Friday, April 5, 2013

TSL Part 8 - Some Conclusions and Summary

TSL started out as a math formula to illustrate the relationship between the Cume audience and the Average Quarter Hour numbers.   We started with AQH times the number of quarter hours in the daypart (504 for the total week) then dividing by the Cume.   When we started, getting 30-40 quarter hours a week was a strong performance.  Over the years we've seen this number shrink.  Some of it comes from changing to PPM data measurement in the top 50 markets.  The reality of the meter vs. the old diary recall data has changed the trending here so measuring long term trends in the audience have become a mute point.   But, we can clearly see that TSL is getting weaker for the transmitter radio world even if the 'rules of the game' have evolved.

If you look back at the series here we've sampled a lot of tactics and strategies to try and improve TSL.   The list here is still evolving.   I just got a note from Jon Miller at Arbitron about new TSL analysis of PPM data that is looking at the number of days audience groups tune into a specific station.  Obviously if you can go from 3 to 4 days of tune in from the sample your TSL will improve.

Sean Ross (now with Billboard) recently brought up some interesting points on TSL.   His points seem to highlight that while we spend all our time building occasions and making appointments and focusing less on keeping people listening right now we may be hurting TSL.   You can read Sean's excellent piece on TSL - HERE 

Setting up our clocks to follow listening patterns has helped TSL.   No doubt that building towards events with billboards and teases has held some ears listening longer.   Pushing for more tuning occasions has also shown to be a clear way to gain some more TSL.  As we comb through more and more data on PPM we will no doubt see even more ways to tweak our programming systems to gain that 'extra yard' or 'run per game' by tweaking the game plan.

No doubt there are answers to keeping TSL strong in all the number crunching, but we also have to look beyond the numbers.  Going back to our 'Money Ball' analogy here we've all seen players on the field who clearly win games, fill the stands, and manage to do it even if the competition focus' their resources just on beating them.   How do you think Derek Jeeter fairs in pure Money Ball world?  Probably not nearly as good as he performs as a great baseball player with a bat or glove in his hand.

While the numbers do offer some effective tactics great TSL comes from keeping the audience engaged.  Being a unique/special brand that builds a bond with listeners and keeps them entertained, informed and musically intrigued.   Rarely is there just ONE answer or tactic to success.  It always takes a balanced combination of tactics and strategies.  To win make sure you have a full and balanced approach.

We have tons of experience in building TSL, lots of data to look at and learn from, and a long history with the audience that gives us all the advantages to preserve TSL even as more and more media options present themselves every day.  In may ways 'we are the pros in this world'  the new comers really don't have much to show with the key elements of entertaining and engaging radio.  They rarely have personality, information, a local community presence, imaging/branding and when it comes to promotion radio's abilities still very strong.   The tactics are important but so is the product.  

Thanks for your TSL here and of course you thoughts and input are always welcome.