Thursday, January 22, 2009

The "Multi Media" Inauguration By the Numbers

I read with interest the "TV By the Numbers website" today and they announced according to Nielsen ratings that The Obama inauguration was watched by 37.8 million, second only to Reagan’s 41.8 million in 1981. The story went on to say that News websites at their peak had 5.4 million visitors at per minute at it's peak.

Personally, I took advantage of all the different mediums on Inauguration Day. In the morning on the way to work, I listened to the radio, in the office, I listened on the radio and I watched with great interest via the internet on my computer, back in the car on the way to an appointment, I was listening on the radio again. As a side note there was absolutely NO traffic on the roads as I drove from downtown Scottsdale to downtown Phoenix during President Obama's speech.

Throughout the day while not near a radio, TV or internet computer, I was checking the Inauguration news on various news websites through my Blackberry. When I got home in the evening, I watched the entire inauguration and subsequent festivities (six hours) on my DVR which I had recorded earlier in the day.

Furthermore, I have been to youtube numerous times to watch President Obama's speech, the flub on his swearing in and the featured music from the Inauguration.

According to the Washington Post, while the Regan Inauguration of 1981 might of had more television viewers than Obama's, there were actually more viewers when you aggregate television and internet viewing? Their math comes out to more than 49 million viewers. I don't know if that even includes DVR/TiVo viewing too.

Either way, It's official, we live in a multi-media world. Even our new President carries a Blackberry!

Here are the links to the stats:

Updated: Will Obama break 1981 Reagan record for inauguration Nielsen ratings? No.

From Nixon to Bush 43: Presidential Inauguration Ratings

Obama Inauguration 5th Most Watched Net Event Ever

With Right Math, Inauguration Is Second to None

Finally, I thought that the music during the Inauguration was extraordinary. Here are the links to Aretha Franklin singing "America' My Country Tis Of Thee" and "Air and Simple Gifts" arranged by John Williams for the Inauguration and preformed by Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Anthony McGill & Gabriela Montero.

Click on the links below to watch and listen:

Aretha Franklin singing "America' My Country Tis Of Thee"

"Air and Simple Gifts" arranged by John Williams and preformed by Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Anthony McGill & Gabriela Montero.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Maximize Every Opportunity

As we start the new year, there seems to be a lot of discussion about rate integrity or lack there of at radio stations. I wanted to share my opinion on the issue with you.

For as long as I have been a sales manager or General Manager at radio stations, I have always had a simple philosophy about pricing our commercial inventory. It is a philosophy that I have tried to instill with our team as well. It is summed up in three words, “Maximize Every Opportunity”.

This is a concept that I first learned in high school economics and then again in college. Maximizing Every Opportunity is nothing more than the law of supply and demand. If you have an abundance of inventory and limited pressure or demand, stimulate demand by adjusting your rates down until there is more pressure on your inventory, thus putting you in a sell out situation. Conversely, if you have a limited inventory with heavy pressure, you raise your rates to slow down demand so you don’t sell out to soon. In both cases, you are getting the highest rates based on the current conditions. Thus, Maximizing Every Opportunity!

This yield management concept is very similar to the pricing structure of the airlines, hotels and other industries that deal with products or services that are perishable.

While I understood the laws of supply and demand it did not crystallize with me until my first sales managers’ job back at KOOL AM/FM in the mid 80’s. It was amazing how this simple concept of “Maximizing Every Opportunity” actually generated additional revenue. I'm not talking about an insignificant amount of revenue either. I'm talking about serious money, hundreds of thousands of dollars of distressed inventory that at other radio stations that prided themselves on rate integrity would have let this go unsold. What we did then and continue to do today is give our customers a fair deal and the best rates and advertising packages based on the current station and market conditions.

It is very interesting to see the way our competitors are reacting to the current economic climate and market conditions. Stations in town that have always prided themselves on having rate integrity and driving the highest rates are suddenly realizing that in order to maximize their opportunity’s they have to attack the rate issue from both sides now by adjusting their rates (sometimes dramatically) to market conditions.

This is smart on their part. My only regret is that they finally figured it out!

It goes without saying that in order to succeed in today’s economy you have to do all the right things. You must have a product that gets results for clients, provide great customer service, be innovative with campaigns, creative, added value and so on. But you also need to be nimble with your rate structure and “Maximize Every Opportunity” even if it means adjusting your rates lower. In the long run, you win!

Airlines have one day sales and last minute e-saver fares, why cant radio stations be able to do the same. They can, and the smart operators do!

Jim Taszarek has had some discussions both pro and con on this topic in his daily news letters. subscribe here: