RBR’s exclusive PPM Roundtable discussion covered some interesting territory besides whether or not the Portable People Meter rollout should resume in September. MindShare President of Local Broadcast Kathy Crawford, who is retiring this month, questioned whether young people today relate to radio. “They’ve got MP3 players and little screen TVs and all kinds of other things. And radio – you know, tuning in to a dial is not [what they do] – and who does the planning? The planning is done by young people, so the story really is not has nothing to do with the PPM,” she said.
“I think the reality Kathy, you zeroed in on it, it doesn’t matter what media you’re in. I happen to work with a very large media company and I don’t care what advertising supported business you’re talking about whether it’s television, radio, newspapers, even cable ad sales are not growing or growing very, very slowly –and the same is starting to happen with a lot of the Internet businesses when you see Yahoo and Google report that they are neutral on click-throughs,” said Cox Radio CEO Bob Neil.
So, where will growth come from?
“The way the industry is going you can separate the local advertisers from the big agencies and the way they’re looking at media. As far as media planning goes it’s not so much done by a planner sitting alone with a spreadsheet as these very complex optimization models where a lot more data goes in than simple audience levels across media. All kinds of other sources are integrated into it. That’s a lot different than people sitting in a local market who feel confident to select from a relatively small selections of options and say they want to put some money into TV and some money into radio. Without the electronic measurement certainly you can do what people have always done and buy what your brother-in-law listens to or what the diaries show or you can buy the station that hires the salesman who buys you the best lunch. There’s a lot of ways to go about that but the richer and more intricate process requires electronic data for processing. I think radio will just get left out of that mix entirely,” said Initiative Media Exec. VP of Local Media Janice Finkel-Greene of what might happen if radio doesn’t move to electronic measurement.
Our panelists noted repeatedly that none of them were opposed to electronic measurement. Neil and Crawford, however, pressed Arbitron President of Sales & Marketing Pierre Bouvard to keep the PPM rollout on hold until one of the Radio First methodology markets (currently Philadelphia and New York) gets MRC accreditation.
RBR/TVBR observation: If you haven’t done it yet, take some time this weekend to listen to the entire roundtable discussion. We guarantee you’ll find it enlightening. The 50-minute audio is posted in the Media Center on RBR.com.