Pandora’s Local Market Presence Is Huge

Last week while I was enjoying some time away from phones and computers Pandora stirred things up a bit by releasing data showing their significant audience in top ten markets. They presented the research which had been “analyzed and converted” by Edison Research, at a Pandora Radio Innovator’s Summit for media buyers and agency folks.

Pandora chose to use Average Quarter Hour (AQH) as their unit of measurement. AQH is the standard for measurement for traditional radio, Triton Digital has attempted to replace that with a term called Average Active Session, in its monthly Webcast Metrics report. Both terms refer to the average number of listeners in a certain demo and a certain daypart.

In the top ten markets, Pandora’s AQH rating ranged from a .5 to a .9 – highly respectable ratings – in the A18-34 demographic. That puts them, according to RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter, above all the local terrestrial stations in each of the top five markets. Pandora beats out Z100 and Hot97 in NYC and KIIS in LA in their own target demographics.

Although some folks immediately tried to discredit Pandora’s figures, claiming that since each listener is listening to its own stream, the audience data can’t be aggregated into one AQH number. I just don’t think buyers will see it that way – when it comes to buying impressions I think they’re willing to look at impressions on unique streams in the same way they are willing to view a simulcast audience.

Edison’s analysis is logical: they noted how many listeners there were and how long they listened, tossed sessions under 5 minutes, and converted the data into AQH using standard methodology. Pandora’s significant audience in top ten markets should boost buying interest in their platform, and hopefully streaming radio overall as well.

On a related note, Pandora saw some positive ratings from Wall Street Investment firms last week as Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo issued a buy rating for the stock . Last Monday was the first day that analysts were allowed to comment on the stock.

2 responses

  1. Mary Beth Garber

    If buyer is just looking for impressions and is willing to buy the entire site, that’s fine. But all the buyers keep claiming they buy Pandora because of its ability to target, down to zip codes and more. If that’s how they are buying and why they are buying Pandora, then those ratings are meaningless.
    Take your pick. You can’t have it both ways.

  2. Thanks for your comment. With these ratings, Pandora is able to demonstrate to media buyers that they have significant audiences in these markets, which helps media buyers make a decision to include them on their ad plans. The ability to target by zip code is the method by which they achieve delivery of those impressions into the assigned market. The ratings are a planning tool, targeting is the delivery tool. You kind of have to have it both ways.

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