Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Radio Week That Was 10/14

PPM: While the economy continues to be a wild ride we also still have the PPM controversy with NY and NJ looking to stop PPM with law suits.

This past week we got the first look at some of the new PPM markets - NY and surrounding areas, LA and the vicinity, Chicago and San Francisco/San Jose. So let's take a look at a few markets to see what the big difference is when we compare the 12 plus shares from July, August and September in the PPM world to the 2007 12 plus averages over the 4 books:

  • New York: The Hispanic stations are off around 2.3 shares and the Urban/Rhy station are really up around 1.5 shares 12 plus over their 2007 share averages. While the Spanish formats did fall over 20% the Urban's are actually UP. The other winners were N/T (up 3.8 shares), ACs (up 2), Rock (up 2) Classic Hits/Oldies (up 1.6) and CHR (up 1 share).
  • Los Angeles: Hispanic shares were off just 1 share under 4% and urban shares were off 1 share which is around 10%. The gains were similar for the rest of the formats.
  • Chicago: Urban was off 4 shares, Hispanic down 1.5 shares while Rock picked up 4.2 shares, AC was up 3 shares, and N/T was up 2.4 shares.

Yes there are some big moves here with so many of the NON-Hispanic and Urban formats gaining a lot of market share. But, outside of the Urban fall off in Chicago there isn't that much downward movement. In the high Hispanic world of LA they are only off 4%. In NY look at the gains for the Urban/Rhy formats! Consider that this summer was dominated by a huge political season the big N/T gains could roll off after the election, those N/T shares could stabilize a little more as we get into 09.

Perhaps I'm biased, but it seems like a lot of action to go to lawsuits and state motivated legal action over these comparisons. We've all had books that moved up and down 10% - perhaps we should have called the state AG instead of the Arbitron rep.

Economy: While these swings and the recession (yes we are in one even through the govt. won't admit it) can be tough times for the sales team as well as the budgets. But, keep in mind that radio has CLEAR advantages for advertisers:

  1. Those who take advantage of the moment and market their product with a well targeted message can make huge gains in this economy. Just like those who bought when the market hit bottom last week made huge gains this week, the same happens in the market place.
  2. Radio is a bargain: The rates and production are reasonable to low and you can reach HUGE audiences without blowing the bank account.
  3. Radio is proven: This isn't some Internet gamble that may not draw business. The radio model has worked for years.

It might be time to revamp the pitch and re-tool the packages with these 3 facts as keys.

It's also time to take advantage of the opportunity to build your product. We all know the road to making great/entertaining radio will come from having compelling products that interface with the community and entertain beyond the music. Reach out and really enteratin the audience - they need it. It's also your opportunity to invest now and really make gains as the markets recover.

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