The Media Audit … A Smart Sell for Developers

The Media Audit … A Smart Sell for Developers

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From the ARAnet On Line Libraryof Public Radio ResearchThe Media Audit:A Smart Sell for Developersby David Giovannoni(4 pages)Originally published as:Giovannoni, David. “Radio Intelligence: The Media Audit — A Smart Sell for Developers.”Current, Vol. 10, No. 22, December 2, 1991.aranet.comCopyright © 1991Corporation for Public BroadcastingCopyright © 1999David Giovannoni, Audience Research AnalysisAll rights reservediiTHE MEDIA AUDITA SMART SELL FOR DEVELOPERSby David GiovannoniThere is no such thing as “soft sell” and “hard sell.”There is only “smart sell” and “stupid sell.” — Charles Brower, BBDO PresidentYour station’s audience may not be the larg- at a relatively fine (quarter-hour) level ofest in town, but it’s surely the most efficient precision, Arbitron is where you go to findat reaching certain types of listeners. Un- how (and how many) people are using yourderwriters appreciate efficiency, particularly station, other stations, and radio in general.in lean economic times like today’s. Anytool that demonstrates your station to be the Who are these people? Unfortunately formost efficient way to reach an audience will, developers, Arbitron keeps response ratesin the hands of a smart developer, pay for high by ascertaining only the age, gender,itself many times over. and (in certain markets) ethnicity of its re-spondents. We were once able to recontactFor many stations, The Media Audit from Arbitron's diary keepers and ask ...

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From theARAnetOn-Line Library of Public Radio Research
The Media Audit: A Smart Sell for Developers
Originally published as:
by David Giovannoni (4 pages)
Giovannoni, David.“Radio Intelligence:The Media Audit — A Smart Sell for Developers.” Current, Vol. 10, No. 22, December 2, 1991.
aranet.com
Copyright © 1991 Corporation for Public Broadcasting Copyright © 1999 David Giovannoni, Audience Research Analysis All rights reserved
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THEMEDIAAUDIT A SMARTSELLFORDEVELOPERS
by David Giovannoni
There is no such thing as “soft sell” and “hard sell.” There is only “smart sell” and “stupid sell.”  —Charles Brower, BBDO President
Your station’s audience may not be the larg est in town, but it’s surely the most efficient at reaching certain types of listeners.Un derwriters appreciate efficiency, particularly in lean economic times like today’s.Any tool that demonstrates your station to be the most efficient way to reach an audience will, in the hands of a smart developer, pay for itself many times over.
For many stations, The Media Audit from International Demographics, Inc. is such a tool. Thecompany’s literature describes the product as “a multimedia survey conducted for the purpose of developing statistically re liable information about the audience levels and audience characteristics of radio sta tions, evening TV news programs, daily newspapers, and other selected local and re gional print publications.The Media Audit also collects socioeconomic information, product buying plans, and purchasing activ ity for numerous products, services, retail stores, and financial institutions that can be used to define the quality of individual me dia audiences...”
One way to understand this syndicated re search service is to compare it to theArbi tron, Birch, and Simmons studies with which most public broadcasters are familiar. Arbitron provides the most useful and reli able data for programming decisions.By measuring radio use over a seven day period
at a relatively fine (quarterhour) level of precision, Arbitron is where you go to find how (and how many) people are using your station, other stations, and radio in general.
Who are these people?Unfortunately for developers, Arbitron keeps response rates high by ascertaining only the age, gender, and (in certain markets) ethnicity of its re spondents. Wewere once able torecontact Arbitron's diary keepers and ask additional questions about education, income, and other demographics (as theCheap90study, AUDIENCE88, and a few public stations did). But this was expensive, and Arbitron no longer provides this service to its clients.
AVAILABILITY
The Media Audit is a printed report available to media, advertising agencies, and advertisers.A companion product to this report is computer software designed to prepare analytical reports to be used in sales presentations by media cli ents. TheMedia Audit is also available in third party software programs from Strata Marketing and Tapscan, as well as in Arbitron's software.
For further information contact: International Demographics, Inc. 3000 Richmond Avenue, Suite 170 Houston, Texas77098 7135221016
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Enter Simmons Market Research Bureau. NPR has been making Simmons data avail able to its members since 1981 in the form of The NPR AudienceArbitron,. Compared to Simmons has a simple measure of radio lis tening; at best it amounts to a twoday cume. Itprovides no hourbyhour or meaningful daypart information; and, be cause it is a national study, it does not pro vide data on individual stations.
Simmons' forte is the wealth of demograph ic, psychographic, and media and product usage information it provides about the pub lic radio audience.Having all this informa tion in one database has made some interesting science possible.For instance, in the early 1980s researchers at NPR used the Simmons database to demonstrate that edu cation is the primary determinant of public radio listening —not wealth, social class, or the political ideologies that tend to result from education.
The Simmons database is not so much a sci entific instrument as it is a sales tool.Its ability to show the efficiency with which public radio reaches consumers of selected products and services is an integral part of the development arsenal at many public sta tions and at NPR.Moreover, Simmons is used to compare public radio's efficiency with that of television, newspapers, and magazines —but only at the national level.
National numbers are fine for NPR, but they are less useful for stations wanting to local 1 ize their pitches.Enter Birch.Birch's measurement of radio use lies somewhere between Arbitron’s and Simmons’— the extent to which it reports listening is closer to Arbitron.Birch gathers a few more
1 Note: Birchhas gone out of business since this article has been written.
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demographic characteristics than Arbitron, and like Simmons it ascertains listeners’use of select products and services; but the ex tent of this information is nowhere near what Simmons provides.
EFFICIENCY Being efficient at reaching a target audience does not necessarily mean that a station has the largest audience.The table below compares two stations.Each charges five dollars to reach 1,000 listeners.Station B reaches 25 percent more listeners in an underwriter's (or adver tiser's) target.However, station A is more effi cient —80 percent of its audience is in the tar get, compared with only 50 percent of station B's. Onstation A, the message is wasted on oneinfive listeners (those not in the target); on station B, the message is wasted on oneintwo listeners. The company sponsoring the message will clearly reach more people on station B.But as cost per thousand is based on total audience, it will not only pay more to reach its target on sta tion B, it will pamore per taret listener reached. Thismakes a strong case for station A. The company can either pocket the difference, or it can spend its savings to increase the fre quency with which listeners on station A are exposed to its message. Two Stations, DifferinEfficiencies Cost Per Thousand = $5.00 Station AStation B Total Audience10,000 20,000 Tar etAudience 8,00010,000 Efficiency 80%50% Cost Per Message$50.00 $100.00 Cost Per Thousand Listeners in Target$6.25 $10.00
Birch’s somewhat compromised position between Arbitron and Simmons comes with one outstanding benefit: Birch is local which allows a public radio station to use data about itself in underwriting presentations (with the same limitations on noncom mercial use as Arbitron —at least for now).
The Media Audit can be thought of as a local Simmons report.Although not as detailed as Simmons in its demographics or in its re porting ofproduct and service use, The Me dia Audit gives public stations a much broader and more detailed qualitative look at their listeners —and the listeners of their competitors —than does Arbitron or Birch.
The Media Audit reports your station’s effi ciency in reaching a wide range of targets. Besides its respectable battery of demo graphic data (including education, income, occupation, race, and political affiliation) it provides attractive information on where people shop (local retail stores, supermar kets, and shopping malls/centers), where they carry out their financial transactions, their domestic and foreign air travel and car ownership, and so forth.Your station’s effi ciency can be compared with other radio and television stations, cable, newspapers, maga zines, and billboards.
The first use to which developers can put this information is in preparing underwriting
presentations. Butnumerous other devel opment applications abound, such as identi fying retail or media cohorts with which to undertake joint endeavors, or placing adver tising or promotional messages on other media.
In addition to its uniqueness and utility, The Media Audit can be quoted more effectively than either Arbitron or Birch.Arbitron and Birch contractually prohibit public broad casters from comparing themselves to com mercial stations in their underwriting presentations. TheMedia Audit makes no restriction. Youcan use call letters to show underwriters how your station stacks up against any other radio station in the market. However, you must refer to all media other than radio by a “neutral code.”
The Media Audit is not conducted in every market. Whereavailable, however, its sta tionspecific, local market data will help de velopment people work even smarter, and, of course, with greater reward to the station.
David Giovannoni heads Audience Research Analysis, an independent firm specializing in radio audience research. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting funded this re port. Opinionsexpressed in it are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect opinions or policies of the corporation.
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MEASURINGRADIOUSE
Like Arbitron and Birch, The Media Audit measures sevenday cumes and cume ratings for all major ra dio stations in the market.But cume is all it measures; there are no average audience or share estimates, nor are estimates made at the hourly or even daypart level.This is in keeping with the study’s primary use as a crossmedia sales tool, rather than as a singlemedium programming implement.
However, the study does break out an important cume segment unlike any available inArbitron’s or Birch’s standard reports.A whole section of the report shows information about the “most often audi ence” —that is, the people who listen to a given radio station more often than to any other —the audi ence that can be reached more efficiently on that station than on any other in the market.Although the method of measurement differs, this is the same definition used for “core” audience byAUDIENCE 88 AudiGraphics, and other studies wellknown in public radio. METHOD The Media Audit report market is based on telephone interviews conducted Tuesday through Friday evenings and all day Saturday.Its sample, between 800 and 1600 respondents living in the metro area, is based on a list of working telephone numbers on which the seventh digit is replaced with a random number. Thecompany claims this method insures the retention of a proportionately dispersed sample by geographic area, and that all telephone households —both listed and unlisted —have an equal op portunity of being included in the survey sample. Half of the interviews are conducted with male headsofhousehold and half with female headsof household. Personsunder the age of 18 are not interviewed.The completed survey sample is weighted by age, sex, ethnicity, and county population in the metro area.
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