What if I told you that you can increase your ratings 30% overnight?  Admit it.  You’d probably be curious, just like when Marie Osmond says she’s lost 50 pounds without exercise AND she eats chocolate cake every day!

People are drawn to black and white opinions because they are simple, not because they are true.  Truth demands serious effort and thought.”

Donald Miller

Actually, you might increase your ratings 30% overnight, but it’s not because of some magic pill or trick.  It’s because Nielsen is changing they way they tabulate when you plug the gizmo in the thingamajig.

“We expect this change will also increase late night and overnight ratings in general… we anticipate an increase of 5% in AQH persons in the 7:00pm – 12midnight daypart and over 30% in the overnight daypart (12midnight – 6:00am) for Persons 6+.”

Now, don’t take this the wrong way.  I have no problem with what Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen are doing.  In fact, I think it’s dandy and we should send them chocolate cake.

My point is… this is another example of how PPM ratings is NOT a measurement of real listening, only that of the behavior of a tiny group of meter holders for a time.

BTW, Nielsen makes no claims that it is anything but “audience estimates”; it’s we wacky radio people that want to move the deejays around and fire the janitor based upon weekly ratings.

So, as really smart programmers and general managers how should we view PPM ratings?

Media observer Mark Ramsey suggests that we should use them to inform not to react to.

He puts it this way…

Even if PPM ratings were 100% accurate, it still wouldn’t tell you…

  • why people listen
  • why people stop listening
  • how to get people to listen more often

Those are three critical elements of any shrewd programming decision.

Oh, and congratulations on your 30% increase in ratings overnight!  Let’s have some chocolate cake!