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Adapting to a Shifting Market

November 10, 2021

Your market is constantly shifting. A smart programmer knows and properly reacts to these changes. Many times these shifts are subtle and cannot be measured. However, once a year there is a change that can be measured and can impact your success – or how your success is measured.

What are these changes?

Every year Nielsen Audio updates the metro population estimates that factor into their ratings. The October PPM and CDM diary data and the Fall two-book diary data reflect these updated populations estimates. The updates are acquired from the highly respected Claritas, LLC. The new population estimates are based on Fall 2021 Market Definitions and 2020/2010 Census Bureau data updated and projected to January 1, 2022 by Claritas, LLC. The full results from the most recent census are not yet available.

Not only are the overall 6+ (PPM) and 12+ (diary) population estimates updated, various segments are also updated. This includes:

  • Gender
  • Age cell
  • Ethnicity
  • Geography

This is a great time for every programmer to study their market and make sure the segments of the population they are targeting are appropriate for the composition of the market. As market landscapes shift (for example, getting older), a programmer might consider slight tweaks in their format so that they’re not left behind.

Good programmers also need to remember that updates to population estimates impact weighting. Based on Nielsen’s sampling from survey to survey, weighting may vary for each population segment.

So what does a good programmer do?

First – Study your market profile. Since just about every broadcaster is looking for listeners age 18-54, you need to know how the different segments comprise the broad 18-49 or 25-54 demographic groups.

Second – Compare the latest survey to the previous one. These population estimate updates only occur once a year, so now is a good time to see how your market has shifted. Are you still focused on the counties that will have the biggest impact on your ratings?

Understanding the demographic profile of your market and how it affects your Nielsen Audio estimates can make the difference between success and failure. Don’t go fishing for listeners where the stream has dried up.

If you’d like to discuss how the population updates in your market affect your station, reach out to us here.

-Steve Allan, Programming Research Consultant