One of the odd dynamics of the U.S. economy these past several years is that inflation continues to be very, very low. Mortgages are cheap, you get a car loan with a low percentage rate, and leaving your money in a savings account generates virtually no income.
But when it comes to entertainment, it's an entirely different story. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released new data based on the Consumer Price Index that bucks that trend. It shows the cost of most forms of entertainment continues to rise – at a rate well above inflation.
Overall, the cost of all the different entertainment outlets (the black hash line) on the chart has gone up more than 10% since 2010. And as you can see, a number of entertainment pastimes are not just getting more expensive, their costs are have been sharply rising over the past six years.
The price of attending a movie, the theater, or a concert has risen more than 11%, while sporting events have exploded – up 24% during the past six years.
And in a sector near and dear to those of us in radio, the cost of video and audio services has also been on the rise, moving up 16% from 2010-2016. It just keeps getting more expensive for consumers to entertain themselves with sight and sound.
Except for radio.
Because if there was a radio line on this chart, it would be flat-lined at 0%. While everything else in the entertainment world has gotten progressively more costly – even in these times of low inflation – radio remains the reliable, simple, and no-cost way for consumers to entertain and inform themselves.
And inside this chart is another reminder to radio programmers and marketers – something we hear every time we moderate focus groups and 1-on-1 interviews with listeners. While stations often strive to give away bigger than life items like cars or exotic vacations, a simple pair of tickets to a concert, festival, street fair, or local sporting event can be worth its weight in gold to a family faced with trying to keep up with the rising lines on this chart.
Leave it to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to create a compelling sales piece for radio, as well as a reminder to programmers about what moves the needle with the audience.
Radio: Simple, reliable, FREE.
You can check out this chart interactively by clicking here. Thanks to Bill Jacobs for connecting the dots.
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