A thousand, of course. The more times you try something, the more likely you’ll succeed.
You’d think it would be the case with ratings success, but it's not always true.
Harker Research looked at winner’s in Arbitron’s PPM markets and found that companies that own a lot of stations do win often, but not as often as you might expect.
Clear Channel is the largest radio group with over two hundred stations in PPM measured markets.
CBS, the second largest group in PPM markets, has half as many stations as Clear Channel. Cumulus is the third largest group with less than a third of Clear Channel’s count.
What impact does this size difference have on the number of each group’s successes?
CBS has 18, while Cumulus has only 5.
The graph at left illustrates this. It shows the number of stations ranked first, second, or third in PPM markets for eleven groups who compete in at least two PPM markets and have at least one winner.
If stations were radio darts, we would expect Clear Channel to have more winners than any other group because they have more stations. However, as it turns out, the dart analogy isn’t completely accurate for radio.
While size does matter, a few smaller groups outperform their larger competitors.
The second graph below shows how well the groups perform when we take into account the size of each group. It shows the number of winners expressed as a percentage of stations each company has in PPM markets.
CBS falls even further, ending up 6th. Cumulus, though third in the number of stations in PPM markets, ranks sixth in absolute terms, and falls to dead last in its percentage of winners.
The two stand-out groups are Hubbard and Cox. Each group is considerably smaller than Clear Channel, CBS, or Cumulus, yet each has a better “hit rate” than their larger competitors.
Four smaller groups out-perform CBS, and eight smaller groups out-perform Cumulus.
The success of these smaller groups competing against much larger groups suggests that when it comes to local radio, smaller groups may have an under-appreciated advantage–-a topic that we’ll explore in a follow-up post.
Note: The analysis is based on the June 2012 full week total person results in 44 PPM markets using Arbitron’s publicly released data. We’ve excluded embedded markets and those with substantial out-of-market listening. Station counts are based on number of in-market stations only.