Friday, February 15, 2013

TSL - The Big Challenge Ahead

As more and more tempting alternatives come pouring into the audience's smart phones, dashboards, tablets and computers terrestrial radio listening continues to hold a reach of 92% of the population weekly.  Ahh but what about time spent listening?  So far the 2012 analysis by Arbitron seems to indicate Radio is holding fairly steady.   But, we all know that TSL is likely going to be the real battle field for the audience's time spent with music and audio entertainment.   All of these music and entertainment options have to cut into Radio's TSL sooner or later.

TSL is very tough to analyze for the whole industry and across all the formats now.  The advent of PPM measurement in the top 50 markets has changed the data dramatically.  We really can't compare the old TSL levels of the diary with PPM's huge volume of tracking data.  Meanwhile we still have lots of 50+ markets that still live in a diary world.  This makes tracking this data across the whole radio landscape nearly impossible.  Even though this 'money ball' data may be impossible to quantify it is still the driving force behind AQH, Ratings and market share.

Much like 'Money Ball' programmers have taken on all levels of data analysis and implemented a number of programming 'tricks' to try and move the magic TSL needle.  Moving the stop sets, billboarding, laying in commercial free blocks, gaming the editing systems for diaries and meters, and appointment listening are some the tools we've tried and still implement today.  But, will they really work as the choices expand from 30 stations on your car dashboard to thousands of streaming stations, podcasts, mp3 playlists and custom built streams?

Over the next 4 weeks as you gear up for the Spring book, or continue your 52 week marathon of ratings measurement let's take a look at the tools we use and perhaps a few we could be using to build more TSL.

We'll start next week with a look at the first 'tricks' programmers used and then progress to the newer tools that we are still developing today.  Next week - moving the stop sets the early days.    I hope you'll tune in and spread the word to fellow programmers and radio pros.


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