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Data Reveals Continued Drive Time Recovery in PPM Markets


Westwood One
Westwood One

Westwood One's Insights team examined Nielsen's just-released high-level findings from the September Portable People Meter markets and the June-July-August diary surveys. For those expecting stability, there were surprising increases across the board, as drive time audience recovery continues in PPM markets. For the fifth month in a row, morning drive and afternoon drive listening have grown. Middays are at 92% and evenings are 89% of prior levels. Weekends audiences fully recovered in June.

Other findings included:

  • In August, three times as many Americans commuted to work versus those who worked from home, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve: 64% of the February workforce commuted to work in August, three times as many as those who worked from home (20%).

  • PPM recovery scorecard: Reach is now 97% of March and format shares are rock steady: Compared to March, AM/FM radio has retained 97% of its weekly reach. Format shares are exceptionally stable. The sports format held onto its 3.8 share in September, which grew sharply from July to August.

  • Geopath: American average miles traveled recovers strongly, especially in markets outside of the top 25: Compared to the prior year, mileage travelled in the past week in the top 25 markets was +11% to +17% greater than in the prior year. In markets 26-100, average miles traveled was 29% to 39% greater than 2019. Markets outside the top 100 experienced significant growth in miles traveled, +48% to +54%.

  • Diary market scorecard: No impact in listening levels versus pre-COVID: Total listening during the June-July-August survey in the continuously measured diary markets is virtually identical to the pre-COVID January-February-March period. The just-released total week reach is 101% of the prior period and AQH is 100% of the prior survey.

  • One-third of the continuously measured diary markets now have greater listening levels than Q1 2020: Comparing the June-July-August diary surveys to the January-February-March period finds that thirteen markets currently have listening levels that exceed pre-COVID levels.

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