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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 do not understand the information that they are sending to me.  They are either sending me rankers showing why their radio station or TV programs are more popular than the competition or forwarding me information about how another media medium is struggling.

A good media person reviews every single piece of data that comes to them and then does their own research to confirm said data.  So when the information I’m reviewing is obviously (in my opinion) flawed it is very frustrating as I already wasted time looking it over and now I know that I am going to spend more time explaining to the rep why their data is not valid.

My favorite examples over the past few weeks:

  • “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 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 information that is important 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 does not mean TV isn’t still a viable medium.
  • My radio station is #1 among affluent consumers.  When looking at the ranker they sent it does indeed look like their station received three times as many listeners than the second top station, but then I did deeper into the report.    Since Nielsen’s radio data does not provide household income for listeners, stations must layer in market research to show details on their listeners; what their household income is, what interests they have, etc.  What this really does is take a sample size of say 500 that represents the number of area radio listeners aged 35-54 and lower it to 24 when the research takes into account the number of those listeners that have a household income of $200K+.  Would you be comfortable basing your entire radio schedule off of 24 people surveyed?  If I’m not comfortable spending your money that way you shouldn’t be.
  • “More people listen to my radio station than any other!”  As a matter of fact, according to the report I was given, this is true.  Unfortunately, the report is quoting total cume 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.  We want to know the average number of people who tune in as that is a much more effective estimate for the number of people who will hear the advertisement.

The moral of the story is to not 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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