Battle Of The “Heavies”: Radio Vs. TV


(By Bob McCurdy) Stories based on facts persuade, but sometimes we need to dig to uncover “fact-based” stories. Nielsen’s Tapscan is a tremendous resource to assist us with our search.

The following was extracted from Tapscan’s Media Quintile program, a program that compares the qualitative profile of the radio listener, TV viewer, and newspaper reader by usage quintile. Six markets were included: Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and Tampa, using the A18+ demo.

TV plays a large role in many local advertisers’ media plans and we wanted to determine if the qualitative profile of the heaviest radio listener differed from that of the heaviest TV viewer. We discovered they do, and they differ a lot.

While reviewing the results, keep in mind that a rough rule of thumb is that the heaviest 20% of users of any medium (P1s), typically account for about 50% of usage, meaning these heaviest users will end up hearing half of all radio commercials and view half of all TV commercials purchased by any advertiser.

Per the chart below, radio’s heaviest listeners (P1s) are:
+74% more likely to reside in a home with a HHI of $100,000+
+40% more likely to have graduated college
+157% more likely to be in management or be a professional
+113% more likely to be a white collar worker
+165% more likely to be employed full time
+32% more likely to buy a new car valued at $15,000+ in the next 12 months than…
… the heaviest TV viewers.

Additionally, the heaviest TV viewer is only about half as likely to reside in a home with a HHI income of $100,000+, be a white-collar worker, be employed full time, graduated college, or be in management or be a Professional.

How is it possible for radio’s heaviest listeners to be more desirable consumers than TV’s heaviest viewers? It likely boils down to full-time employment.

According to Nielsen’s Q3 2016 Total Audience Report, the heaviest TV viewers (P1s) watched over 10 hours of TV/day, meaning there is a good chance they’re not working full-time.

The heaviest radio listeners, on the other hand, are +30% more likely to be full-time employed than the average market resident. This equates to more disposable income. These full-time employed individuals are commuting by car (approximately 86% of U.S. consumers commute by auto every day) and listening to the radio, where AM/FM enjoys a 71% share of audio usage, according to Edison Research’s Share of Ear study. They also tend to be lighter TV viewers.

In addition to the data above, note:
A March 2017 Council of Research Excellence, Nielsen Neuroscience study titled, The Mind of a Viewer, analyzed what viewers were watching when commercials were airing and found that TV ads were not seen 61% of the time. Forty percent of the time the viewers eyes were on a second screen, and 21% of the time they were out of the room. A Deloitte study showed that more than 90% of TV viewers multi-task while in front of the TV.

Nielsen’s Screen Wars: The Battle for Eye Space in a TV-Everywhere World, concluded 50% of DVR users routinely skip commercials.

A Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report concluded radio’s commercial “trust” score was 95% of TV’s.

Finally, Nielsen’s Q3 2016 Comparable Metrics Report highlighted that it is TV, not radio, which has an issue with Millennials, with TV reaching only 76% of 18-34s weekly versus 92% for AM/FM radio.

The perfect medium has yet to grace this earth and the most effective media campaigns utilize a mix of media. If we tell our story professionally, consistently, with vigor and facts, radio will continue to play a key role in our clients’ media campaigns for years to come.

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



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