Arbitron has announced a deal with Euorpean based online audio ad serving and measurement company Adswizz which signals their intention to return to server based streaming audience measurement. During an earnings call, EVP/COO Sean Creamer reported that Arbitron signed an agreement with Adswizz last week.
“AdsWizz will process the server-based, streaming log files exclusively for our planned digital radio service. This collaboration is designed to help us to realize our vision for providing standard reporting metrics for over the air and digital streaming audiences on behalf of our current radio broadcast customers and for digital music service clients. We are currently working with both our radio station clients and the digital service providers to develop the first report deliverables.”
Arbitron departed from server based streaming audio measurement when it purchased and subsequently shuttered Measurecast in 2004. Earlier this year they announced a plan to develop a comprehensive streaming audio measurement solution. A server based streaming audio measurement solution would put Arbitron in direct competition with Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics, which currently measures services including Pandora, iHeartradio, Slacker, CBSRadio, AccuRadio and others.
Creamer’s announcement also promises a solution for current radio broadcast customers and digital music service clients. While it may seem obvious that the only way to produce a credible streaming measurement platform is to include both streaming broadcast and online only services, I had heard rumors that some of the broadcast clients of Arbitron were opposed to a solution that included online services like Pandora and Slacker. I’m hoping everyone has come to their senses on this point.
Competition in audience measurement of streaming can only be a good thing as it will encourage continued development of each solution’s capabilities. It’s also a good sign of a thriving industry…
The latest Webcast Metrics audience reports are out for August 2011, and the lineup of stations on the ranker remains pretty much the same. Pandora sits atop with nearly half a million session starts. Below them, CBSRadio’s network of streams has 58 million session starts and Clear Channel’s group of streams has 54 million. Citadel, Slacker, Entercom, Cox, ESPNRadio, Cox, Digitally Imported and EMF round out the list of top ten streaming networks. Cumulus is in the 11th position – look for that group to combine with Citadel in the coming months now that the Cumulus purchase of Citadel is done.
This month, for variety I have decided to look at session starts and tsl instead of AAS. Pandora is holding steady at a tsl of .80 – meaning that was the average duration of the nearly 500 million session starts that they saw last month. Pandora’s tsl is shorter than Clear Channel’s and CBSRadio’s, though not by a lot. Slacker’s is .69. Topping the ranker in terms of length of listening session are Salem, Hubbard and AccuRadio.
At The Radio Show last month, RAB president Jeff Haley remarked in his opening speech that Pandora’s audience claims aren’t fair because they’re not using a cume number that represents unique listeners. That numbers of sessions, duration of sessions and tsl don’t tell the story of how many individuals the platform is reaching. This is a valid point – Webcast Metrics rankers do provide data useful for comparing the services against each other and for determining impression based advertising values, but the data does not give an accurate picture of the number of unique individuals that a station reaches.
Determining uniques shouldn’t be a difficult data point for server based audience measurement, although I’m thinking that each device a person listens on would have to be a unique. That could then be factored by the average number of devices a person uses if a buyer wanted to get a truer representation of the station’s cume.
I’m all for transparency and this seems like a good point to pursue. Here’s the ranker:
A new Webcast Metrics ranker of measured stations for March shows that Pandora‘s audience AAS sits slightly below the half million mark, a number that is just slightly above last month’s position. Last month, when Pandora’s number showed some negative growth, we learned that there was some missing data and that would affect March and April data as well: “During this period, the code that measures audience and time spent listening was inadvertently omitted by Pandora in some versions of their mobile applications. Therefore, not all of Pandora’s mobile listening is captured in this report.”
For the most part, the other leading groups or stations on the ranker showed increases: CBSRadio, Clear Channel, Citadel, Slacker, Entercom, ESPNRadio, Cox and Cumulus all saw modest growth in their AAS number while Digitally Imported, the third online only station in the top ten, saw a minute decrease in their domestic AAS.
AccuRadio, Salem and Bonneville continue to lead the pack with strong TSL numbers that are 3 or more times greater than Pandora and some of the other leading groups on the ranker. No doubt, this has to do with lots of sampling, but also to a loyal userbase for the three TSL winners on the ranker.
On Pandora’s Grammy station, listeners can hear a stream of all the nominees and click to buy their favorite tracks. The channel is presented by Pandora and The Recording Academy, which is the organization that actually presents the awards. Said Tim Westergren, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Pandora, “Like the GRAMMY Awards, Pandora internet radio is about celebrating new musicians as well as honoring well-known ones. Our mission is to give people music they love and help musicians find a wider audience of listeners. A special-edition station, like this GRAMMY station, adds yet another way for listeners to enjoy and discover great music from a wide range of styles.”
Valentines Day offerings are popular this month as well. AccuRadio’s offering – Love Songs Radio – is a favorite with listeners and advertisers, according to station Founder Kurt Hanson, who says the seasonal channel is second only to their Christmas channels in terms of popular holiday themes.
I looked around for a specially programmed Groundhog day channel and couldn’t find one – probably too cute to have one that plays the same songs over and over…
It’s been a while since AndoMedia released a monthly Webcast Metrics ranker, so I had been wondering what was up. Apparently, there were problems in the land of Ando last month and the result is a ranker for August that is missing some information:
Due to an error in Log Processing we are unable to provide accurate statistics on certain metrics for certain clients. These fields are marked Not Available (N/A). We apologize for the inconvenience.
Hmmm. I guess that’s why the press release came out after 4:30 on a friday afternoon…
One of the easiest ways for stations to expand their programming to please their audience is with Christmas music. Tis almost the season, listeners will be looking for their favorite versions of White Christmas and Jingle Bell Rock before you know it.
AccuHolidays, the holiday music version of AccuRadio, offers an incredibly deep assortment of channels – Old Fashioned, Classical, Rudolph Radio, Jazz and Reggae channels, they even have a channel that only plays the songs Blue Christmas and White Christmas (in every rendition available). Now AccuRadio has launched Chicago’s Christmas Channel, available on the Chicago Radio Online website.
Chicago is the homebase of AccuRadio, Chicago Radio Online is an online station similar to AccuRadio in technical features, but local to Chicago in its programming. The station features many well known Chicago personalities and is programmed by veteran radio air-personality and programmer Tommy Edwards.
There are several easy ways that stations can stream a holiday side channel. Slipstream Radio and Custom Channels are two companies in the business of building and managing a holiday channel that stations can add to their online programming options.
Pandora, the darling of the US online radio marketplace, recently rolled out genre stations – format based listening channels that enable fans to simply choose a channel and listen to a professionally programmed stream of music. The channels have been in the background for a while but have recently been given more prominence online. Apparently, Pandora is finding out that some listeners want the simple option. Interactivity may be too much work for some listeners.
“I think there’s a huge percentage of the population that will always love what the Pandora brand stands for, which is an approach where you start with some artist names and song votes and build your own channel.” says Kurt Hanson, Founder and CEO of AccuRadio, an Internet radio service that offers channels that emphasize professional programming and some, but less interactivity. “But there’s another segment of the market — an older segment, more mainstream – that will prefer an approach that doesn’t take as much effort.”
A factor that may be driving Pandora’s new promotion of “genre stations” is the prospect of Internet radio in cars. Pandora has b een leading the industry into automobiles, announcing deals with Ford, Pioneer and Alpine this year. In car listening is the final frontier for Internet radio – the place where broadcast radio dominates and lots of folks tune in. It remains a huge untapped potential for audience growth for Pandora and other Internet radio stations.
AndoMedia has released a new ranker for June 2010 which resolves an ongoing issue that had prevented some key online only (or pureplay) stations from being presented in their domestic ranker. Digitally Imported, 977Music, and 1.fm had previously shown up in the All Streams ranker, but due to some technical measurement issues AndoMedia was unable to report on their US only streams. This month those stations debut in the US based streams report as well, joining AccuRadio and Pandora for a total of five online stations in the listing of the top streaming stations or networks measured by AndoMedia.
Pandora, which sits prominently atop the ranker with more than three times the average number of streams per minute (AAS) than the next platform (which happens to be CBS Radio, including AOL and Yahoo’s streaming radio platforms). Thanks to Pandora, listening to online only stations exceeds listening to broadcast streams on the top twenty domestic ranker as well.
Another highlight from this monthly ranker is ESPNRadio’s number, which reflects a huge increase thanks to massive listening to streams of World Cup matches. The average number of domestic streams for that service leapt from 10,103 to 16,758.
After some delay due to AndoMedia’s working with the MRC on accreditation, AndoMedia has released two months worth of Internet radio audience data for March and April. They’ve also implemented some changes in the way they calculate and credit listening – for one, they’re not going to count sessions that last longer than 24 hours. The second change has to do with the way they assign credit using IP based geolocation data – when it is not available they will use the central time zone.
Accreditation is a good thing, I’m strongly in favor of Ando doing everything they can to make sure their Webcast Metrics server based audience measurement service meets with the approval of the Media Rating Council. We also see for the first time the IAB logo on the released rankers, signifying that AndoMedia has become a member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
With regard to the data…the lineup remains the same, with Pandora furthering their lead in terms of listeners on the domestic ranker and Cumulus debuting on the ranker. Missing from the All Streams ranker below is Pandora with 324,886 AAS, which would appear at the top of the pack.
Besides that, there are few noteworthy changes. You can see the rankers here. AndoMedia will host a teleconference to review the new data on thursday June 17th at 3pm (no indication of what time zone). To register for that, click here.