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Nielsen To Update PPM Headphone Adjustment Factor This Month

“The program hasn’t been as successful as the company had hoped, with a number of complaints that the meters weren’t adequately measuring the correct number of listeners.”

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Almost two years ago, Nielsen introduced something called the “Headphone Adjustment Factor” in an effort to better track listeners through headphones and earbuds in their PPM system.

The program hasn’t been as successful as the company had hoped, with a number of complaints that the meters weren’t adequately measuring the correct number of listeners. Nielsen has heard these complaints and has addressed the issue by adjusting upward quarter-hour estimates for encoded station streams to compensate for any listening experience that wasn’t captured by the meters. Nielsen will roll out this new update beginning with a PPM survey this month.

Nielsen’s latest adjustment comes during a time where more and more people are not just cutting the cord on their televisions, but also on their headphones. People are significantly listening to radio streams via wireless earbuds vs. traditional wired headphones.

Nielsen’s first adjustment was made in October of 2020 which was based on data from a survey of 5,000 former PPM panelists. The folks on the panel also submitted a one-day journal of their listening behavior which lead to the creation of “lift factors.” With the adjustment in October, stations noticed a 4% month-to-month in Average Hour Persons Using Measured Media (PUMM), the metric Nielsen uses to track listeners.

Another important statistic to note is the percentage of listeners to radio streams online. According to InsideRadio, the number of AM/FM radio listening 12+ that happens via online streaming currently stands at 11%, (according to Nielsen). It has since jumped up to 12% in January. In the all-important Persons 25-54 demo, the number is 12%, down from 13% in January.

“It was fairly consistent in 2021, ending the year around 11% (P12+) with seasonal expected changes,” Nielsen Audio VP of Audience Insights Jon Miller tells Inside Radio. “One factor in the January jump may have been holiday technology season and more opportunity to stream audio starting the year.”

In the short term, Nielsen will continue to rely on their headphone method but they will eventually scrape it in favor of  its new ‘Nielsen One cross-media’ measurement service.

“Our plans with Nielsen One for audio are to use big data as a supplement to our panel data,” Rose explained to clients during a recent webinar about the new wearable meters. “And when we get that big data, the chances are that will become the source of listening for digital. And the need for using the adjustment factor will go away. But for at least the near-term, the headphone factor will be the method in which we adjust the audience estimates to account for that.”

Sports Radio News

16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming

The news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

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Streaming Radio

According to Nielsen, sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.

The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.

Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in their latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets

The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.

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Sports Radio News

New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend

More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

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MLB Radio

When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.

In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.

Radio Listeners to MLB

Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.

Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time

Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

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Jeff Dean Show

Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:

“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

Jeff Dean Facebook

Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”

Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.

Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.

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