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The Vital Few (Part 1)

September 5, 2012

Ever heard of Pareto’s Principle? Also known as the 80-20 Rule, it explains the uneven distribution seen so many places in life. Speaking in generalities, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. That divides things into the “vital few” and the “trivial many.”

The same holds true for radio. A small percentage of a station’s cume contributes a large percentage of their time spent listening. Arbitron has found that, in PPM-measured markets, First Preference (P1) listeners represent 20% of a station’s cume and 63% of a station’s AQH audience. In diary-measured markets, the numbers are similar – P1 listeners represent 33% of a station’s cume and 70% of a station’s AQH audience.

With more competition for advertising dollars than ever before, try taking a fresh look at these core listeners and their value to advertisers. Heavy users provide two major benefits to advertisers:

  1. They have an emotional relationship with the medium.
  2. They will receive a given advertising message more frequently.

Nearly one-fifth (18.3%) of the Adult 18+ population are heavy radio users, defined as 180 or more minutes of radio listening on an average day – that’s at least 21 hours per week!

So what does this group look like? Well, they are gender-balanced, at 51.6% male and 48.4% female. Nearly three-fifths (59.1%) are ages 18-49, and nearly three-fifths (59.0%) are ages 25-54. Heavy radio users are also ethnically diverse: 15.1% Black, 18.8% Hispanic, 56.5% White, and 9.8% of other ethnicities.

Qualitatively, lots of desirable consumer groups are more likely than average to be heavy radio users.  Compared to the average Adult 18+:

  • B2B decision-makers are 9% more likely to be heavy radio users.
  • Future vehicle consumers are 22% more likely to be heavy radio users.
  • Future home buyers are 17% more likely to be heavy radio users.
  • Those who plan to remodel their home in the next year are 20% more likely to be heavy radio users.
  • Frequent fast-food consumers are 42% more likely to be heavy radio users.

Research Director, Inc.’s study can be found in our Industry Resources section, under Presentations.

The next question, then, is how these heavy radio users compare to heavy users of other media. Check back next week to find out!

-Anne Doyle, Programming Research Consultant

First paragraph: F. John Reh, The 80-20 Rule, About.com Guide
Second paragraph: Arbitron & DMR, P1s in the PPM World, September 2007
Data: The Media Audit, 2011 National Report, Jan11-Feb12, Adults 18+