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The state of the halo effect (stations) Presentation Transcript

  • 1. The State of the ‘Halo Effect’: NPR Audience Perceptions of Corporate Sponsorship in 2010 Winter 2010 Vince Lampone / vlampone@npr.org / Tel: 202.513.2815
  • 2. Executive Summary
    • Public radio's halo effect is intact.
    • NPR listeners demonstrate wide acceptance of public radio’s current corporate underwriting model, and continue to express largely favorable feelings toward sponsors on both an aided and unaided basis.
    • Specifically, three in four listeners (74%) say that their opinion of a company is more positive when they learn that it sponsors public radio. Two in three believe the social and cultural values of sponsors usually fit closely with their own values.
    • Just as important, NPR's halo effect continues to drive purchase preference and direct action. When price and quality are equal, two-thirds of listeners agree they prefer to do business with public radio sponsors. Moreover, 85% of listeners have taken direct action based on past sponsorship credits.
      • In particular, listeners are most likely to visit sponsors' websites, consider new products, and/or engage in cultural events or activities as a result of sponsorship announcements .
    • NPR’s halo extends to digital platforms as well: Users of NPR’s website, podcasts, and iPhone news app all express similar levels of preference for buying from corporate sponsors.
    • NPR's halo is stronger than that registered by commercial media organizations. 
    • NPR's radio and web audiences are more likely than those of comparable news outlets to express a preference for doing business with corporate sponsors. These favorable comparisons clearly differentiate NPR's value proposition in the advertising marketplace.
  • 3. Executive Summary
    • Public radio's halo is closely tied to its non-commercial positioning and practices. 
    • When listeners perceive their local station to be non-commercial in its practices, they are more likely to have a positive opinion of sponsors, and to be more interested in doing business with them. More importantly, they are also more likely to view public radio as personally important in their lives.
    • NPR listeners who believe that public radio is funded primarily by listener contributions are considerably more likely than others to express a preference for buying from sponsors.
    • Many have noticed an increase in the number of sponsors they hear on their local station. 
    • While most NPR listeners are satisfied with how sponsorship is presented on their local station, the #1 issue they express in this survey is the total amount of time allocated to sponsorship announcements. Nearly two in five listeners report they have been hearing more sponsors during breaks these days.
      • Of those who have noticed a change, 57% say that it has made them think their station was being too commercial.
    • The halo is contingent upon non-commercial practices, and a clear firewall between funders and news coverage.  
    • In exchange for continued support of sponsors, NPR audience members want public radio to continue to stand apart as an oasis from the commercialism they dislike in nearly all other media. This is particularly true when it comes to the length and quantity of sponsorship messages they see and hear. In addition, they want public radio news coverage to continue to maintain strong editorial independence from funders.
  • 4. Background, Objectives and Methodology ………………………………………….5 NPR Audience Perceptions of Public Radio & Commercial Advertising …….…..9 The State of the Halo Effect on Public Radio ……………………………………..13 Does the Halo Extend to NPR’s Digital Platforms?............................................ 24 Audience Satisfaction with Public Radio Sponsorship Practices ………………..28 page
  • 5. Background: Prior Research on NPR Sponsorship
    • In 2003, NPR conducted a comprehensive study of listeners' perceptions of corporate sponsorship. The research unearthed a unique phenomenon called the “halo effect” – a phrase describing public radio listeners' favorable impressions of corporate sponsors as a result of their support for valued programming.
    • Subsequent research in 2007 confirmed the continued existence of this halo, and identified concrete benefits for companies who consistently underwrite public radio, including improved brand image and increased purchase consideration. The study also identified potential areas of listener concern regarding sponsorship. Findings underscored the importance of responsible stewardship of the halo among the public radio system, in order to maintain it as a competitive advantage.
    •  
  • 6. Research Objectives
    • In Fall 2010, NPR Audience Insight & Research launched a new study to examine the state of corporate sponsorship in public radio today. In particular, a nationally representative survey of public radio listeners from across the U.S. was conducted in partnership with Knowledge Networks. For the first time, a control group of non-listeners was also surveyed, in order to understand relevant differences between the NPR audience and the other media audiences.
    • The purpose of the survey was to explore the following questions:  
      • What is the state of the halo effect in 2010?
      • How does sponsorship influence the perceptions, habits, and decision-making of the NPR audience?
      • Do audience members notice a difference between commercial advertising and NPR sponsorship (both on the radio and online)? If so, do they value this difference?
      • How does NPR’s halo effect differ from that of other news organizations?
      • What actions have NPR audience members taken as a direct result of NPR sponsorship?
      • How do perceptions of corporate sponsorship differ by platform? Are some NPR platforms viewed more positively than others?
      • What changes, if any, have NPR audience members noticed over time with regard to public radio sponsorship - and what do they think of these changes?
        • If there are any concerns, which one(s) are most important to audience members?
  • 7. Methodology
    • In order to meet the research objectives, NPR commissioned Knowledge Networks to conduct a national quantitative survey.
    • The survey was fielded from October 5 to 14, 2010, to 1,601 members of KN’s KnowledgePanel – a nationally representative online panel of U.S. adults recruited to participate in survey research via random, probability-based sampling. In particular, the sample consisted of:
      • 601 public radio listeners (514 of whom listen to NPR News stations), and
      • 1,000 U.S. adults who do not listen to public radio
    • All respondents were screened to be between the ages of 25 and 70, and to listen to the radio for three or more days per week, for at least thirty minutes per day. In addition, all public radio listeners were able to identify the call letters of their local public radio station, and had listened to public/non-commercial radio programming in the past seven days.
    • In order to closely represent the actual population of public radio listeners, listener data was weighted to match the proportion of males and females within the public radio audience, according to estimates from Arbitron. Separately, non-listener data was weighted by age, gender and household income to match U.S. population benchmarks from census and CPS (Current Population Survey) data.
    • Due to important differences in survey methodology and sample composition, data from this 2010 survey cannot be directly compared to previous surveys conducted in 2003 and 2007 on the topic of public radio sponsorship.
  • 8. Background, Objectives and Methodology ………………………………………….5 NPR Audience Perceptions of Public Radio & Commercial Advertising …….…..9 The State of the Halo Effect on Public Radio ……………………………………..13 Does the Halo Extend to NPR’s Digital Platforms? ............................................24 Audience Satisfaction with Public Radio Sponsorship Practices ………………..28 page
  • 9. NPR Continues to Be Seen as Unique and Personally Important to Listeners To understand how NPR listeners perceive corporate sponsorship, it is vital to understand how they value public radio as a whole. The vast majority of listeners perceive public radio to be unique from commercial offerings; 90% say it is personally important to them. Base: 601 public radio listeners 90% agree 83% agree
  • 10. Listeners Reject Commercial Radio Advertising While NPR listeners have positive impressions of radio as a platform, they are far more likely than other adults to find commercial radio advertising as intrusive, repetitious and lacking in credibility, according to data from Mediamark Research. Source: Mediamark Research, Doublebase 2009 Quantity of Advertising is a Huge Issue In this NPR listener survey, 84% of listeners agreed that “there are too many advertisements on commercial radio these days,” reiterating a theme that emerged repeatedly in focus groups with NPR listeners throughout 2007. * Base: 601 public radio listeners
  • 11. Public Radio Is Prized as an Oasis from Commercialism Most NPR listeners see their local public radio station(s) are very distinct from the commercialism of non-public radio and TV stations. Given their antipathy toward traditional advertising, they deeply appreciate public stations’ non-commercial values. Base: 601 public radio listeners Mean Score: 3.2 NPR Is Seen as Less Commercial than Public TV: Public radio compares favorably to public television in audience perceptions of non-commercialism. Public TV viewers gave their local station an average rating of 4.3 on the same 1-10 scale.
  • 12. Background, Objectives and Methodology ………………………………………….5 NPR Audience Perceptions of Public Radio & Commercial Advertising …….…..9 The State of the Halo Effect on Public Radio ……………………………………..13 Does the Halo Extend to NPR’s Digital Platforms? ............................................24 Audience Satisfaction with Public Radio Sponsorship Practices.. ………………28 page
  • 13. Public Radio’s ‘Halo Effect’ Is Intact The “halo effect” of corporate sponsorship on public radio, first identified in 2003 research among NPR listeners, remains intact. It clearly differentiates public radio in the advertising marketplace, and continues to offer a unique array of benefits to sponsors. Listeners value and appreciate public radio as a unique American institution, and a positive presence in their lives. Their favorable feeling toward public radio extends to funders who help make this programming possible. Corporate sponsors continue to benefit from public radio’s halo effect through improved awareness and recognition of their companies, a more positive image in the minds of listeners, and an increased likelihood to do business with sponsoring businesses. These sponsor benefits are especially apparent for funders who sponsor public radio for an extended period of time, as frequency of exposure to underwriting messages is a major factor in developing a strong association in the minds of listeners. IN BRIEF: HOW THE HALO BENEFITS CORPORATE SPONSORS Ha ● lo eff ● ect (noun) – the positive sentiment that listeners have towards companies that support the community service of NPR and public radio stations
  • 14. Unprompted, Listeners Offer Positive Feedback on Sponsors When asked for their overall perceptions of public radio funders, listeners are much more likely to share positive comments than neutral or negative ones. (In this survey, unaided comments were solicited before a battery of follow-up questions explored more specific perceptions of sponsorship.) *Percentages do not equal 100%; responses could fall into more than one category. Base: 500 public radio listeners
  • 15. Most Listeners Pay Attention to Sponsorship Credits Given the number of NPR listeners who claim to be immune to commercial advertising, it its noteworthy that a healthy majority admit actively paying attention to sponsorship messages on public radio. Base: 601 public radio listeners 59% of listeners agree In Their Own Words: ” “ “ Because they are willing to support public radio, I tend to remember and recognize the names of such businesses even if they are of a sort which I do not frequent or use.” – Male, Age 25-34 “ When they’re mentioned, it puts their name in my head. So when I’m looking to buy a product/ service, their name will come up.” – Female, Age 25-34
  • 16. Listeners Have a Higher Opinion of Sponsors NPR listeners are likely to view sponsors as having social and cultural values that fit with their own, and a majority view them as more credible than commercial advertisers. Base: 601 public radio listeners ” “ I generally think of them as higher quality establishments.” “ They are more educated and may offer better services.” “ I think of them as benevolent and trying to better the society we live in.” “ Companies which support public radio get a gold star in my book.” In Their Own Words: Listener Perceptions of Funders “
  • 17. Most Listeners Trust Firewall Between News & Sponsors Though some NPR listeners express concerns about public radio’s independence from its funders, most don’t see sponsors as having an undue influence on the news programming they hear. Base: 601 public radio listeners 70% of listeners disagree In Their Own Words: “ I am sometimes suspicious that there might be some level of control of the programming by these contributors, particularly if the programming seems anything less than balanced, but that is just a feeling and I’ve never really researched it to see if it proves true in any way.” – Female, Age 55-64 “ Public radio needs to take money WHEREVER they can. As long as ‘the public’ is okay with it and the [businesses] and foundation donations [come] with no or minimal strings attached.” – Male, Age 55-64
  • 18. Halo Effect Translates to Purchase Preference When price and quality are equal, two out of three listeners choose to do business with public radio sponsors. Base: 601 public radio listeners 64% of listeners agree In Their Own Words: “ I support businesses that support public radio and encourage my friends to do so as well.” – Male, Age 35-44 “ I like to see corporations investing in public media, and where possible, I try to include those companies in my market decisions.” – Male, Age 35-44
  • 19. Sponsorship Drives Listeners to Take Direct Action The vast majority of NPR listeners (85%) have taken some sort of action as a direct result of hearing sponsorship messages on public radio. Base: 601 public radio listeners Listeners are most likely to participate in or attend cultural activities, visit sponsors’ websites, and consider using new products and services as a result of the sponsorship messages they hear.
  • 20. Public Radio’s Halo Is Stronger than That of Commercial Outlets Public radio’s audience is more likely than other commercial audiences to express a preference for purchasing from sponsors. Base: users of each media outlet (n=601) (n=237) (n=157) (n=772) (n=179) (n=675) (n=625)
  • 21. Perceptions of Non-Commercialism Are Strongly Associated with Halo Effect The strength of NPR’s halo effect is closely tied to the perception of NPR as a non-commercial news outlet. Preserving this non-commercial reputation is important because, according to the data, the more that listeners view NPR as “commercial,” the less likely they are to express a preference for doing business with sponsors – and the less likely they are to view public radio as personally important to them. PERCEPTIONS OF PUBLIC RADIO COMMERCIALISM (RELATIVE TO COMMERCIAL TV/RADIO - 1-10 SCALE) Extremely Non-Commercial (1-2) Non-Commercial (3) Moderately Non-Commercial (4-5) Fairly Commercial (6-10) The programming on public radio is personally important My opinion of public radio sponsors is more positive I prefer to buy from public radio sponsors NPR news programs are influenced by sponsors % Agree:
  • 22. Public Radio Funding Beliefs Influence Perceptions of Sponsors NPR listeners who believe that public radio is funded primarily by listener contributions are considerably more likely than others to express a preference for buying from sponsors. +16 points Difference: +15 +9 +8 +8 +0
  • 23. Background, Objectives and Methodology ………………………………………….5 NPR Audience Perceptions of Public Radio & Commercial Advertising …….…..9 The State of the Halo Effect on Public Radio ……………………………………..13 Does the Halo Extend to NPR’s Digital Platforms? ............................................24 Audience Satisfaction with Public Radio Sponsorship Practices ………………..28 page
  • 24. NPR.org Is Viewed as Non-Commercial Web users see a clear distinction between NPR.org and commercial news competitors. Whereas 60% of NPR.org users view the site as non-commercial, only 9% of NYTimes.com users say the same. Base: Users of each website ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10, WHERE “1” IS “NON-COMMERCIAL” AND “10” IS “EXTREMELY COMMERCIAL, HOW WOULD YOU RATE EACH OF THE FOLLOWING SITES? % Very Commercial (8-10) % Non-Commercial (1-3) 60% 54% 17% 14% 10% 9% 12% 13% (n=140) (n=169) (n=125) (n=122) (n=197) (n=127) 29% 36% 38% 40%
  • 25. NPR.org Also Benefits from Halo Effect Users of NPR.org are more likely than visitors from competitive sites to express a preference for doing business from corporate sponsors. PURCHASE PREFERENCE: Base: Users of each website OPINION/IMAGE: PERCEIVED SELECTIVITY: When price and quality are equal, I prefer to buy products from companies that sponsor/advertise with this site My opinion of a business is more positive when I find out it supports this site This site is selective about the businesses that can sponsor/advertise. % agree % agree % agree (n=140) (n=169) (n=125) (n=122) (n=197) (n=127)
  • 26. The Halo Effect Extends Across NPR Platforms According to separate surveys conducted among NPR podcast listeners, and NPR News iPhone app users, the halo effect extends across all major NPR platforms. *NPR/Knowledge Networks survey on public radio sponsorship; October 2010 **NPR survey of podcast listeners, fielded through NPR Listens audience advisory panel; n=275; November 2010 *** NPR survey of NPR News iPhone app users, fielded via Survey Monkey to users who clicked on in-app banners promoting survey; n=655; October 2010 % WHO AGREE: Radio* NPR.org* Podcast** iPhone app*** NPR Platform Audience: An important note: This data comes from three separate audience surveys. Differences in methodology and sample composition for each mean that direct comparisons cannot be made between the halo effect of each NPR platform. For example, it would be inappropriate to conclude that podcasts have a stronger halo effect than radio sponsorship. Rather, the important takeaway is that NPR enjoys a similar halo effect across all platforms. When price and quality are equal, I prefer to buy from companies that support NPR 64% 69% 76% 70% My opinion of a business is more positive when I find out it supports NPR 72% 71% 85% 78% NPR is selective about the businesses and products that can sponsor 50% 52% 51% 46% Rate NPR as “non-commercial” (i.e. 1-3 on 10-point scale) 70% 60% 65% 63%
  • 27. Background, Objectives and Methodology ………………………………………….5 NPR Audience Perceptions of Public Radio & Commercial Advertising …….…..9 The State of the Halo Effect on Public Radio ……………………………………..13 Does the Halo Extend to NPR’s Digital Platforms? ............................................24 Audience Satisfaction with Public Radio Sponsorship Practices ……………….28 page
  • 28. When It Comes to Sponsorship, Listeners Are Least Satisfied with the Number of Credits They Hear
    • Overall, very few NPR listeners express strong dissatisfaction with NPR’s corporate underwriting model; most are content with it.
    • A majority of listeners are satisfied with the kinds of language used in sponsorship announcements, but many have at least some concerns about the number of credits they hear on the air.
    Base: 601 public radio listeners Mean Score: 8.3 7.5 7.0 6.6
  • 29. Many Have Noticed an Increase in Number of Sponsorship Announcements in Recent Years About two in five listeners report that they have been hearing more sponsors during breaks on their local station these days. Among this group, a majority (59%) says it has caused them to think at least occasionally that their station was being too commercial. COMPARED TO A FEW YEARS AGO, HAVE YOU NOTICED A CHANGE IN… Impact on Perceived Commercialism: Of these three changes, a perceived increase in the number of sponsor announcements is the change most likely to have caused listeners to think their station was being too commercial. Base: 601 public radio listeners In Their Own Words: “ I hear the announcements more frequently in the past. I understand the need for them in today’s financial climate. I have noted the announcements sound a bit more like advertising than they used to.” – Female, Age 35-44 “ I don’t mind the quick sponsor credit but when it turns into a 30 second commercial I think this is not ‘commercial free’ radio.” – Female, Age 35-44 Kinds of language you hear in public radio sponsorship announcements (% Yes) 16% Types of companies that sponsor public radio (% Yes) 22% Number of sponsorship announcements you hear on public radio (% More) 36%
  • 30. Contributors Have Rosier Perceptions of Sponsorship Practices On average, those who contribute to their local station are somewhat more likely than non-givers to be satisfied with public radio’s sponsorship practices. In contrast, listeners to Top 20 public stations (as measured by total weekly audience) are somewhat less likely to express satisfaction. ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10, WHERE “1” IS “NOT SATISFIED AT ALL” AND “10” IS “EXTREMELY SATISFIED, WHAT IS YOUR LEVEL OF SATISFACTION WITH EACH OF THE FOLLOWING? (Mean scores are below) (n=601) (n=216) (n=381) (n=157) (n=428) Base: public radio listeners All Public Radio Listeners Contributors Non-Contributors Top 20 Station Listeners* Other Station Listeners* Number of sponsorship announcements you hear on the radio 6.6 7.0 6.5 6.4 6.7 Types of companies that sponsor public radio 7.0 7.3 6.9 6.6 7.1 Kinds of language you hear in public radio sponsorship announcements 7.5 7.8 7.5 7.2 7.6
  • 31. Continued Support for Public Radio Sponsorship Is Not Unconditional While NPR listeners have a largely positive impression of sponsors and the corporate underwriting model as a whole, their continued support is not unconditional. In no uncertain terms, listeners express a clear expectation that underwriting practices respect non-commercial values, and that sponsors have no editorial influence on the news programming they hear. Base: public radio listeners WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS ABOUT BUSINESSES OR FOUNDATIONS THAT SPONSOR PROGRAMMING ON YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC RADIO STATION? Respecting Listener Expectations “ Good, provided they continue to be unobtrusive.” – Female, Age 55-64 “ OK with me, as long as they don’t take too much air time with ‘commercials.’ – Male, Age 55-64 “ I think it’s a good thing as long as [sponsors] are just mentioned and don’t make a commercial of it.” – Female, Age 55-64 “ I don’t have a problem with it as long as the business or foundation has no influence on what the program plans to air.” – Female, Age 55-64 “ I think it is fine as long as [sponsors] do not try and control the programming.” – Male, Age 55-64 “ As long as it doesn’t create bias with their news broadcasts I’m fine with it.” – Female, Age 55-64 Maintaining a Strict Firewall