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The Immortal Words of Elmer Fudd

“Shhhh. Be vewy, vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits.”

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Radio programmers and marketers need to be able to concentrate as well, because they’re hunting ratings participants. With so few meters or diaries spread around in the Zip Codes that Nielsen will reveal have been the sources of recent listening in a market, tilting the tables in a station’s favor of connecting with the right households and individuals is critical. Understanding the prevailing behavior and mindset among those most likely to participate is crucial.

In our latest NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study we’ve continued to search for differences between likely PPM participants (and the rest of us). We weren’t surprised to see that PPM Likelies are somewhat more apt to redeem coupons and enroll in rewards programs. These are, after all, people who are mainly motivated by the small rewards that they’re being offered to put up with the inconvenience of carrying a meter.

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The big difference between PPM Likelies and the rest of us shows up when it comes to contest participation. A majority of PPM Likelies enter contests. Nearly half play the lottery. Three in eight gamble at casinos. It’s not that every PPM participant is entering contests or lotteries or showing up at a casino. It’s that an outsized crop of likely PPM participants do engage in those things. So, when a station connects with those people, it tilts the odds in its favor that it will connect with someone carrying a meter.

Despite the lower interest in radio station contests across the wider population, the peak in interest and participation in contests among likely ratings responders explains why well-executed contests so often yield at least temporary increases in station ratings. It’s not a matter of changing behavior among everyone – just among the people who can actually make a difference in the ratings. It’s why savvy radio marketers and programmers work so hard to collect registrations from listeners – because those most likely to register also contain an outsized group of those likely to participate in the ratings.

Next week, we’ll take a look at what attitudes pervade among those who are spending lots of time with Pandora and her peers – and what might lure them back to spend more time with Broadcast Radio.

November hunting season opens in PPM markets on October 8. Shhhh …

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