Every Listener Counts

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.

3 responses

  1. Mary Beth Garber

    Interesting times indeed. But about Pandora’s ability to deliver reliable measurable impressions, not so fast. Unlike Arbitron’s PPM, the server doesn’t know if a person is actually listening to the stream or has left the room. It doesn’t track the volume of the stream. And as for registrations, in order to get free music (or for other reasons), many of the registrants are the same person with a different IP address. The internet has been plagued by various forms of “fraudulent” measurement and Pandora’s stream is no exception. Impressions aren’t everything — reach and frequency are key guidelines to successful media plans.

  2. With all due respect Mary Beth, I really do not think that calling Pandora’s stream “fraudulent” is productive or valid. And arguing that a PPM device – with its extremely limited sampling – is more valid than server data is a pretty weak argument. To tell you the truth, I’m just not sure why Katz wants to be involved in arguing against Internet radio at all…why not focus on the strong suits that broadcast radio has and bolster the industry with constructive rather than destructive publicity? Isn’t Pandora a client of Katz360?

  3. And Terrestrial radio’s Diary and now PPM estimates are able to discern the user by age, gender, market and….oh yes, if anyone is actually in the room? Do you realize how absurd your argument has become? If Edison and now Arbitron can figure out a way to effectively measure PANDORA’s audience are they all that ignorant or are you just that smart? Actual listening by scrubbed unique users is how I heard the Edison methodology was done so registered users is not a function of this data. Sell radio — stop selling negative personal sentiment…it is not very becoming on you!

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