TSL…. It’s Not Who, But How Long!

By David Kidd, BPR

Time Spent Listening (TSL) is the second variable, together with cume, involved in determining market share.

Cume and TSL combine to provide a station’s Total Listening as well as the market Total Listening.

Share is “your station’s total listening” ÷ “total market listening”.

TSL Definition: TSL is an estimate of the length of time that a station’s cumulative audience spends listening during a specified time period expressed in hours and minutes.

TSL is correctly referred to as Average TSL.

To use a very simplistic example, if a station has 2 listeners and a TSL of 8 hours, the reality

could be that one person listened for 12 hours and the other listened for 4 hours ……NO ONE actually listened for 8 hours.

So your station loses TSL. What do you do? Panic? No………..not yet!

First ……look at all the variables.

In the example below, the five new “light” listeners gained in survey 2 have increased cume to 15 but diluted TSL….remember its an average. However, Total Listening has increased to 125 hours and these light listeners have the potential to become “heavy” listeners.

Cume TSL per Listener Average Station TSL Total Station Listening
survey 1 10 listeners 10 hrs 10 hrs 100 hrs
survey 2 10 listeners 10 hrs  8h 20m 125 hrs
5 new listeners   5 hrs

 

Conversely, a station could lose cume but increase TSL because the loss in cume was due to Light  listeners. The bad news is that total listening is also down.

Cume TSL per Listener Average Station TSL Total Station Listening
survey 1 10 listeners 10 hrs 8h 20m 125 hrs
   5 listeners    5 hrs
survey 2 10 listeners 10 hrs 10 hrs 100 hrs

 

Final Note

Understand both variables – cume and TSL.

What percentage of your cume are Light, Medium or Heavy listeners?

Find out what is driving any losses or gains in both cume and TSL.

Always look at the overall picture.

 

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