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How to Use Nielsen as Currency

How to Use Nielsen as Currency

This column is typically focused on hints and strategies to help a broadcast sales rep increase sales by attracting new advertisers to radio. For that reason, we have not focused on GRPs and CPP, the currency of our industry. In normal times, these metrics are used by existing advertisers to negotiate rate.

However, we are not in normal times. Properly maintaining and garnishing revenue from traditional radio advertisers is more important than ever before. To do that, one needs to make sure they understand that radio listening is greatly impacted by lifestyle. This is especially true in PPM markets, since the PPM records real exposure rather than perceived listening like in diary markets.

Just about every market is beginning to slowly open up and with that, lifestyles are again changing. As the May PPM data begins releasing on June 8th, it is important to note that this survey, and the previous two, do not reflect true radio listening going forward. Just look at the dates the surveys were conducted.

  • March – February 27-March 25
  • April – March 26-April 22
  • May – April 23-May 20

Most markets shut down mid-March, which was the middle of the March survey. At that point, lifestyles and habits, including radio listening habits, changed. Now we are slowly returning to normalcy and life as it was before COVID-19. These three surveys do not reflect what is happening now.

While the January and February surveys are a few months old, they are a better reflection of lifestyle, and therefore radio listening, than the March, April, and May surveys. For those who are more comfortable with a three-book average, the March survey could be added to January and February. In most cases, that would mean that ten of the twelve weeks of the average would reflect the time before markets were shut down.

While this option makes the most sense, buyers are going to look for the upper hand and may want to use the May survey. Because of lower PUMMs, most stations experienced lower ratings, which would directly impact CPP and AUR.

I suggest you allow the buyer to negotiate the best rate they can get (they are going to do that either way), but use data that most closely represents today’s lifestyle and radio habits. It is not about getting the best rate; it is about using the appropriate data.