ROI Media’s Mark O’Neill at Arbitron Client Conference in Annapolis:

How much is a tenth of a rating point worth?

Track “Persons Using Measured Media” (PUMM) vs Your Audience Flow

Example:  clean up a station’s 11:45 quarter hour by eliminating a stop set and moving those units into other breaks resulted in rating point growth from a .5 to a .6.  Just doing this at a time when total radio audience (cume) is going up, got the station up to a .8 after several months of having done this.

Example #2:  5:15 pm.  Took commercials out of the 5:15 break and doubled the units in the 5:45 break.  Stopped only once that hour and within two months that quarter hour had almost doubled and the long stopset at 5:45 took down the rest of the daypart.  However, since the market’s PUMM was also going down at that time as opposed to earlier in the 5 pm hour, they went from a .3 to a .6 in the daypart with just that one stopset change.

A little inside baseball from JA:  A&O&B “Post-survey Box Scores” reports routinely contain this info for both all our PPM and diary markets for this reason.  Clean out the highest/growing market audience quarter hours and place clutter into quarter hours with dwindling market audience to improve the entire daypart.
The goal:  even out the station’s audience flow quarter hour by quarter hour and avoid extreme “up” and “down” quarter hours.

Revenue goes down almost immediately when PPM rating points drop, but can often take several months for the revenue to catch up with audience increases. 

Lesson:  it’s worth money to do what it takes to stabilize and grow rating points. Look for opportunities within your cluster where a nominal increase in AQH would yield a move up to the next tenth of a  rating point to optimize rating point-driven revenue.  That’s when the programmer and sales are on the same page.

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