If you didn’t read the first post, you might want to read it first for background.
Compounding the challenge is Arbitron’s transition to PPM.
Arbitron admits that there are significant differences between ratings produced from diaries and ratings produced by meters. As a result, we can only trend ratings from the same methodology.
We can trend diary measured stations. We can trend PPM measured stations, but we can’t compare the two. And even more importantly, we can’t trend stations in markets that have only recently switched to PPM measurement.
So we’ve been looking at stations in large markets that have had PPM for at least a year to see how they are doing one year later.
Having looked at Rock’s health in the first post, we turn our attention to Adult Contemporary.
In the case of AC, only two-thirds of the ACs in PPM markets have a year’s worth of ratings. As a result, we won’t have a complete picture of how AC is doing until early next year.
And if PPM’s performance to date is any indication, we’ll have to wait even longer for the newest markets’ panels to stabilize.
Mainstream AC is doing fine while Modern and Hot AC are slipping a little.
Looking at all flavors of AC, the format is behind where it was a year ago. Only 46.3% of Adult Contemporary stations are ahead of where they were.
It turns out, however, that the over-all negative trend is driven by Hot AC and Modern AC stations. Both formats are down while Mainstream is up.
By a slim margin, a majority of Mainstream AC stations are higher than they were a year ago. Fifty-two percent are higher, while 48.0% are lower. (Click on graphs to enlarge.)
In contrast, a majority of Hot AC stations are lower. Only 44.4% of Hot AC stations are higher than a year ago.
Modern AC stations make up a very small proportion of AC stations in PPM markets, but they too are down. Only one third (33.3%) are ahead of their 2010 numbers.
Adult Contemporary stations have a median share of 4.3, easily outperforming all flavors of Rock. As the nearby graph illustrates, Mainstream has the highest share at 4.6, followed by Hot AC at 4.1 and Modern AC at 3.5.
It is interesting to note that Modern AC while a distant third up against its AC brethren, handily outperforms Alternative, its Rock relative.
Next post we’ll look at how Country is doing. (Hint: very well.)
Note: To minimize month to month wobbles, we average the last three published 6+ monthly shares for each station and compare it to the same months one year ago. Only stations that were in the format last year and this year are counted towards the gains and losses. All stations currently in the format are included in median calculations.