Monthly Archives: September, 2011

Pandora’s Local Market Ratings Report for September

Pandora has issued a second month’s worth of its local market ratings report which shows that they continue to build audience and develop a strong audience share in large local markets. Their “listenership analysis” is calculated by Edison Research and is meant to provide a comparable AQH and AQH rating for Pandora in certain local markets that can enable advertisers to include the station on campaigns specific to those markets.

Pandora’s position is strong with Adults 18 to 34 and 18 to 49. According to Edison Research, Pandora received a 1.0 average quarter hour (AQH) rating in September 2011 for the 18-34 demographic in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Portland, OR markets. This rating indicates how popular each quarter-hour of Pandora is among the entire population of a market. The report also revealed growth in the Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Portland markets among adults 18-34.

Edison Research used industry-accepted methodology to determine the AQH and AQH ratings in each local market, calculating number of listeners, length of listening, and using metro survey area data. They discarded listening sessions less than five minutes and listening sessions to Pandora One, their ad-free subscription service.

It’s clear from the information below that Pandora has a strong audience in major markets and is in a position to compete for local radio dollars on that basis. As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, there seems to be only one arguable issue with regard to these ratings and that is that AQH numbers on their own cannot speak to the reach of a station – there is no element that determines if the listeners are unique. Cume is the portion of ratings that determines that, and we aren’t seeing any of that in these reports. Which simply gives critics something to sink their teeth into..

September 2011 Pandora Radio Ratings
Monday-Sunday, 6.00 a.m. – midnight

New York
Adults 18 – 34 = 0.7 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = 0.5 AQH rating

Los Angeles
Adults 18 – 34 = 1.0 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = 0.7 AQH rating

Adults 18 – 34 = 0.8 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = 0.5 AQH rating

San Francisco
Adults 18 – 34 = 1.0 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = 0.7 AQH rating

Dallas – Ft. Worth
Adults 18 – 34 = 0.9 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = 0.6 AQH rating

Adults 18 – 34 = 0.9 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = 0.6 AQH rating

Adults 18 – 34 = 0.8 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = 0.6 AQH rating

Adults 18 – 34 = 0.8 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = 0.5 AQH rating

Washington, DC
Adults 18 – 34 = 1.0 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = 0.7 AQH rating

Adults 18 – 34 = 0.8 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = 0.6 AQH rating

Adults 18 – 34 = 1.0 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = 0.7 AQH rating

*September 2011 is defined as August 18, 2011 to September 14, 2011

Facebook Music’s Impact On Streaming Could Be Really Big

Facebook‘s news that it will integrate a bunch of third party streaming services into its platform has a lot of people buzzing in anticipation. Billboard said the f8 conference last week where it was announced “should be remembered as streaming services’ coming out party.” The exposure that streaming music will gain through Facebook’s 800 million users is huge.

Facebook’s bff in this new streaming music scheme is Spotify, and they stand to gain the most. In exchange for bff status, Spotify has begun to force users to have a facebook account, and have made it a default that info about what you are listening to appears in your facebook timeline – like Jennifer Lane is listening to Adele’s Rolling In The Deep

Other services that will be included in the new facebook offering are MOG, rdio, Rhapsody, turntable, tunein, iheartradio, Slacker and others. MOG and rdio had been subscription based services, both services rolled out new, free and ad based offerings last week in anticipation of their new deal with facebook.

Pandora is noticeably missing from the list of services, CBSRadio’s is as well. When I asked why they aren’t a part of the newly announced integration, Pandora told me:

We continue to be close partners with Facebook; in fact the new that launched this week features the deepest, most compelling Facebook integrations we’ve ever offered. Facebook kept us informed at every step of their development of their open music platform – that dialogue continues. For today, we’re glad that our users can easily use to both follow and share music discoveries with Facebook friends on Facebook, as well as on

Meanwhile, Spotify is already optimistic about the ad revenues they’ll enjoy as a result of this new partnership. Spotify users hear an audio ad every three songs, and that will be the case through the facebook application as well. According to Spotify chief advertising officer Jeff Levick advertisers like Coca-Cola, Motorola, Reebok, and Chevrolet will benefit from the additional exposure that facebook will bring to Spotify. The service sells audio and display ads and targets ads based on gender, age, location, and preferred music genre. Spotify has reportedly gained 1.4 million users in the two and a half months it has been in the US.

RadioIO Adds To Cast Of Characters

In a stock for stock transaction, Randy Michaels and his partner Marc Chase have exchanged ownership of their “pureplay recommendation system” called Up Your Ratings (UYR) for RadioIO  stock. Michaels and Chase also become strategic advisors to the company. It’s an announcement that has been in the works for a while – Michaels and RadioIO CEO Tom Bean are old friends, along with Bubba, who joined RadioIO at the beginning of this year.

UYR, which is owned by Randy Michaels and Marc Chase, is a private company with unique intellectual property that has been developed by Mr. Michaels and his team. UYR’s pure play recommendation system (ScenarIO) is designed to deliver a one-to-one, vs. a one-to-many, consumer preference based custom audio product that is specific to the users tastes, locations, moods or activities thus creating a unique audio experience.

“IOWorld and RadioIO have long been innovators and pioneers in the Internet Radio Space including most recently with the launch of RadioIO Live® and The Bubba the Love Sponge® show,” stated Randy Michaels. “Marc and I look forward to continuing that tradition of innovation and with UYR’s IP and IOWorld’s platform we will implement a plan for internet radio that combines the best practices of traditional media with the most successful interactive characteristics of leading internet businesses.”

Following on the heels of that announcement comes another – Shannon Burke, a former Clear Channel personality who lost his morning show gig when he ran into trouble with the law (involving a gun and a wounded wife and dog) will leave the AM radio job he has had since July and join Radioio’s Bubba Army with an uncensored show. I for one cannot wait to find out who’s next..

Haley’s Beef: Where’s The Cume?

The latest Webcast Metrics audience reports are out for August 2011, and the lineup of stations on the ranker remains pretty much the same. Pandora sits atop with nearly half a million session starts. Below them, CBSRadio’s network of streams has 58 million session starts and Clear Channel’s group of streams has 54 million. Citadel, Slacker, Entercom, Cox, ESPNRadio, Cox, Digitally Imported and EMF round out the list of top ten streaming networks. Cumulus is in the 11th position – look for that group to combine with Citadel in the coming months now that the Cumulus purchase of Citadel is done.

This month, for variety I have decided to look at session starts and tsl instead of AAS. Pandora is holding steady at a tsl of .80 – meaning that was the average duration of the nearly 500 million session starts that they saw last month. Pandora’s tsl is shorter than Clear Channel’s and CBSRadio’s, though not by a lot. Slacker’s is .69. Topping the ranker in terms of length of listening session are Salem, Hubbard and AccuRadio.

At The Radio Show last month, RAB president Jeff Haley remarked in his opening speech that Pandora’s audience claims aren’t fair because they’re not using a cume number that represents unique listeners. That numbers of sessions, duration of sessions and tsl don’t tell the story of how many individuals the platform is reaching. This is a valid point – Webcast Metrics rankers do provide data useful for comparing the services against each other and for determining impression based advertising values, but the data does not give an accurate picture of the number of unique individuals that a station reaches.

Determining uniques shouldn’t be a difficult data point for server based audience measurement, although I’m thinking that each device a person listens on would have to be a unique. That could then be factored by the average number of devices a person uses if a buyer wanted to get a truer representation of the station’s cume.

I’m all for transparency and this seems like a good point to pursue. Here’s the ranker:

Pandora Unleashes Listening

Pandora launched its new website today, and as you might imagine, it is well done. It’s easier to create stations, merge stations and share them with friends. You can also combine any stations that you want into a shuffle, which is much nicer than shuffling all your stations into one stream. You can also adjust your player to look the way you want. Player options are enhanced too – album art, artist info and lyrics to songs are all right there if you want them.

It’s also a well timed release, given that Facebook is about to announce some new integrations with streaming music services at their developer conference tomorrow and iHeartradio will host their big live 48 hour concert to kick off their new platform on friday and saturday.

The biggest announcement was a significant change in their business model – Pandora has lifted the 40 hour monthly listening cap, opening up unlimited, free, ad-supported listening to their users. This may be because they have found it to be less expensive to stream to listeners that way (it’s more expensive to license the music if you are streaming to paying subscribers). But I suspect the decision is more driven by a decision to grow listening as much as possible, particularly given the other listening options that are heating up in the form of iHeartradio, Spotify, and others. That, combined with lots of recent success in selling impression based ad campaigns, is what I believe would be behind a decision like this.

In any event, I spent the day playing with it and it’s pretty nifty. Um. Except for the targeted ad for, a dating service for folks over 50 

Bloomberg’s Mobile App Is Smart

Bloomberg Radio has released a new mobile app that goes a long way in extending their brand as a global source of financial news. The Bloomberg Radio+ app gives listeners the flexibility to hear live breaking financial and business news 24-hours per day as well as download a vast on-demand library of shows and interviews they can listen to at their convenience.

The Bloomberg app is free and is the first radio app where listeners can view real-time charts, get the latest market information and news, and access guest bios — all while listening to the most preeminent minds in business and finance. Designed by Airkast, it is a good example of the way a radio app can become so much more on a mobile device. 

“We’ve enjoyed collaborating with Bloomberg to create a superior mobile application that extends their award winning radio programs and business and financial content to their mobile audience”. said Airkast Founder and CEO Larry Leung. “We look forward to bringing Manhattan’s number one radio station to a global audience,” said Oke Okaro, general manager and global head of Bloomberg mobile. “Now people around the world will have 24/7 access to Bloomberg Radio’s market-moving news and analysis on their terms.”

Mobile access to on-demand audio, news and information in a free branded app is a big value proposition for listeners – and a smart move for Bloomberg.

IAB’s Agency Day Was A Huge Success

I spent yesterday afternoon at the offices of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, where they were hosting a Streaming Audio for Agencies Day. This event was the culmination of lots of work by many folks in the industry who came together to produce an IAB Platform Status Report A Digital Audio Advertising Overview.  For those of you in the business of streaming audio who may be struggling over the best way to introduce streaming audio as an option to advertisers, this piece is a must. It’s dense with research and information on the industry, compiled by folks who have been working hard in the business, and produced by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an independent source that is highly regarded by advertisers and agencies.

I’ve been working with the IAB on the audio committee, this white paper and agency day, and was proud to host a panel discussion on streaming audio measurement yesterday. There were many agencies in attendance – Zenith, Carat, Mediavest, Hill Holiday, Group M, to name just a few. It was an outstanding, highly cooperative day with lots of great information, discussion and feedback.

We’ve come a long way baby.

Hats off to folks at the IAB – Michael Theodore and Luke Luckett, and Audio committee chairs Brian Benedik (Katz360) and Doug Sterne (Pandora) and the entire committee for the immensely cooperative effort behind the paper and event. Thanks to Triton Digital and TheMediaDash for recognizing the value and sponsoring the event. Cheers to the agencies that attended, participated and offered feedback.

It was more than a successful agency day. It was a sign of a thriving industry.

Study: Listeners Love AM/FM Streams More than AM/FM Broadcasts

Americans are spending more time in their cars, time spent in cars on weekdays has increased by over an hour since 2003. Last week, Arbitron, Edison Research and Scarborough presented an update to a study from 2003 called The Road Ahead that looks at in-car listening options and adoptions.

While radio continues to the the audio listening choice in cars, its dominance has dropped by 12% since 2003. Back then 1% of people chose satellite radio, and listening to ipods and Internet radio streams was not an option. Now, 8% of folks who have driven or ridden in a car in the last month have listened to satellite radio, and a whole slew of new choices have bubbled up to compete with AM/FM broadcast radio. 6% listened to a Pandora stream, 4% to an AM/FM stream, and 2% to another non-Pandora stream. (The numbers are not exclusive so we can’t add them up).

The study also looked at the way people “feel” about various listening platforms, and the results are very insightful. At the top of the list of things people “love” listening to in their car is satellite radio with 54%. 34% “love” listening to Pandora via a mobile phone. And 30% love listening to AM/FM streams via a mobile phone, while 28% “love” listening to the same content on their AM/FM radio. New technologies, notes the study, get better “love” ratings, even if the content is the same..

Despite a proliferation of new in-car technologies, radio remains the “king”. But that’s not a license to be complacent, cautions the study. Instead, radio should recognize that “digital platforms are crucial to protecting radio’s in-car franchise. In fact, the authors of the study believe that HD radio has the ability to “provide the ‘wow’ factor for AM/FM in-car radio. This must be based on the higher “love” ranking that HD Radio gets among people that have it.

What Tim Said At RAIN Summit Chicago

RAIN Summit Chicago on tuesday was an incredible event – in my opinion the best one ever. It was very well attended by and the agenda was packed full of interesting people. I could have spent several more hours at the cocktail party connecting with them all.

The highlight of the day – no slight intended to any of our wonderful speakers – was the keynote speech given by Tim Westergren. I found him to be insightful, geniune, inclusive and generous. Tim started his speech by thanking Kurt Hanson for all that he has done for the industry by creating RAIN Summits. He offered a toast to everyone in the room who has been involved in nurturing Internet radio, and he said he is excited about the prospects not just for his company, but also for their “colleague companies” in the space. That’s how a leader talks..

Tim then went on to share a lot of inside info about Pandora with the audience. He started out by telling everyone that he believes the future of radio is Internet radio and in particular personalizable Internet radio. He talked about all the valuable data they get from interacting with their listeners and told a story about how Pandora can use that data. Like the time they packed a club in LA for an Aimee Mann performance by telling all the folks who lived within an hour radius who had clicked “thumbs up” on an Aimee Mann song that she was going to be playing nearby. To further illustrate his point, he mentioned an obscure artist from Waukegan, Illinois named Jason Michael Carroll who had a local gig coming up. Pandora can find all the listeners who clicked thumbs up for that artist and live in the area (5300), and then look for other similar sounding artists and people who liked those artists and live nearby, and tell all of them about Jason’s show, and really impact the way an artist can grow its audience.

Of course, it’s not hard to recognize the value that sort of relationship with listeners can have on advertising as well, and Westergren spent time talking about the progress that Pandora has made in generating revenue. He listed lots of major ad agencies and advertisers who are now buying ads on Pandora and talked about specific ways they have produced strong results.

It was a little disappointing to read some of the trade coverage of Tim’s speech the next morning. I noticed that a couple of publications, despite all the consensus building remarks that Tim made, simply had to portray Westergren’s speech as an attack on radio. It was not that at all. In an informed and informative speech, Westergren shared a lot of details about the success of Pandora. And in my opinion, he spoke to the audience as a fellow radio guy, confident and excited about his product and sharing info as every speaker at The Radio Show will do this week.

If there was a threat, warning or shot across the bow in that speech, it was only a perception by those in the audience who refuse to acknowledge that the definition of radio has changed and now includes Pandora, Slacker and other digital audio platforms. Clearly advertisers have begun to see it that way as well. Closing the windows, locking the doors and arguing that it’s not so will not change that reality…

Here’s the first half of the speech. The second half is also available on YouTube. I’m President of RAIN Summits and am admittedly less than impartial..

RAIN Summit Chicago Has Arrived

I’m in Chicago preparing for tomorrow’s sold out RAIN Summit at the Chicago Hyatt Regency. I’m really excited about this event. The agenda is great – it features Tim Westergren, Founder of Pandora, as the keynote speaker. Pandora is setting the standard in the industry in terms of growing its audience and revenues and Kurt Hanson and I are delighted that Tim accepted our invitation to share thoughts with the industry.

That’s what RAIN Summits are all about. Sharing thoughts and ideas, challenging the industry to think and innovate.

Tomorrow’s event will also feature Slacker CEO Jim Cady. It’s Cady’s – and Slacker’s – first time accepting our invitation and we’re thrilled to have him. He’ll join Airkast CEO Larry Leung and Livio Radio CEO Jake Sigal to discuss successful mobile streaming. Slacker was the early one in that game, in fact they used to sell dedicated hardware that enabled mobile streaming long before iPhones.

We have lots of innovative broadcasters on the agenda as well – iHeartradio, Fox News Radio, Radio One, and Merlin Broadcasting will all share their thoughts on successful online initiatives for broadcasters with the audience.

Almost 20 companies are supporting the event with sponsorships. Led by Triton Digital as platinum sponsor, the list includes Liquid Compass, Targetspot, KnowDigital, Abacast, Tunein, dot.FM, Mofuse, Listener Driven Radio, The Media Audit, Arbitron and many more.

This year’s event will also feature the 2nd Annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards to recognize and encourage excellence in our industry. They are sponsored by Triton Digital as well.

In the 9 years that we’ve been hosting RAIN Summits they have expanded from meet and greet happy hours to major industry events. We’re partners of the NAB Show in the spring and The Radio Show in the fall, something that we know has expanded our audience base and we think has also expanded the offerings of those organizations.

For the second year, our fall event is sold out. I think that symbolizes the energy that surrounds our industry right now. I’m proud to be a part of it..


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