There Should Be No “Me” In “Media”


Lately, it seems that we’re running into some reluctance on the part of certain upscale car dealerships to include radio as part of their marketing mix. This reluctance appears to stem from a misguided belief that if someone subscribes to satellite radio and has a decent-sized bank account, they no longer listen to AM/FM radio.

This thinking is not only flawed but is likely limiting a dealership’s revenue. Here’s why…

Satellite radio subscribers do listen to AM/FM radio. According to Edison’s 2016 “Ear Wars: The Listeners Speak Back” three-market study, AM/FM’s share of combined satellite and AM/FM in-car listening is 43%. RealityMine’s USA TouchPoint nationwide data show AM/FM’s share of satellite subscribers combined satellite and AM/FM listening at 55%. Both figures make sense, as the Edison study focused on in-car listening while RealityMine’s data includes all listening locations.

We analyzed three markets: Charlotte, Tampa, and Las Vegas, and used Nielsen’s Target Profile Report to determine that, of the 533,454  A26-64s who own a luxury car in one of these three markets, 474,126, or 89%, tune to AM/FM radio each week. This figure is in line with radio’s overall weekly reach figure. We expect there are some pretty good reasons for such a high percentage of dual usage — these listeners still want their local news, weather, traffic, sports, and local personalities, all of which satellite radio doesn’t deliver.

Nielsen’s Total Audience Report Q3 2015, which analyzed media usage by household income, also supports the fact that upscale consumers listen to AM/FM radio, finding that households with an income of $75,000+ listen over for 58 hours/month. Compare this to the 44 hours they spend each month on an app or the Web on a smartphone, and the 33 hours they spend on the Internet on a PC.

And if the belief is that AM/FM only appeals to the lower-income consumer, the same must be true of every other medium, in that one of the headlines from the report read: “Lower-Income Households Have Greater Usage of Every Platform.”

According to this report, AM/FM’s share of media usage among those residing in households with a $75,000+ income who used either TV, TV-connected devices, or digital devices is 22%. Almost one out of four minutes spent with these entertainment sources is being spent with AM/FM radio.

Nielsen also sifted through their Scarborough USA data and compared the average yearly household income of each media platform’s heaviest users — the users who gobble up a disproportionately high number of paid gross impressions. AM/FM radio’s is $74,200, 31% greater than TV’s $56,800. Luxury automotive dealerships and manufacturers clearly don’t have an issue with TV; based on this figure maybe they should. AM/FM’s $74,200 is 91% of the Internet’s $81,200 and print’s $81,100. Not bad for a medium that reaches over 90% of the population each week. Contrary to what some might think, it’s not only the affluent and highly educated who flock to the Web.

Let’s now take a page out of streaming audio’s playbook and check out AM/FM radio’s monthly reach according to Nielsen’s recently released Q1 2016 Total Audience Report:

A18+: 97%

A35-49: 98%

A50-64: 99%

A65+: 97%

Based on these reach figures and demos, it appears safe to conclude that high income, luxury car buyers do in fact listen to AM/FM radio and that they don’t only comprise the 1% or 2% of all adults who don’t tune in monthly.

Finally, Katz supplied the following household net-worth data from GfK MRI’s 2015 Doublebase, confirming that radio can go toe-to-toe qualitatively with even the most upscale magazines and cable TV channels. The data below is to be read as: The average News/Talk listener has a household net worth of: $457,000. Just insert “viewer” or “reader” where appropriate below.

News/Talk: $457,000

All News:  $523,000

Classical: $453,000

Sports: $410,000

All Talk: $410,000

Compare the figures above to several upscale magazines:

Forbes: $405,000

Food & Wine: $421,000

Cigar Aficionado: $451,000

Boating: $394,000

And upscale cable TV channels:

Bloomberg TV: $487,000

The Golf Channel: $468,000

The Tennis Channel: $438,000

CNBC: $399,000

We learned long ago that ad campaigns fail to maximize their potential, not because decision-makers ignore commonsense but rather because they rely on their own commonsense, beliefs, and their own media habits, and project them upon others who are different from them. This phenomenon might be occurring at certain automotive dealerships. We need to set the record straight as it’s clear upscale automobile owners listen to AM/FM radio and it should play a key role in the marketing of any automobile, regardless of price.

Bob McCurdy is The Vice President of Sales for The Beasley Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]


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