we take a look at TSL.

#3 – Extending TSL: While the TSL is lower in PPM and higher in the diary the challenge is always the same – get more! The longer they listen the higher the ratings go. The difference in PPM and Diary TSL mostly comes from the higher number of stations the sample is listening to in the PPM world. The average diary in Houston had 2.6 stations listed while the average PPM device recorded 4.4. In Philly diaries came in with 3.6 and PPMs recorded 6.6.

Capturing more stations on the PPM will lower the average for the number of quarter hours (or TSL) spent with each one. You also lose a lot of those super heavy diaries – you know the ones with 75 or more quarter hours. In fact the decay starts with PPM at around 25 quarter hours. PPM meters don’t rely on recall and don’t get lazy and they don’t wait till Thursday morning to jot down a few stations.

If you live in the diary world you will still have to live with those super heavy listening diaries and with sample weighting they can cause the number to bounce a lot. We’ve all seen a young male who logged tons of listening to a soft AC station push their numbers way up with weighting. The next book the numbers fall apart for the AC as they ‘didn’t win the statistical sample lottery again.’

What we can really learn here is that ‘real gains’ in TSL are what we need to focus on. They come from:

Not getting off track musically. You can call it ‘playing the hits’ but a boring turnover of the same 20 high testing songs can be very damaging to TSL. It’s more about living up to the expectations that the audience has and also leading them to new worlds within their musical expectations.

It’s more about a few minutes. How many times do we launch a big campaign for 20 in a row and think they will listen for the whole 90 minutes? No problem I’ll just sit here in the driveway for another ½ hour till you’re done with song 20. Or we set up a contest with a magic song they have to hear and expect them to listen all day and be the 55th caller. Setting realistic expectations is the better way. How about a billboard within a sweep of music that sets up a big song coming in a few minutes? Building more music campaigns more on ‘overall images’ (hour after hour WACD delivers the most Classic Rock in the valley – listen and prove it to your self) – instead of 10 in a row.

Talent really matters. Compelling personalities and creative imaging between the songs no only attracts cume it also holds them. But, watch how much you use the talent and imaging. We’ve made the mistakes of too much talk from the DJs in the past and we’ve also made the mistake of pounding the audience down with sweeper after sweeper which soon becomes seen as hype. Entertain them and don’t waste their time.

The measurement systems may be different, but the tools are the same. Like a great meal – don’t under cook it and don’t over cook it. Assemble with care.

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