As discussed yesterday, PPM data is available on AM/FM stations that are encoding and meeting certain standards. Arbitron will measure AM/FM Streaming stations in either one of two ways – if the station is simulcasting 100% of the content, including commercials, then the data measured can be combined with broadcast station numbers as one audience. PPM measures in-market listening, so it makes sense that stations that are completely simulcasting on the internet should get credit for the streaming portion of that audience.
If the station is not simulcasting 100% of its audience – and is instead inserting different commercials on the stream (or different content for that matter) – then its stream is measured as a standalone station and must meet the minimum reporting standard of .495 for a weekly cume rating in order to show up in the report.
Should stations simulcast their streams?
This raises an interesting dilemna for broadcasters who are streaming. Should they simulcast their streams to earn additional credit in their Arbitron market report, or sell and insert different commercials on the stream? Some broadcasters are choosing to simulcast, hoping that credit for their online audience will lessen the ratings drop they’ll see as a result of PPM measurement. Knowledgeable sources such as RAIN’s Kurt Hanson agree – it’s unlikely that any station’s online audience will at this point significantly increase its market share.
What’s best for advertisers?
More importantly, Internet radio’s best asset is that the audience is online – and can react to an online call to action in an ad, while traditional radio commercials – often reaching people in cars – mention phone numbers or physical addresses or even texting as a call to action. Accountability and Return on Investment are so critical to advertisers these days. Broadcasters of AM/FM stations should develop a streaming business model that encourages advertisers to create ads for online listeners.