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Los Angeles Radio Ratings: Holiday 2023

Covering the survey period from Thu. 12/7/2023 thru Wed. 1/3/2024, age 6+ overall:
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Top 5+ demo rankings analysis from Research Director Inc.:

25-54: 1. KOST 2. KIIS-FM 3. KRTH 4. KBIG 5T. KLVE 5T. KCBS-FM 7 (or lower). KLAX
18-34: 1. KOST 2. KIIS-FM 3T. KRTH (up from #8) 3T. KBIG 5. KYSR (up from #10) 7. KTWV 10. KLVE (down from #4)
18-49: 1. KOST 2. KIIS-FM 3. KRTH 4. KBIG 5. KLAX 6T. KLVE 6T. KCBS-FM

Riverside-San Bernardino age 6+ overall:
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"Meruelo Media has unsubscribed from Nielsen with Classic Hip Hop 93.5 KDAY, Spanish Hot AC “Cali 93.9” KLLI, Rock 95.5 KLOS, and Hip Hop “Power 106” KPWR disappearing from the public numbers."

Makes sense, since ad agencies don't pay attention to the holiday book. Good time for Meruelo to save money.
 
KOST always does well in Dec. with their format (and other months) But KRTH, am Audacy station, is still strong in second place. Listeners still like the classic hits.
 
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Makes sense, since ad agencies don't pay attention to the holiday book. Good time for Meruelo to save money.
But they can't just unsubscribe from one book, or nearly every station in PPM markets would do that for "Holiday".
 
But they can't just unsubscribe from one book, or nearly every station in PPM markets would do that for "Holiday".
David, while I know you can't answer this question directly, could you please give an idea how much it costs to subscribe (perhaps as a % of a typical station's expense budget). My guess is there are different levels of service thay can be bought?

I have often wondered if there will come a time when stations could go around the ratings service with salable information of their own (that would, by definition, cost less to procure than the subscription fee).
 
David, while I know you can't answer this question directly, could you please give an idea how much it costs to subscribe (perhaps as a % of a typical station's expense budget). My guess is there are different levels of service thay can be bought?
In the PPM markets, the basic service is the full 13 monthly books along with 52 weekly trend reports. I never asked if a station can buy the monthlies without the weeklies, but since the PPM "Management Tool" includes weekly data, I don't think that you can get less.

In diary "continuous" measurement (12 week sets with a gap at Christmas) you can get just the quarterly report or monthly rolling averages of the prior 12 weeks.

There are further options for qualitative reports based on product consumption.

The deals I have been part of are for groups of stations, so I can't tell you what individual station costs are.
I have often wondered if there will come a time when stations could go around the ratings service with salable information of their own (that would, by definition, cost less to procure than the subscription fee).
No agency is going to honor a station-conducted audience rating report. They use Nielsen as it is the industry standard and much of its service is covered by accreditation by the MRC.
 
long term, can smaller groups like Meruelo survive on diect/small agency business alone, without the data Neilson provides?
Very good question. This may be worth an all-market subject line. I don't know what sort of business plan will be possible in very large markets without agency business.
 
it’s worked in small markets for years, I never understood why it won’t work in Los Angeles where theres millions more in revenue available?
In small markets, agency business is a much less significant portion of market radio billing. So a good local sales effort can be made without worrying about the agency stuff, along with the 15% commission, the national rep commission and all the additional paperwork needed to meet many agency and buying service requirements.

In market 14, where I was VP and sales manager for a group for many years, 95% of our business was from one of the 114 local agencies. They all bought based on rates, numbers and service.

Over a decade before, in the same market, we were without ratings for two years while I was back on the mainland going back to college. When I returned, market billings were off by nearly 50% in total as the agencies had nothing to base rates on and they simply offered an amount with a "take it or leave it" attitude. I got The Pulse to add the market, and revenues doubled in just a year.
 
it’s worked in small markets for years, I never understood why it won’t work in Los Angeles where theres millions more in revenue available?

I can speak to that. In the aughts, I was Director of Programming and Promotion for a startup independent TV station in a Top 15 market. Metro population 4.1 million.

The station started out with cheap off-network reruns and no ratings trying to do local direct. Here's what we learned:

  • If you start out approaching people already doing local direct advertising, you have to convince them that you're worth either the extra added expense or shifting some of their ad budget. If the people they're already advertising with are smart, they're showing them the ratings, just like the agency, to impress upon them the audience they can reach.

  • Going after clients not already doing local direct advertising is time-consuming and very expensive. It takes a lot to make someone not spending money on advertising decide to spend that money---especially in a large market, where there's a floor below which that spot rate can't fall or else you're losing money on that client.

  • Selling audience response instead of ratings is a double-edged sword. The first week they have where they don't have someone come in and say "I saw your ad on Channel (whatever)", they're on the phone cancelling. We found that three out of four local direct clients were on for a month and then gone---meaning we had to replace them. And, most likely, a month later, replace the replacement.


Ultimately, we learned we were money ahead in investing in more current, more popular programming, getting the ratings up and getting on the agency buys.
 


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