Smartphone users like to use the devices to listen to music, and that’s a trend that is on the upswing, according to new information from NPD Group. 56% of smartphone users listen to music on their devices, with 39% of them doing that daily. Of those, they mostly listen to Internet radio (65%), but also stream on demand services like Spotify or Rhapsody (30%) and listen to their own music (it’s not clear whether it’s on the device or streamed from a cloud service) as well.
Music listening on mobile devices extends to tablets as well, with 40% of tablet users listening to music on those devices.
The Audio Consumption study done by NPD Group also observes that hardware of products that enhance wireless local playback of streaming services on mobile devices, like wireless speakers and headphones, are growing as a result of this trend. “With both local music storage and the ability to connect to any number of online music services, tablets and smartphones are actually contributing to a net increase in their owner’s use of internet radio and personal music collections,” said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis at NPD. “As a result, we are seeing sales growth in products that compliment playback on mobile devices, particularly those that feature wireless local streaming.” Wireless streaming speaker sales more than tripled in 2012, and wireless headphones grew by 34 percent.
NPD Group’s Russ Crupnick is a featured speaker at the upcoming RAIN Summit West on Sunday April 7th at the Las Vegas Hotel. For more information and to register, click here.
While the connected dashboard is a concept that holds lots of promise for streaming stations, it’s no secret that it poses a point of concern for platforms that already own the dashboard real estate – like broadcast and satellite. Last year Sirius XM added 2 million net subscribers, and a lot of those came from folks who bought cars with the product already installed. That’s a big source of new audience for Sirius XM. While the streaming industry is busy declaring victory with every new car that integrates Pandora, iHeartRadio, Aha or TuneIn, Sirius is busy thinking about protecting its turf from the new dashboard.
Enter MySXM, the satellite company’s streaming option for listeners. CEO Jim Meyers positions the new streaming platform as a defensive move, pointing out that SiriusXM will have an advantage by offering both satellite and IP options in the dashboard. “Listeners also don’t need to constantly lean forward to create a tailored listening experience. They can just tune to the music channels they already like and adjust the channel’s unique slider controls and set them once for good or change them any time they want….This new feature will further enhance our IP offering, which has been greatly improved over the past year and now includes the ability to time shift up to five hours on many stations, start songs at the beginning when tuning to a music channel and the ability to play thousands of hours of talk and entertainment from over 300 shows from our library of on-demand content.
Though there is no official launch date for MySXM yet, information from the call yesterday was that the platform will be available across all platforms and devices.
Streaming news at CES 2013 last week was all about integration into cars, with big announcements from Ford and JacAPPS, Pandora and Chrysler, Livio, Tunein, and lots of others. The news about Sprint and Nextradio is big as well.
Connected cars are a reality now, and Pandora has played a large part in that evolution. Pandora’s been concentrating on getting their service integrated into connected devices for a long time, and their efforts have had a very large impact. They’ve led a coordinated effort which can take a lot of credit for the high level of interest in connected cars at this year’s CES. Sure, lots of companies are enjoying the advantage of that increased buzz, that’s how it works – pioneers lead the way, open the doors, and others follow, and hopefully flourish.
I’ve said it before and I think it bears repeating – the Internet radio industry has benefitted enormously from having a giant like Pandora in the space. They’ve generated lots of buzz and innovation that others have and will continue to benefit from in terms of listeners as well as technology. This Techcrunch interview with Pandora CTO Tom Conrad offers a nice overview of where they have come from, and how they do it.
News that Nielsen will purchase Arbitron is good news for online radio services like Pandora. Nielsen, which measures many media segments, already has a strong foothold in digital and cross platform measurement, not only in the US but globally. Yesterday’s announcement that they will purchase Arbitron was quickly followed by statements that they will measure online radio services like Pandora as well.
I call this excellent news. Arbitron, which has dallied in Internet radio measurement several times in the past, recently denied Pandora a place at the table when they sought to be measured alongside broadcast radio counterparts. Pressure from those broadcasters, who spend a lot of money with Arbitron, certainly appeared to be one of the reasons that the company decided to measure streaming only as an adjunct to broadcasts. That decision enraged advertising agencies as well as online only services.
I think Nielsen’s entry into radio and digital audio measurement would be an excellent thing for the marketplace. Their multi-media measurement platform and global footprint likely mean that broadcasters won’t be able to flex their muscle to influence company decisions that are better made with a broad perspective. Nielsen is a company that understands that today’s advertisers need measurement tools that can enable accurate media placement across many platforms and technologies. Folding radio into that mix can benefit radio as advertisers are able to view it as an important part of a larger multi media landscape.
Internet radio stations that neglect to offer programming for hispanics are missing out, since of the leading demographics in terms of mobile usage, smartphone penetration and web radio listening. One in four Hispanics reported listening to Internet radio in the last 7 days, compared to about 18% for the general population (in a US based study by The Media Audit).
One streaming service that has been catering to that market for a long time is Batanga, which launched in 1999. I spoke with the guys who started it a few times about joining the Net Radio Sales network, but they always assured me that they were doing just fine on their own. In 2005 they merged with a company called Planeta out of Miami Florida. They recently announced upgrades to their platform that enhance interactivity - allowing users to build digital radio stations by adding the songs and artists they love, offering similar sounding songs, and excluding the music that they don’t want to hear. Other new features include lyrics and more songs.
Meanwhile Pandora has been paying close attention to the Hispanic portion of their audience, which accounts for 20% of their overall audience, according to AdWeek. Reporting on a discussion hosted during Advertising week recently, AdWeek quotes Pandora sales vp Priscilla Valls, who said that 80% of Pandora’s Hispanic users are on mobile devices. Pandora plays 7,000 latino artists in its offerings. While Pandora does not ask for race or ethnic background in its listener profile, but does conduct a yearly survey among listeners for supplemental information for advertisers. This info enables them to target Hispanics on behalf of advertisers.
“We have a variety of marketers who advertise to that audience in Spanish, Spanglish and in English,” Priscilla Valls, a vp of ad sales for Pandora…. ”What we are finding is that brands are using their general budgets to also reach a Hispanic audience.”
With 20% of their audience speaking Spanish, Pandora is hip to hispanics…
Triton Digital and Alan Burns and Associates recently released a new study Radio Tomorrow which focuses on listener attitudes and behavior with a focus on future prospects for the medium. It’s a dense study with a lot of interesting questions in it. For example,
25% of those asked stream music on a smartphone daily from AM/FM, Pandora and other sources, and the number climbs to almost 40% weekly. Pandora alone claims 11% daily and 15% weekly in terms of people using it, per the study.
Some of the news in the study is predictable: young people listen to radio less, want more control of their stations.
Some of it is less so – for example, the study found that 44% of listeners would be more likely to buy a phone if it had an FM chip in it. And of the nearly 20% who have internet access in their cars, many still listen to AM/FM (70%).
When asked if there is a medium that feels like a friend, 50% named RADIO. And they find radio ads more trustworthy and less annoying.
If you haven’t taken a look at this study you should. There’s meaningful takeaways for anyone programming a station, online or not…
The most recent ratings related press release from Pandora arrived this week, touting that “National audience metrics for June 2012 show that among the adult 18-49 demographic (demo), Pandora has a weekly cume of 25,333,249″ – up 6% from March Webcast Metrics audience data. But here’s the big news, straight from the announcement:
The June 2012 Triton Webcast Metrics ratings rank Pandora as the largest adult 18-49 radio network in the U.S. when compared to radio networks in the Arbitron June 2012 RADAR 113 report.”
Pandora now provides monthly AQH and Cume ratings in three key demos in the top ten markets, something which has gone a long way in helping them gain favor with ad agencies. Pandora Chief Revenue Officer John Trimble said, ” These metrics are helping the radio advertising industry make informed buying decisions between terrestrial and internet radio.”
You got that right. Starcom Executive Vice President of Local Activation Kevin Gallagher said, “It’s no secret that an increasing amount of audio is consumed online. With Triton Webcast Metrics ratings, we will be able to compare, as well as combine, audience delivery within the entire audio ecosystem. It’s important to provide advertisers with a holistic view of the entire radio audience to help them understand the internet radio opportunity and value proposition.”
It’s what the agencies want, numbers that make it easy to compare, analyze and make informed buying decisions. Pandora’s offering it on a silver platter and the agencies are eating it up..
Triton released new audience data this week and the most interesting thing on the ranker is the fact that Clear Channel’s streaming platform is beginning to pick up steam, with stats growing 7% from April to May.
As RAIN points out in their analysis yesterday afternoon, Pandora‘s number grew about 4% from April to May, which could be an indicator of slowing in terms of their exponential growth. With more than a billion session starts and close to a million active sessions during the month, their market share is massive. Clear Channel’s growing active session number is approaching just 15% of Pandora’s number.
One thing that can continue to drive Clear Channel’s growth is their ability to brand iHeartRadio throughout their media empire. The deals that they have signed with other broadcast companies also drive listener registration for the iHeartRadio platform. Once registered, those listeners to Cox, Greater Media, Cumulus, or other partner stations in the platform, can easily be converted to listeners to iHeartRadio. Recently introduced features such as artist curated channels, personalized listening options, and social offerings are helping to drive both sampling and listening to iHeartRadio.
Here’s the ranker:
Spotify has moved to offer its mobile streaming options, previously locked down under a monthly subscription, free to listeners. In an obvious response to the exponential growth that Pandora has experienced in mobile listening, Spotify will now feature “free mobile radio – Spotify style”.
The offerings feature the ability to create a station from a song, artist or genre and unlimited listening. Calling it the only free radio that you can save, Spotify mobile offers interactive options to like or dislike a song to influence your station or save the song to a playlist. Until now, it cost ten bucks to get all that on your mobile devices.
It sounds like a good offering, one I’ll bet Spotify wishes they had jumped on a little earlier. Pandora, with 150 million registered users and direct connections on lots of dashboards and tuner devices, has had a handy headstart. This move by Spotify is recognition of the impact that a popular free app in the iPhone and iPad app stores can make.
Free users in the US will hear advertisements from the following launch partners: Chevrolet, Durex, Heineken, Red Stag by Jim Beam, Lipton Iced Tea, Macy’s, McDonalds, Progressive, Red Bull, Taco Bell, Verizon Wireless, and Warner Bros – all of which are current Spotify advertisers.
As for Pandora, I suspect they knew it was only a matter of time before Spotify moved to pick up a piece of all that mobile listening to Pandora for free. They may even welcome the fact that Spotify will now join in their efforts to monetize mobile streaming ads…
Pandora now has more than 150 million registered users, and more than two thirds of that number has listened on a smartphone or tablet. More than 70 percent of all listening to Pandora occurs on a mobile device.
To that end, mobile revenues grew from $25 million in 2011 to $100 million in 2012 for the most listened to online radio platform in the US. That puts them second only to Google in terms of mobile advertising revenues, according to a recent press release. This is a good response from Pandora to Wall Street analysts who have been skeptical of the company’s ability to monetize its mobile ad inventory.
Pandora also noted that they are now included in the dashboard of 48 models of cars, and have partnerships with 25 brands of autos and auto aftermarket devices.
Pandora’s mobile strategy has been a key component of their growth – they were early into the iTunes app store and experienced enormous popularity from the beginning that continues today as a mobile platform. With more than 70% of their listening occurring on mobile, their ability to monetize that listening is critical. $100 million sounds like they are on the right path..