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Is It Really a Tie?

January 6, 2022

There is a saying in sports: “A tie is like kissing your sister.” Forget the political (in)correctness – it demonstrates how we all feel about a tie. However, is a tie always a tie?

I was recently looking at a San Francisco ranker and the number one station in the market had an Adult 25-54 AQH rating of a 0.2. So did the #2 through #11 stations. Does that mean all of these stations are tied, and therefore equal?

Obviously, the answer is NO!

So what is the difference?

First, there’s the simple mathematics. As we’ve addressed several times, AQH ratings are a rounded version of AQH persons, just divided by the population. They are rounded to the tenth of a rating point. Let’s say the #1 station has an AQH persons estimate of 7,000 and an unrounded AQH rating of 0.21058, while the #11 station has an AQH persons estimate of 5,100 and an unrounded AQH rating of 0.15342. In reality, the #1 station delivers 37% more audience than the #11 station. Yet on an AQH rating basis, they’re tied at 0.2 after rounding. That’s why many in our industry are converting from AQH rating and GRPs to AQH persons and Gross Impressions.

More importantly, the difference goes well beyond rounding. In the category of “duh” statements, each of these stations is different. They deliver different:

  • Consumer groups
  • Demographic skews
  • Qualitative profiles
  • Audience trends
  • On-air sound
  • Geographic appeal
  • Ad efficacy

Simply put, these stations are not equal, and a buyer is doing their client a disservice by choosing simply based on who can deliver the lowest Cost Per Point.

Buying solely off a ranker is a mistake. Yes, it’s more work to go beyond the ranker, but advertisers need to understand what the station is all about and who they are delivering beyond AQH ratings. It is our job, whether you represent the #1 or the #11 station on the ranker, to tell that story and differentiate who your audience is and how you are the best choice for that advertiser.

This is one of our specialties. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you make your case to advertisers, please reach out to us here.

-Karen Morriss, Director of Client Services