AUDIO CONTENT RUNS AMOK
There is excellent news if you are a provider or creator of audio content.
Audio is cool and it is not only available on- demand but it is in demand.
Audio is available on more platforms of distribution than ever.
There is of course traditional radio which has always tried to be a steady and reliable source of content and audience engagement.
The rise in content creation from Podcasters has been a boom for the audio sector as well.
Then along comes Clubhouse which has inspired other social media type platforms and the trend for social going private along with people gravitating toward niche communities.
What got me thinking about writing this article was the dramatic negative trendline regarding Clubhouse downloads and consumption.
First, we hear that Clubhouse enjoyed this surge in use during the pandemic and could be valued at 4 billion dollars without any revenue.
They experienced a sharp spike in February with 9.6 million downloads and in April numbers plummeted to 900,000 downloads worldwide (according to Sensor Tower, a company that offers intelligence on the “app economy.”)
Is it the novelty of a new app to play with wearing down or is it the quality of the audio content catching up with it?
Even if it is some combination of both it begs the important questions of content creation and presentation and the difficulty of it for novice presenters.
Spotify just announced its live audio app and Clubhouse rival, Spotify Greenroom which came behind the company’s purchase of the sports focused app Locker Room which promises to leverage their personalization technology to better connect users to content they want to hear.
Twitter is jumping into the audio fray with something called “Spaces” and Facebook has created their version called “Live Audio Rooms.”
Not to be outdone, Reddit will offer its community Reddit Talk, a similar venture that hopes existing users will flock to a new feature rather than download a whole new app.
All of this has fueled new voices that are being heard in some cases for the first time.
It has also created a dash for content creation that has run amok when considering quality.
Radio is the original social network and has generally taken a quality first approach.
There is always room for improvement and radio content providers get how to win audience attention.
While there are many great examples of well-orchestrated podcasts, the highway is littered with poorly executed examples that have gone to market.
Steve Goldstein, the founder of Amplifi Media has done great work in sifting thru the 2 million podcasts and his analysis makes the point that podcasting is hard work.
Those of us who have been content creators or content presenters respect that delivering content and connecting with an audience is hard work.
Just as riding a bike for the first time was a dispiriting experience because of the degree of difficulty we all remember the first time we cracked a microphone as equally challenging and humbling.
The work that needs to be put in to curate and tell a story with a succinct beginning, middle and end is significant to say the least and is the difference between content that connects and content that repels.
Let content run amok elsewhere and be great every second you have an opportunity to connect with your audience.
That will always win in the long run.
Should Nielsen Consider Changing the Quarter Hour Credit Rule?
Recently, I wrote about the continuing decline of PUMM levels and how this should be a serious reminder about the importance of the industry’s commitment to talent and excellent execution
Competitive options for consumers are plentiful and the business needs to showcase its best work 100% of the time.
Broadcasters have figured out the need to play within the quarter hour system so they can maximize listening credit (although some are still sloppy and are losing listening credit).
One must wonder if the quarter hour credit rule is hampering the business and stifling creativity at a time when we need it most?
This rule goes back to the 1940’s and 1950’s when radio programs were 15 minutes and longer in length, so it made logical sense for ratings to be measured in 15-minute units, thence the birth of the quarter hour metric.
Since then, EVERYTHING has changed with radio distribution BUT the quarter hour remains the metric of record.
Measurement companies (Arbitron and now Nielsen) have given a strange measurement benefit to clients with the 5 minutes = 15 minutes crediting rule if the hard quarter hour rule is adhered to.
Thank You for that but when you evaluate raw listener data you see so many instances of lost quarter hour credit.
This becomes less of an issue in Diary markets as listeners are more likely to round to the quarter hour rather than record their listening precisely.
When looking at PPM detail data you see those heartbreaking instances of a morning show listener who listens from 6:11 am till 6:19 am yielding a big fat zero in listening credit.
In this example a listening occurred for 8 minutes but zero credit.
Or how about the example of listening from 3:56 PM to 404pm where another 8 minutes of listening vanishes into thin air.
The ratings highway is littered with examples such as this illustrating the fragility of the ratings system and illustrating the fact that every meter counts.
Just to put the fragility under closer spotlight if a market 25-54 population is 2 million plus the number of weekly meters is under 700.
There is no doubt that the many editing rules that Nielsen deploys helps broadcasters gain listening credit.
Audience measurement in radio and television faces many challenges when it comes to all listeners being measured.
Nielsen deserves credit after years of complaints from clients for rolling out their PPM Headphone adjustment in 2020 which resulted in a lift in ratings for all markets and formats.
Both Arbitron and Nielsen have looked at the quarter hour credit rule and the implications of changing this over the years by creating an impact analysis evaluating what the change would mean.
In those instances, the lift was viewed as not significant enough to warrant the change.
Isn’t the radio industry at a point where any lift should be viewed as a good thing?
I believe this is at the very least a conversation and analysis worth having.