One of the questions I get asked most often about the ratings is how they’re impacted by streaming numbers, if at all. The answer isn’t straightforward. Ratings are calculated by PPMs that listen for embedded tones in audio to determine what sampling participants – just a very small group of people across the city – are listening to. The streams have a different tone embedded in them so they can be differentiated from their over-the-air pal. Typically, streaming numbers have been so low that they’ve barely or not at all registered in the ratings.
But that’s changing.
97.5 has a younger audience and pushes its stream hard (despite a one-time login, it’s still more accessible than WIP’s awful CBS Radio-Radio.com user experience). Therefore its streaming numbers are much better than WIP’s, enough to genuinely change the framing of the October ratings, which is actually the period from September 10 to October 7 [all numbers are based on share, men 25-54]:
6 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Preston and Steve demolish the city with a ridiculous 19.4 share, just over-the-air. WIP came in second with an 8.0 (7.9 OTA, 0.1 stream). 97.5 was third at 7.9 (6.9 OTA, 1.0 stream). In total, WIP edged 97.5 by a one-tenth of a point, as Anthony Gargano’s morning show can now call itself a peer of Angelo Cataldi’s, in terms of ratings.
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
WIP just brutalizes 97.5 here. Their over-the-air share is 8.4 to 97.5’s 4.0, and streaming numbers only bridge the gap a bit– 2.3 for 97.5, 0.4 for WIP. That adds up to a 2.5-point victory for WIP, as people turn on and tune in to get intelligent insight like this…
… from Ike Reese!!!!!! A small part of me weeps for humanity.
2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Mike Missanelli beat Josh Innes and friends with a 9.9 (8.1 OTA, 1.8 stream) to Innes’ 8.6 (8.4 OTA, 0.2 stream). WIP, again, won over-the-air, but 97.5’s healthy streaming number put Mike out in front in terms of total listeners.
As you can see, there are multiple ways to slice these numbers. It is certainly in 97.5’s best interest to hang their hat on streaming numbers – which themselves all but prove a much younger demo – while WIP can rightfully say it has more radio listeners across the board. [UPDATE: It’s worth noting just how incredibly small these sample sizes are, especially with regard to the streaming numbers– ones and tens of people.] How does advertising get sold? Off of both. Typically, traditional commercials are sold off the over-the-air number. But sponsored reads and promotional segments – generally considered a more effective form of advertising – go out to all listeners, regardless of how they’re listening.
In the overall ratings war, WIP wins in the mornings and mid-days, but 97.5 wins in the afternoons. And WMMR just prints money. MAKE ME SOUNDS: