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Bulletin! People tune out when we play commercials.

Now that the dust has settled since PPM stumbled out of the gate, we know that while a lot of things in PPM apply to the diary world, some things do not. One important difference is the amount and the placement of commercial breaks.

The fewer stopsets you have, the fewer tune-outs in PPM. Even in morning drive, see if you can reduce the number of times each hour you stop your content for commercials. If you have a heavy spotload, go from four stopsets to three. If your load is lighter, go from three to two. Hey, if you’re really light go from two to one, even it’s six or seven minutes long.

Also straddling the quarter hour with stopsets can help. If a person tunes in for the first time at :11 past any quarter-hour (:11, :26, :41, :56), you won’t get any credit in Arbitron (you do get credit in BBM in Canada), so why not put the commercials in that no man’s land area.

In a diary market, you need five continuous minutes of listening inside a quarter hour to get credit for the full quarter hour. In a PPM market you still need to have five minutes of listening within a quarter hour – but, they don’t have to be five continuous minutes. In the PPM world it’s individual minutes that count; listeners can tune-in multiple times within the QH as long as their listening totals at least five minutes.

So you may want to consider putting your stopsets around the quarter hours (stopping down at either: 13 and 43 or at :28 and :58 if you can pull off two stopsets an hour), especially at times of the day with high in-car listening. You want to cover the greatest part of each hour with content (whether it’s news/talk or music).

If you have a poor product and your content is off track, these strategies won’t help you much. If you have a strong brand and a well-programmed station, you are more likely to increase your ratings by using the new rules of the game to your best advantage.


-written by Randy Lane, Angela Perelli and Brian Holt (it’s a team effort around here)

Click here to learn more about Randy

Click here to learn more about Angela

Click here to learn more about Brian

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