Study: AM/FM Radio Could Attract Light TV Viewers

Traditional radio believes it can give TV advertisers better access to light TV viewers -- with higher campaign lift -- by allocating some of their media dollars to radio.

In its first Nielsen cross-media study, analyzing TV and AM/FM radio, network radio company Westwood One says that while light and non-TV viewers represent a large percentage of the TV audience, they represent only a small percentage of TV time spent and commercial impressions.

The study says that while light and non-TV viewers -- 18-49 -- represent 44% of the U.S, they only comprise 9% of total TV impressions.

With AM/FM radio reaches 90% of light viewers, a media buy on radio would make overall TV advertising plans more effective.  

Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer of Westwood One, tells Television News Daily: “Per Nielsen’s CommsPoint media-planning software, you can expect a 40% lift in campaign reach by allocating 20% of the TV budget to AM/FM radio.”

Light TV viewers run across all demographic groups, including young viewers: 44% of those 12-17 represent only 9% of total TV commercial impressions; with AM/FM radio reaching 88% of this demographic; and 45% of persons 18-34 viewers represent only 7% of total TV commercial impressions, with radio reaching 89%.

Among older TV viewers, 44% of those 25-54 comprise only 10% of TV commercial impressions -- with radio reaching 92% of this audience -- and 41% of those 55 years and older totaling 17% of TV commercial impressions. Radio reaches 93% of this group.

The research says that among Nielsen-defined heavy TV users, those 18-49 are 17% of the U.S. and represent half of all TV impressions.

The study used a Nielsen 80,000-person Portable People Meter panel measuring TV and AM/FM radio audiences, which looked at TV time spent among heavy TV viewers, as well as light and non-TV viewers.

3 comments about "Study: AM/FM Radio Could Attract Light TV Viewers".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 6, 2018 at 11:47 a.m.

    This is a very confusing article, Wayne. However there is no doubt that certain radio formats --mainly youth-oriented rock or contemporary music and classical music are more likely to reach light TV viewers, while many other radio formats do not have this particuolar capability. Then, again, many magazines and digital media venues provide even greater light viewer targeting potentials-- and selective cable buys also have a similar, though not as strong a slant to them.

    The real question an advertiser should ask is whether light viewers are worth investing heavily in---usually at the risk of reducing audience weight among moderate to heavy viewers. For example, many brands which use TV to excess---as do competitive brands in their product class--- have the same share -of-market among all of the TV viewing groups. Why? Because they have approximately the same share of  media "voice" in the same groups. In other words, theyand rival brands barrage heavy viewers with too many ads and hit light viewers with too few ads. So it all cancels out. Is altering this situation going to generate a major sales hike among light viewers? And willl a price be paid among heavy viewers if a brand hits them less often while its competitors continue to pound away? Also, what communications means will be most effective among light viewers---radio commercials, page four-color ads, digital video messages or standard TV commercials on certain cable channels? These are not easy questions to answer and if I was an advertiser who was seriously concerned about this issue I'd undertake some testing to determine what the trade-offs might be.

  2. Pierre Bouvard from Cumulus Westwood One, July 6, 2018 at 12:23 p.m.

    Ed: Given that light/no TV viewers represent 44% of Persons 18-49, no advertiser can ignore near half of American consumers. 

    Reach objectives are getting harder and harder to hit with exisiting plans. That's why brands like P&G are now using AM/FM radio to "make their TV better".  Over the last year, P&G has dramatically increased their AM/FM radio allocations. 

    At the 2017 NAB Radio Show John Fix, Analyst and Manager at Procter and Gamble, told broadcasters, “You saw 93% of households are listening to radio. That’s the scale I need for my brands to reach the people that buy them.”

    Inside Radio reports that P&G and other CPG giants have grown frustrated by narrow digital-ad targeting. “P&G wants to speak to everyone, not a narrow target,” Fix explained. “The brands are looking to get the reach they want and they can’t get it with TV.”

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 6, 2018 at 12:44 p.m.

    Pierre, I doubt that many brands care only about adults aged 18-49 even if this age group is the audience guarantee base for about half of all national TV time buys. As I pointed out, if this issue concerned me I would refer to a source such as MRI or Simmons and see how my brand was performing in each of the TV viewing groups. In my experience, light viewers are often just as likely to be brand buyers as heavy viewers for many advertisers who worry about underexposure among light viewers. The question then becomes can you gain enough by reducing your heavy TV viewer GRPs and redirecting them ---or some of them---to light viewers while offsetting possible losses in brand buying among heavy viewers? As a rule the GRP trade-off is not on a one for one basis. Instead, you may lose three heavy viewer rating points to get one more among light viewers. All of these  parameters and others are worthy of being tested on a serious basis in my opinion, so I'm not saying that radio or other media options should not be considered. However, experience has told me that there is not a guaranteed benefit for increasing frequency against any particular audience segment---especially it it is already buying your brand. A smart advertiser should look before leaping to conclusions.

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