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Quantifying the reach and impact of ‘Localore’ (2014) and ‘Localore: Finding America’ (2017) productions

Here we assess the reach and impact of two national Localore productions in 2014 and Finding America in 2017 across three platforms of engagement with which each production team experimented — broadcast, digital/social, and live events.

These represent both local and national reach, as well as activity on the Finding America metasite where AIR’s documentaries are presented together with local stories, a collection of short-form video documentaries, a series of audio dispatches, and more than 50 digital streams. While the number of local productions has increased by 50 percent, from 10 in 2014 to 15 in 2017, the overall reach across the field has grown by 71 percent, or by more than 20 million gross impressions.1

Cost per impression breaks out how much was spent for each single impression for each platform.

Total impressions
2014 28,200,000
2017 48,300,000

Data Source: Scott Williams (data analyst); NPR Research, Fall 2015 and 2016; NPR Digital (data combined with monthly reporting data from station incubators); Nielsen Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Summer 2016, Fall 2016

AIR

Broadcast
2014 24,500,000
2017 43,300,000

Data Source: Scott Williams (data analyst); NPR Research, Fall 2015 and 2016; Nielsen Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Summer 2016, Fall 2016

AIR

Digital impressions
2014 1,300,000
2017 5,000,000

Data Source: Scott Williams (data analyst); NPR Digital (data combined with monthly data reporting from station incubators)

AIR

Live impressions
2014 19,420
2017 47,949

Data Source: Scott Williams (data analyst)
Note: Impressions means number of people at the Localore live events

AIR

In terms of reach, local radio broadcast delivers, and with best value. The Finding America teams produced hundreds of local news features, talk shows, promos, and documentaries presented via broadcast airwaves and at a cost of one-third of one cent for the Finding America production. There was just one local television station incubator accounting for a relatively minor impact in the broadcast category.

Total impressions
Broadcast 43,253,025
Digital 5,041,295

Data Source: Scott Williams (data analyst); NPR Research, Fall 2015 and 2016; Nielsen Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Summer 2016, Fall 2016; NPR Digital (data combined with monthly data reporting from station incubators)

AIR

Broadcast impressions
Local radio 31,994,340
National radio 10,912,200
Local television 346,485

Data Source: Scott Williams (data analyst); NPR Research, Fall 2015 and 2016; Nielsen Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Summer 2016, Fall 2016
Note: There was only one television station among the 15 incubators.

AIR

Digital impact grows, cost decreases. Broadcasting remains the dominant platform, though its relative impact has diminished slightly with the increasing variety of digital platforms. In 2014, digital accounted for 5 percent of total gross impressions, costing 38¢ per impression. In 2017, digital impact doubles to 10 percent of the overall impact and the cost drops 25¢.

Cost per impression

2014 2017
Broadcast 1/3 cent 1/2 cent
Digital 25 cents 38 cents
Live $26 $10

Data Source: Scott Williams (data analyst)

AIR

Branded sites are a plus. Nine stations posted project information on websites named after their project, as well as the station home site. Of these, seven were substantially more effective in attracting page views than the rest of the productions.

Local events have a growing but relatively small reach, yet have a quantitatively different impact than that of broadcast or digital distribution. Edison’s Tom Webster says this: “Live community events are important not only to raise awareness and support for public media, but also to hear crucial voices that may be missing. These free events brought out a highly different group of people, and serve to humanize public media at a time when the media (in general) are having some perception problems. The relatively high cost — $26 per impression — likely has many factors, including the need to create a new platform with each event.

  1. Gross impressions represent the number of instances of engagement with content, including, for example, headcount at an event, likes on a Facebook or Twitter post, listening to a radio story, or watching a television promo.

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