With Pandora moving to release radio-like ratings in top ten markets, there’s a lot of focus on Internet radio ratings these days. Some broadcast radio traditionalists are trying to argue against the validity of those ratings, but the reality is that Pandora has large amounts of listeners in the top ten markets (and probably beyond). With server based measurement and registered user targetability, it’s easy to verify that audience and deliver impressions to them. They are a viable competitor for radio dollars in those marketplaces, and foolish is the buyer that refuses to consider them, especially for younger demographic buys where their presence is especially significant.
Now Arbitron, as told to Inside Radio last week, is preparing to launch its “total audience measurement initiative” in the coming year which will offer measurement options for streaming broadcast stations as well as online only “pureplay” stations such as Pandora. Details are sketchy and rumors – such as Arbitron in talks to purchase Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics audience measurement service – abound.
If indeed Arbitron is moving in the direction of offering a service that will enable stations to bundle up their audiences – online, over the air, mobile, etc., that will be a good thing. Gone are the days when the only way to count listeners is to make sure they are all hearing the same thing at the same time. Stations need to be able to nimbly separate or aggregate listeners from different platforms, target messages to them, and report listening to advertisers precisely. Tools that enable that will help win dollars.
These are interesting days for the industry. Audience measurement platforms that provide better data will benefit everyone.