Accustream’s Paul Palumbo has been putting together comprehensive streaming audio reports for years, and his top level approach has always impressed me. His definition of the Internet radio universe is very comprehensive. He starts by defining the universe in terms of total hours listened, and then includes data on inventory sellout, and historical and projected revenues.
AccuStream iMedia Research reports that in 2008, total listening to Internet radio was up 37.6% over the previous year, to 6.67 billion hours. More than half of those hours belonged to Shoutcast, a streaming portal owned by AOL. Shoutcast is a huge aggregator, but they don’t monetize their network, leaving stations to do that individually or as part of other ad networks. It’s useful to use their data to define the universe, which this report does, because they aggregate thousands of online stations.
The top online stations or networks in this updated annual report were Clear Channel’s Online Network, AOL’s network, Pandora and Yahoo. Those four groups comprised a strong 51% of the total hours listened to online. CBSRadio now operates AOL’s network and will soon do so for Yahoo as well. To avoid duplication, this report focuses on the bandwidth source for reporting listening, so AOL and Yahoo remain separate from CBSRadio.
In-stream audio ad revenue is reported to have been $74 million in 2008, a 46% increase over 2007’s almost $51 million. Projected growth for 2009 is 25% to $93 million.
The report includes interviews with various Internet radio businesses as well. It’s the most comprehensive look at the Internet radio industry that I have seen. As the business model for Internet radio continues to develop and evolve, it’s great to have this annual report as a resource.