Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A New Meter for PPM

At least this meter looks like something from 2000 instead of the 80s look of the old pager meter.  While this may help get more of the panel to carry it more we still have the issue of a very small panel that doesn't change very often when you compare this sample to the larger samples we had (and still have in smaller markets) with the old diary system. Adding more sample would be a real improvement.

Perhaps the bigger news here is behind the scenes as Arbitron buys out IMMI - Integrated Media Measurement Inc.  You may wonder - who are these guys?  Here is their website.  They have been around for at least 3 years and have developed a full 'smart phone' system for collecting data on the media (radio, TV, Web, DVD, DVRs, maybe even more).  The system takes an audio sample from the smart phone every minute and then feeds the digital picture of the audio to the IMMI computer which compares the sample to what it has on file for any media it is measuring and matches up the data.  It is a lot like the BDS system we use to track airplay for music.  They have actually been measuring radio in a few markets but really haven't tried to sell much to radio operators focusing on the advertisers instead.

This could be the move to do all of the data collection on Cell Phones instead of PPM devices in the future.  And watch as Arbitron also moves into measuring all media usage with a cell phone system.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Crowded Web Running Out of Room!!

This is going to remind you of Y2K, but it is a fact this time.  We are running out of room on the Internet for IP addresses.  The current system is based on an addressing scheme designed in the 70s called IPv4 and it has room for around 4 billion addresses.   Well guess what - we are almost there and they figure we will run out of IP addresses in the next 18 months, maybe even sooner.

There is a system update called IPv6.  But, only the really big players like Google and You Tube are set up for IPv6 - really only about 25% of the big servers are in for V6.  V6 and V4 also struggle to get along so we can expect to see slower searches, slower Internet loading, and more crashes as we struggle with translating from V4 to V6.

While we all see so much potential in the web world.  It seems as if the audience views it as a place where everything is free, or everything is real cheap, and a place where you can do anything with any device no matter how small.   The reality is it's a complex place that really can't live in a cost free world.  Space on the WWW frontier will cost someone somewhere and we are all going  have to pay.  We should also expect that this super highway will soon choke up just like a 15 lane expressway in L.A. does just days after the workers finish building it.

Sean Ross from Edison Research and Radio-Info noted in a recent newsletter about his struggles with monitoring station streams on his IPhone.   His monitoring was blown out by dropouts, distorted audio, stream buffers, and freezing audio on his way from home to the office on a regular basis.

Yes the new tech world has tons of potential, but with the crush of the world inventing new devices and ways to hang out in the web world we are running out of space and the web infrastructure to handle it.   Expect more news on this as we ride through more significant growth on an system that probably can't handle all this change.

To catch more on the Web Address Shortage - click here
And for more on Sean Ross' streaming article - click here

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Working With Sales On Promotions

In most operations the days of having a big promotions budget for a contest or funding an event have faded away.  That doesn't have to stop you from building some creative on-air promotions and also helping the sales team work with some very valuable clients.  Yet we often see lots of the ideas we have in the programming meetings fall apart when we try to field them with the sales teams.  Here are some tips for both sales and programming to help build on air promotions together:  

  • Plan Ahead - Walking into a Sales meeting on August 1st to lay out a Fall Client Promotions package is way too late.  You should be approaching the sales team 6-7 months ahead of the promotion start.  
  • Bring lots of ideas and keep an open mind.  Walking in with a detailed plan that requires a Shelby Mustang for the prize and lots of rules/limits will probably end up with no clients wanting to join in.  Look at which clients have done promotions in the past, who is new or looking to make a move in the market.  Then consider what potential their products could have and look for a couple of 'example ideas' to pitch.  
  • Let the Client Join In-  If you let the client have some ownership you will probably make the sale sooner and you'll also have a lot more cooperation during the promotion.  
  • Follow Through: Once you have a promotion set to roll make sure to deliver 110%.  Make sure you get an A grade.   This does become somewhat of a marriage and you don't want to end up in divorce court with the client - it could be costly and tough on your reputation.   
  • Be Patient - If you have enough lead time you can be patient and often it takes a while to get a client interested and find the common ground to build a good promotion for both the station and their business.  
Lastly remember that Job 1 in the sales world is not selling the promotions.  It's about selling commercials and helping the clients market their products, brands and services on the air.  Promotions may help that effort for some.  Also keep in mind that promotions take time from the sales team and that time could be a sales call somewhere else with dollars involved. 

Even though your Spring book is still in the field as I write this you should be well into working on your Fall promotions.  Your sales teams should be including invitations to key clients on participating with the station in Fall promotions and you should have a number of target ideas circulating through the sales department.