Arbitron recently released a report on PPM measurement results for August which includes some measurement of AM/FM stations’ streaming audiences. In order to be eligible for measurement, stations have to be encoding the stream for their measurement standards which include certain sample and bit rates. According to this report, 395 AM/FM streaming stations were ready for reporting. Of those, 11 made the .495 weekly Cume Rating minimum reporting requirement.
So what does this mean? First, it’s not surprising that so few stations meet that minimum reporting requirement since the internet radio audience in general is vastly smaller than the broadcast radio audience. Good evaluation of an internet radio station can only compare it to other internet radio stations. In this report, stations are compared to broadcast stations. What this actually demonstrates is that PPM, diary, or otherwise, sample sizes are not going to be sufficient means of quantifying individual internet radio station audiences because the samples are designed to capture the audiences of much larger stations. You’d need a MUCH larger sample if you were designing a survey specifically to measure Internet radio stations.
This report also released some very general information profiling Internet radio listeners. Internet streaming skews 25-54, and is a work day, work week oriented audience. Listeners are well educated. All things that have already been defined about the audience. Of all 25-54 panelists, 9.4% listened to encoded streams of AM/FM stations. That number does not include listening to Internet only stations, podcasts, non-encoded stations, and out of market stations which are not included in the surveys.