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.