Tuesday, February 16, 2016

First January Nielsens Bring Holiday Hangover Relief

The first ratings of 2016 are rolling out and - at least on the first day - it’s “thank goodness!” for Country.

While a number of formats are no doubt looking forward to a ratings period that does not include Christmas music, probably no format is more excited to turn the page than country which lost more November-Holiday audience than any other major format.

Here’s how Nielsen trended the 6+ November-Holiday book change-in-share; this includes record 6+ and 18-34 shares for AC (12.9 and 11.5 respectively) as well as a 4-year tie for highest shares 25-54 (12.1).

For country, the first 6+ PPMs that were reported Tuesday (2/16/16) were like a double dose of aspirin and prickly pear extract.

15 of the 21 measured country stations were up (5 were flat and one HD2 channel was off). 

Country, while taking the biggest November/Holiday audience ‘hit,’ is also the major format that tends to ride its January increase the longest increasing shares from the first of the year well into the summer and, last year, to September.

As I posted in an earlier blog, a number of formats see post-holiday increases that begin with a January "build."

Certainly country has challenges ahead. However history suggests that the calendar isn't one of them.

Can I get an “Amen” from country and formats that show steady growth with the start of the new year?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Need Some New Motivation? Imagine Yourself at an NFL Team Meeting

“Peer pressure is one of the greatest motivators in professional football,” former Dallas Cowboys and OU Sooners Coach Barry Switzer told the audience at the talent coaching session at this year’s Country Radio Seminar.

To make his point, Coach Switzer went on to tell the story of a particular Wednesday morning team meeting - Wednesday being the day when the entire Cowboys team would gather to watch videos of last week’s kicking game.  Everyone on the team - whether they’re part of the kicking unit or not - is present.

The video rolled and everybody watched as the individual kicking plays were shown.

It would quickly become obvious who was or was not giving their all.

As one player’s performance was called out as under-performing, Coach Switzer recalled Michael Irvin standing up and, in the presence not only of the offending player but the entire team shout, “Cut him Coach! He's going to cost us wins!"

Immediately I imagined a weekly air check meeting where everyone in the building was summoned to hear breaks from each talent’s week of shows and voice their opinions about the effort the talent was putting forth.

Knowing your work is going to be laid bare and evaluated by your teammates - not only for its in-the-moment impact, but for its positive or negative reflection on the brand and everyone associated with it now and in the future - would indeed be one heck of a motivator!

The thing is, that while we don’t generally put our on air talent through something like this (though it does give you pause), listeners do. 

And they too have a version of “Cut him, Coach!”

It goes something like: “I’m tuning out now because there must be something that's more entertaining than this.”

Hopefully we’re all aspiring to be exceptional every break (or sales call or in responding to a listener touch-point) every day. 

But a little extra motivation is never a bad thing.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Satisfaction and Switching - Listener Hot and Cold Buttons and the Impact of Switchers

Two of the many topics we track in Roadmap – A&O&B’s annual "state of country" online perceptual study – are country listeners' 1) degree of station satisfaction and 2) switching behavior.

As we shared last year in our Pre-CRS seminar, the three-year overall satisfaction level with the country stations in our survey has been consistently high with the percent of respondents reporting they were “Very Satisfied” with their country station averaging 74%.

Playing the best music, having strong and relatable talent who sound like friends, and creating a “feel good” atmosphere have topped the list of listener satisfaction "hot-buttons" for many years running. Music quantity, local DJs, and embracing new music were other qualities that ranked in the top 1/3 of listener responses.

Among listeners who expressed some level of dissatisfaction, song repetition and too many commercials were the top two reasons (again, we’ve seen these two as the top negatives for several years).  There were also concerns over music styles, music mix/chronology, and irrelevant talk/content from the talent. 

For those who were less than satisfied, we asked - among other things - about their switching habits (if any).

Here’s a slide from last year’s Roadmap 2015 presentation of the "switched-to" destinations for 18-54s, in 2014 vs. 2015.

“Another country station” (32% up from 28%), a pure play (31% also up from 28%), and a station with a format other than country (28% up from 24%) were the top responses. 

The biggest decline was “nothing in particular” which fell from 24 to 19% suggesting perhaps that listeners may be developing a self-defined hierarchy of audio alternatives. 

Sharing/switching is an important subject to track as it can identify competitors beyond cume and QHR duplication.

In fact, switching is one of the "deep dive" subjects we'll jump into at our annual A&O&B Pre-CRS Seminar next week. 

Coleman Insights’ President and COO Warren Kurtzman and RCS and Media Monitors President and CEO Philippe Generali are the research leaders in this area they've agreed to share not only their latest intel on the switching habits of country users but - importantly -  the strategic implications of that switching, particularly the different impact a of country listener who turns your station on first vs. switches to your station from another.

The industry premiere of this country listener information is just part of our annual half-day meeting preceding CRS. This year's line up of great presenters and timely topics include:

Don Schlitz, Grammy, CMA & ACM award winning songwriter, and member of the Nashville Songwriters Association Hall of Fame will share insights on storytelling including how to find ideas and bring them to life with words.

Stephanie Friedman, VP Radio Nielsen Entertainment will reveal insights on streaming data and offer streaming strategies for radio.

Attorney Stacey Schlitz will speak on contracts, protecting intellectual property such as content, and performance rights, and other issues unique to the entertainment field – all of which are especially relevant as stations become increasingly involved with concerts.

Another highlight each year is a live, intimate performance and photo op from an emerging artist/group.

To that end we're very appreciative of the continued support of BMLG’s Republic Nashville. Last year attendees were treated to an amazing set of music from A Thousand Horses. This year year our featured artist is Republic Nashville's Brett Young

We hope you’re planning to join us Monday February 8, 2016 at the new home of the Country Radio Seminar, The Omni Downtown Nashville, from 10:30 am-1:30pm. The A&O&B Pre-CRS Seminar is free and is open to all clients as well as to broadcasters in non-competitive situations. 

You can RSVP toaobprecrs@aandoandb.com.

And, if you haven't yet registered for CRS 2016 you can do so here