Category Archives: Research

Nielsen’s Move Toward “Absolute Audio Measurement”

Nielsen_Logo_(Color)Nielsen Ratings, which acquired Arbitron last month, has announced its first change to the way things were done formerly. I’m sure it will not be the last. In a pre-survey bulletin issued prior to the upcoming November ppm survey period, Nielsen told stations that they will begin crediting stations that stream a particular program and then repeat the show in a continuous streamed loop, provided the listening is done within 24 hours of the original program, and also provided that the entire program, commercials and all, remain intact.

It’s a move that both signals Nielsen’s intent to move toward more comprehensive measurement of streaming audio, while at the same time offering a lollipop to some broadcasters that worked hard to prevent Arbitron from complete and fair measurement of streaming audio services. According to Inside Radio, “It’s a rule that most typically impacts morning hosts whose shows repeat on a continuous loop online.  For instance, Clear Channel has created replay channels for syndicated hosts including Elvis Duran, Kane and Bobby Bones.” Now the host of those streams will receive credit for all the listeners to that program, whether they listen live or on-demand.

Arbitron had a tough time doing the right thing when it came to measurement of new kinds of audio, and a lot of the reason for that was the stronghold that radio broadcasters had on the company. (Read a lot more about the history of that here.)

I’m sure this is the first of many changes that Nielsen will make to its measurement of audio. Last December, right after they announced their intent to purchase Arbitron, they announced that they would begin measurement of streaming platforms such as Pandora. They echoed that again in their announcement that the deal was done. On their website, they’re calling it “absolute audio measurement.” Amen…



Online Listeners Like Classic Rock at Work

Classic Rock tops the list of most popular genres in a survey of people who listen to online radio at work. Followed closely by Rock and Country music, Classic Rock songs are the ones that more than 1000 respondents said they listen to online and at work. The new info is part of an at work study done by Radionomy and Edison Research and released today. Based in Brussels, Belgium and San Francisco, Radionomy is one of the largest user-generated radio station platforms for producers, listeners and broadcasters around the world. This new study was designed to encourage producers of Internet radio stations on their platform by providing them with more information on what users want to hear.

The study finds that most people listen to Internet radio to hear songs they know – 86% tune in for that reason. But they also like to discover new music, as 72% pick that as a reason to listen as well. Fewer folks said they tuned in to hear DJs and local news online. More than half listen to 2 or 3 Internet radio stations a week, and more than three-quarters listen in other places outside of work as well.

Radionomy Edison Research Study

“The desire on the part of listeners to simultaneously hear their favorite music and also be exposed to songs that they haven’t heard before but still appeal to their tastes creates an interesting opportunity for producers,” said Radionomy’s Thierry Ascarez. “We believe that those who can achieve a balance of giving people what they already want, and also new things that will appeal to them based on their established tastes, will more meaningfully connect with their audiences.”

You’ll be able to hear more about this survey at the Radio Show in Orlando next week. And you’ll be able to get a lot of very useful information about online radio and digital audio at RAIN Summit Orlando on Tuesday September 17th at the start of the show. For more info on RAIN Summit Orlando, or to register, click here. To save a few bucks use the promo code Audio4cast (you have to register before you get there to get the discount). Hope to see you there!

AM/FM Usage Drops below 90% In New Survey

Jacobs Media has updated its annual Tech Survey, which is a study of the media habits of core radio users. It’s a study that has 9 years under its belt now, so it’s a great chance to take a look at trends.

In the big picture of how media stack up in terms of usage, there’s been a pretty big shift, with people using AM/FM an hour or more a day dropping below 90% into fourth place behind TV since the release of last year’s results. AM/FM fell 3% in a year, which is a shift that is hard to ignore. Meanwhile, usage of Internet radio weekly or more jumped 7% year to year to 45%. Last year’s survey results assigned 18% of Internet radio’s 38% to Pandora, but this year’s results don’t offer specifics on Pandora’s share.

One of the salient takeaways from this study is that listeners are connecting with radio across a more diverse set of technologies. Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs says it’s about  “radio’s ability to uniquely connect with consumers on their preferred platform.” This survey of radio users is telling us loud and clear that they want to be able to access content across a diverse offering of media and devices.

jacobs tech survey 9

Mobile Audio Consumption Tops 50%

Mobile was the fastest growing segment of streaming audio consumption in the March 2013 ranker just released by Triton Digital. Mobile listening accounted for 56% of all audio consumption in March 2012. According to the report, we have crossed the threshold where over half of all listening is consumed on mobile devices.

In March 2013, Pandora began capping mobile listening at 40 hours per month. As a result, we see a 3% drop in mobile listening for Pandora during the Monday through Sunday 6:00am to midnight daypart from March to February. During the same time period, we see a 23% increase in Pureplay mobile listening and a 5% increase in listening to AM/FM streams.

wm mobile 2013v2012Slacker meanwhile picked up 18% during the February to March period, which could be a result of the capping by Pandora. In mid February Slacker launched a new interface with more personalized tuning options, as well as a tv ad campaign aimed directly at Pandora, which was timed perfectly with Pandora’s decision to cap mobile listening at 40 hours per month.

RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter points out that “While Pandora did slip 4% overall from February, its AAS is still 39% more than 12 months ago. Among broadcast streamers, Univision had a strong March (up 22%), as did the NPR Member Stations group (up 16%).” Read more of their analysis here.

While these numbers refer to US listening, streaming audio measurement, as well as Mobile streaming strategies, will be panel topics at our upcoming RAIN Summit Europe in Brussels two weeks from today. Hope to see you there!

Pandora’s Audience, Awareness Up

Last week Pandora announced a significant milestone when they reached 200 million registered listeners. The fact that the number of registered listeners leapt from 100 million to 200 million in two years makes it still more impressive. Remember, Pandora’s user base is largely in the US, although they have recently expanded to a few other places such as Australia.

During a presentation last week at RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas, hundreds in the audience got a first look at updated trends in Infinite Dial 2013. Arbitron SVP Bill Rose and Edison Research President Larry Rosin offered some stats on Pandora, which has an impressive brand awareness recognition rate of 69% among adults 12+ in the US, a number that grew 10% since last year’s study. iHeartradio showed impressive brand awareness in the new study as well, with 45% brand recognition, a jump of almost 15% since last year.

pandora brand awareness

The study also reported that close to half of the folks surveyed had downloaded the Pandora app onto their cellphone. This fact reveals the steam engine driving both the growth in audience and brand awareness for industry leader Pandora – their amazing success with mobile apps. As usage of smartphones and tablets has soared, Pandora’s been right out there in front, gaining front page status on those devices. 21% of cell phone owners now saying they have used their phone to listen to a stream in their car, yet another indication of the growing importance of mobile devices.

We’ll be discussing mobile devices, connected cars and a lot more again on May 23 in Brussels at RAIN Summit Europe. Have you registered? Hope to see you there!

Study: Time Spent Listening Online Jumped Two Hours in One Year

Forty Five percent of Americans now listen to online radio occasionally, at least once a month, according to the newly updated Infinite Dial Study by Arbitron and Edison Research. That translates to 120 million Americans, and it’s a number that grew 6% over last year. The weekly number – Americans that listened to online radio weekly – grew 4% to 33% and roughly 86 million.

What’s more, those weekly listeners reported spending an average of 12 hours a week listening to radio online. Arbitron defines online radio as listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to audio content available only on the Internet – a definition that I concur with, since I think that’s how consumers define it.

But here’s the big news of the study: Consumers reported spending more than two hours more listening online than they did a year ago! Weekly listeners spend an average of 12 hours a week listening to online radio, versus close to ten hours last year.

infinite dial tsl 2013

The Infinite Dial Study is the best comprehensive snapshot of the growth of online listening. Arbitron and Edison Research have been updating this yearly study for more than ten years, providing the industry with cold hard data chronicling the growth of listening online. Arbitron VP Bill Rose and Edison Research President Larry Rosin will present their study at the upcoming RAIN Summit West on this Sunday April 7th. Hope to see you there!

comScore Rolls Out Cross Platform Measurment

eMarketer says that this will be the year that smartphone usage in the US will cross the 50% threshold, meaning that half of all mobile users will be using smartphones. Standing at the front of the line of services that benefit from this massive shift to online mobile access are Pandora and Twitter. These two platforms have as many, or in the case of Pandora, more users accessing them via mobile than via desktop.

Late last year comScore released a beta report of their Media Metrix Multi-platform measurement report, which merges usage data via web, smartphone and tablet into one number. providing an excellent snapshot of a service’s user base. It then assigns a multi-platform ranking that can be compared to the standard Media Metrix ranking. Sites with a higher multi-platform ranking are the ones that have lots of mobile users.

Google is number one on both rankers, and the top ten sites don’t shift much, meaning that they maintain their user base when mobile usage is factored in. But Pandora benefits greatly from this multi platform measurement approach – their rank moves from 61 to 23. No other site on the top 30 enjoys such significant lift from adding in mobile to the ranker.


media metrix multi platform chart

WTOP Will Simulcast On-Air and Online

The WTOP logo before WWWT 107.7 was added to t...

This morning’s Inside Radio reports that Hubbard owned WTOP will no longer insert ads in its streams, opting instead to simulcast 100% of its broadcast programming online. This is a decision made earlier this year by small market broadcasting group Saga Communications, who at the time blamed imperfect ad insertion technology for its decision.

The biggest reason that a broadcast company would opt to simulcast 100% of its programming rather than inserting different ads into its stream would be that Arbitron will only measure the online audience and the on-air audience as one if the station simulcasts the exact same thing on the stream as it broadcasts. There’s nothing wrong with Arbitron’s thinking in this regard – it would be flawed for them to represent the two audiences (streamed and broadcast) as one if the programming were not completely identical. That would be misleading to advertisers who might look at the combined audience number and conclude that their commercials achieved that reach when they had not.

WTOP is up front about the reason for its move. Inside Radio quotes SVP/GM Joel Oxley : “Since WTOP is now a simulcast, those listeners can now be added to our Arbitron ratings,” he says. “For WTOP even a slight move up in ratings can mean a significant rise in revenue.” For the top billing radio station in the country, that can make a big difference.

This move by WTOP signals a growing interest by broadcasters in blending their audiences into one to create ratings uniformity. It’s a clear decision to sell the audience as one, rather than two separate audiences. It makes sense in some ways, but there are problems as well. Ads created for over the air listeners often have a call to action like “Call this number” while ads that are streamed should have an online call to action. As well, streaming ads have more targeting and tracking capabilities than broadcast ads do. But times are tough and revenues are down. Broadcasters, like everyone else, are forced to take a hard look at their options and in a case like this prefer the one that promises a more immediate uptick for revenue.

Study: More Than One in Five Listen To Streams Daily


Triton Digital and Alan Burns and Associates recently released a new study Radio Tomorrow which focuses on listener attitudes and behavior with a focus on future prospects for the medium. It’s a dense study with a lot of interesting questions in it. For example,

25% of those asked stream music on a smartphone daily from AM/FM, Pandora and other sources, and the number climbs to almost 40% weekly. Pandora alone claims 11% daily and 15% weekly in terms of people using it, per the study.

Some of the news in the study is predictable: young people listen to radio less, want more control of their stations.

Some of it is less so – for example, the study found that 44% of listeners would be more likely to buy a phone if it had an FM chip in it. And of the nearly 20% who have internet access in their cars, many still listen to AM/FM (70%).

When asked if there is a medium that feels like a friend, 50% named RADIO. And they find radio ads more trustworthy and less annoying.

If you haven’t taken a look at this study you should. There’s meaningful takeaways for anyone programming a station, online or not…

Alan Burns and Associates Radio Tomorrow Study


It’s Not Audio, It’s Not Radio, It’s Mobile

Tablet and smartphone usage is on the rise, and some good news is that ad response rates are strong on those devices as well. A new survey out from the Interactive Advertising Bureau“Mobile’s Role in the Consumer’s Media Day,” is an in-depth research report that reveals how receptiveness to advertising and media consumption varies by device, time of day, and location.

It turns out that folks like to use their tablet to listen to music while reading the paper – 74% of tablet users said they listen to music while reading printed material. Given the large portion of audio streaming that is taking place on mobile devices, understanding how and when consumers react to mobile ads is critical. According to the report:

  • There is a strong degree of ad interaction among tablet users, with nearly half (47%) saying that they engage with ads on that device more than once a week
  • One in four (25%) smartphone users also said that they interact with ads at that same frequency
  • Once these mobile device users engage with an ad, they are extremely likely to take action (80% smartphone users, 89% tablet users)

Ad interaction is higher on tablets than on smartphones – 77% of users interact with ads whilst using a tablet compared to only 53% on smartphones.

Audio content is big and getting bigger on mobile devices. This new study from IAB is dense with information that should help audio content platforms understand best ways to monetize that content.

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