Monday, August 10, 2015

A Candid Admission

Last week, Seth Ressler in his AllAccess column hit me right between the ears.

Back when PPM first debuted, since I was long-schooled in the ways to get an unfair advantage to grab "just one more share point" that we all used in diary measurement, I was focused on the wrong thing.
I still  wanted the sample size to be more random "like it used to be" and as large as the 48 different weekly samples.  The share compression that resulted from the move to panel measurement seemed to confirm (to me) that I was right and all the issues of PPM would be solved by larger and larger samples.

Call me a slow learner.
  • The fact is that audio media simply can't afford to more than quadruple samples and of course both Arbitron and Nielsen have increased samples each time we squeaky wheels made those noises.
  • The fact that the cume and usage levels are at all time highs right now makes a good case that we actually already have more than enough to compete adequately against all other media as is - selling results - no matter which of the three or four cume thresholds where the majority of stations clump in every market.
Of course, as Alfred Liggins said on his investor call last week, free market competition requires constant vigilance and if everyone else in town is doing something smart that you're not, you're likely to get hurt in the short run until you catch up.

Ultimately, I worry more that Programmatic buying and selling will be a greater challenge than mysterious black boxes as agencies adopt it in order to save money, failing to consider the compelling personality, brand loyalty, database, social, narrow target and psychographic data that only a human seller can present.

When that is accomplished our sales teams have great stories which more than add powerful value to our sales proposition.

Seth, you are right that our best story is not "how many?" but WHO.

Thanks for the clear thinking and wake up call.

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