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The Truth About Media Stats

The Truth About Media Stats

One of my biggest pet peeves is working with media reps who don’t understand the information they are sending. They are either sending rankers showing why their radio station or TV programs are more popular than the competition, or they’re forwarding information about how other media is struggling.

If you work with a media planner (or do it yourself), make sure that every piece of data is confirmed by research. Often the information is flawed, which can become frustrating. Time is spent reviewing the information; and if it’s not valid, then more time is spent explaining to the station reps why it’s not valid.

Here are a few examples I’ve personally dealt with recently:

“Digital advertising is dead! Ad blocking increased by 31% so that means everyone is blocking digital ads.” While it’s true that digital ad blocking has increased by 31%, the percentage is misleading. Previously, about 3.8% of internet users worldwide use tools to block digital ads. That has now increased to 5%. It’s an increase I need to know about, but it definitely doesn’t mean that digital advertising is dead.

“TV advertising is dead! 625,000 households stopped subscribing to pay TV.” (Are you seeing the pattern here that everything is dying? Seriously, I am so sick of this term). Yes, 625,000 subscribers dropped their pay TV subscriptions last quarter. That brings the total number of cable, satellite, and telco TV subscribers down to 100.4 million. Satellite specifically was hit very hard as they lost 304,000 of those subscribers. This is definitely important information, as it looks like more and more consumers are cord cutting. Unfortunately, at this point, we cannot say for sure. Traditionally, second quarter is very weak for satellite and telco companies as they tend to not do special promotions in the spring. In past years, a number of these households show back up the next quarter as they were moving from cable to telco. We need to continue to track this information, but that doesn’t mean TV isn’t still a viable medium.

“My radio station is #1 among affluent consumers.” When looking at a station ranker, it does indeed look like their station received three times as many listeners as the second top station, but then I dug deeper into the report. Since Nielsen’s radio data does not provide household income for listeners, stations have to layer in market research to show details on their listeners, what their household income is, what interests they have, etc. For example, you can have a sample size of 500 representing the number of area radio listeners aged 35-54. Add in the qualitative data of household income $200K+ and now your sample size is a mere 24 people! Would you be comfortable basing your entire radio schedule off of 24 people surveyed?

“More people listen to my radio station than any other!” As a matter of fact, according to the report I was provided, this is true. Unfortunately, the report is quoting total cume (cumulative) listeners instead of the average number of listeners. Cume would include someone who might tune into the station for one song, but otherwise doesn’t typically listen. You want to know the average number of people who tune in. That is a much more effective estimate for the number of people who will hear the advertisement.

The moral of the story is don’t blindly trust information that is given to you. Due your due diligence and review it thoroughly and research anything you may question. This does take a lot of time so please contact suits@fruchtman.com if you need assistance.

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