Comparing Terrestrial Radio Apples To Satellite Radio Oranges
from the try,-try-again dept
There’s been plenty of talk concerning how successful (or not) Howard Stern’s move from terrestrial radio to satellite radio has been. However, a former TV exec now working for News.com appears to be gloating over the fact that Stern can’t command the same ad revenue per commercial spot as he did on terrestrial radio any more, noting that Stern’s smaller audience on Sirius means his ad rates are about one-third of what they used to be. Apparently, this means his “value” has dropped. That’s not an accurate comparison however. Stern’s listeners also pay a nice sum in subscription fees in order to hear him — and you have to imagine that replaces a lot of the missing ad revenue. While the original article about Stern’s ad rates focus on the problems in actually counting listeners on satellite radio, the real issue is that you can’t do a straight-up comparison of audience size or ad revenue per 30-second spot. The subscription fee upfront changes the equation, and any comparison needs to take that into account. What is true, however, is that the dollar value of commercials on Stern’s show has dropped since the show first launched on Sirius — but that could have something to do with a premium being paid for ads when the show first launched and got so much attention. Either way, this does highlight an issue that both broadcasters and advertisers need to understand. You can’t just do a straight comparison of different types of programming any more, and need to take into account various other factors as well.