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PPM Highlights for Holiday 2018

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PPM Highlights for Holiday 2018


As many of you know, the Holiday survey for PPM markets does not always represent the "norm" when it comes to your listeners’ behavior.  When surveys are only four weeks in length, then something as brief as an election or a fund drive can impact stations’ estimates.

Imagine that one of these surveys is full of "holidays" with vacation days for your listeners.  Add to that the seasonal shift of some commercial stations to Christmas music and you have a Holiday survey. Top it all off with a government shutdown, furloughing many workers from their jobs, and you end up with the Holiday 2018 survey.

Scott Williams at KJZZ & KBAQ recently shared his observation that market level listening (PUMM) for the Holiday 2018 survey was really low in Phoenix. PUMM can actually go up some days, weeks and full Holiday surveys because of the increased listening often generated by stations going All Christmas music. So what did PUMM look like for Holiday 2018 across all PPM markets?

We have two slides (click on headline above) that present PUMM as an average of the 45, non-embedded PPM markets. The first slide shows PUMM% (total market AQH Persons expressed as a percentage of the population) for the three survey months of Fall 2018 (October, November and December) and the four survey weeks of Holiday 2018. The second slide indexes each of the four Holiday 2018 survey weeks against Fall 2018.

The first thing you’ll see is that the December 2018 survey had a lower PUMM% than either October or November. This is likely the result of December 2018 including the Thanksgiving holiday, which can be a week-long vacation for a lot of people.  You may also notice that Holiday weeks 1 & 2 are either at or above market level listening for the three Fall 2018 surveys, while Holiday weeks 3 & 4 are far below Fall 2018.

Slide 2 shows that PUMM was up 1% and 3% for weeks 1 & 2 but down 8% and 19% for weeks 3 & 4, respectively. Most people who are employed full-time were likely still working for the first two weeks of the Holiday survey and shifts to Christmas music looks to have increased market wide listening in the short-term. Week 3 still had the lure of Christmas music for a lot of people yet represents the week leading up to and including Christmas. Week 4 is when a lot more people likely took vacation time AND the seasonal sounds of many stations went away AND the federal government was shut down for all seven days of this survey week.

Audience estimates start at the market level. That’s why it’s always important to look at PUMM in addition to your own station(s) and your direct competitor(s). When the latest PPM data releases for January 2019, our eyes should be focused on the fact that the 35 day government shutdown affected all four weeks of this survey.

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