Clear Channel’s iHeartradio showed a surge in audience for October following the relaunch of the streaming platform with a 10 million dollar promotional budget that included a two day live and streamed concert in Las Vegas. Newly released audience data from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics audience measurement platform shows that iHeartradio gained 15% in the number of average active sessions from September to October’s 106,733, after gaining 10% in September, the month during which the relaunch of iHeartradio took place.
Meanwhile, Pandora‘s audience continued to surge as well, growing 7.5% to more than 800,000 Average Active Sessions Monday – Sunday 6am – mid in October.
CBS Radio‘s streaming audience fell again, after losing AOL Radio which migrated to Slacker in August. The AAS for CBS Radio dropped 14% during October. Slacker consequently saw their AAS grow by 18%. The Cumulus group of streaming stations is looking strong on the ranker as a result of their purchase of Citadel since the last release, however, their 45,489 AAS is actually lower than the combined Cumulus and Citadel numbers from September by about 4%.
WNYC debuts on the report, although we do not know if that’s a result of audience growth or that they are new to the measurement platform. Triton’s Webcast Metrics is server based measurement Other groups such as Cox, Entercom and others were pretty stable in the month to month report.
Arbitron has announced a deal with Euorpean based online audio ad serving and measurement company Adswizz which signals their intention to return to server based streaming audience measurement. During an earnings call, EVP/COO Sean Creamer reported that Arbitron signed an agreement with Adswizz last week.
“AdsWizz will process the server-based, streaming log files exclusively for our planned digital radio service. This collaboration is designed to help us to realize our vision for providing standard reporting metrics for over the air and digital streaming audiences on behalf of our current radio broadcast customers and for digital music service clients. We are currently working with both our radio station clients and the digital service providers to develop the first report deliverables.”
Arbitron departed from server based streaming audio measurement when it purchased and subsequently shuttered Measurecast in 2004. Earlier this year they announced a plan to develop a comprehensive streaming audio measurement solution. A server based streaming audio measurement solution would put Arbitron in direct competition with Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics, which currently measures services including Pandora, iHeartradio, Slacker, CBSRadio, AccuRadio and others.
Creamer’s announcement also promises a solution for current radio broadcast customers and digital music service clients. While it may seem obvious that the only way to produce a credible streaming measurement platform is to include both streaming broadcast and online only services, I had heard rumors that some of the broadcast clients of Arbitron were opposed to a solution that included online services like Pandora and Slacker. I’m hoping everyone has come to their senses on this point.
Competition in audience measurement of streaming can only be a good thing as it will encourage continued development of each solution’s capabilities. It’s also a good sign of a thriving industry…
Triton Digital has released its ranker of the top 20 stations or networks measured within its Webcast Metrics audience measurement platform for May. At the top of the ranker, Pandora picked up another 30,000 or so Average Active Sessions, some of this a result of missing data from the last several months, which had been noted in previous data releases.
Other services were fairly stable, with CBSRadio losing a little in their AAS and Clear Channel picking up a few thousand. We’ll see a bigger loss assigned to CBSRadio in the coming months as the AOL audience number moves onto the Slacker platform and becomes part of that number. Slacker has said that their number will benefit by doubling with the addition of AOL’s measured audience. On their own, they have actually been losing a little ground on the ranker, their AAS dropped about a thousand from last month and roughly two thousand from March.
I’ve begun to think that a monthly microscope on each station or services ups and downs is overkill, so I’m reluctant to recite the minor changes that occur with every new data release. I think what’s more interesting is growth over several months and trending as it relates to big changes (like the AOL shift from CBSRadio to Slacker.)
I’m also hoping to see more and more information on listening patterns – how much is on a desktop versus mobile within these audiences? Where is the audience concentrated in terms of dayparts as well as geography? And what’s the universe looking like? I’m hoping that we’ll see more and more of that as the Webcast Metrics service matures and measures more and more of the Internet radio landscape..
comScore, in releasing new data from its Total Universe report, has highlighted Internet radio and Pandora as an example of the kind of online service that is likely to gain more or most of its traffic via mobile channels. comScore’s Total Universe report “provides audience measurement for 100 percent of a site’s traffic, including usage via mobile phones, apps, tablets and shared computers such as Internet cafes.”
In its first blog post focused on the new reporting, comScore cites Pandora as an excellent example because it attracts “a significant percentage of its users via mobile (which in this case includes web browsing on phones and tablets, as well as access via mobile apps).” In April 2011, Pandora’s Total Universe web traffic was 74% higher than traffic noted solely on home and work computers.
It’s important to note that comScore data is focused on traffic to web sites rather than timed listening to streaming, so these numbers represent visitors to websites or web apps, but not actual listening.
In fact, 42% of Pandora’s web traffic was only via mobile devices, and they claim an impressive 35% reach among smartphones.
Having identified Pandora as a service that sees a very large proportion of its audience via mobile traffic, comScore goes on to note “that the example highlights the extent to which mobile can drive traffic for certain brands – especially those whose value proposition largely relies on mobility, such as Internet radio.“
Radio is not in decline, it’s expanding, and that represents an enormous opportunity, according to Arbitron‘s SVP Paul Krasinski. Krasinski and SVP Bill Rose presented results of their recently updated Infinite Dial Study at RAIN Summit West last week and encouraged broadcasters to recognize the opportunity that digital distribution offers.
With 86% of the 12+ population connected to broadband and one-third of consumers owning a smartphone, it’s a different world. Embracing the fact that radio’s audience is distributed beyond the broadcast is key to future success. Access to audio has changed, has radio changed? asked Krasinski.
Online radio’s audience is expanding, with 89 million listening last month. And 89% of those listeners listen to both broadcast and online radio. Krasinski urged the crowd to alter their view of “audience” and see it across all of radio’s channels. In that regard, the audience is growing. With that growth comes a responsibility to offer great content to listeners.
A key component for radio will be developing innovative solutions for advertisers that enable them to use and measure the effectiveness across these distributed channels. Over the past few months we’ve heard hints that Arbitron is planning to step back into streaming measurement and while they have not announced anything yet, it sounds like it will be a product that enables stations to aggregate audiences from distributed channels. While their PPM product does measure streaming now, it only measures such for stations that simulcast 100% of the time, meaning that stations that sell streaming ads separately from over the air ads don’t qualify. Whether this will change is unclear.
The streaming audience measurement game is stepping up its pace – with the recent accreditation of Webcast Metrics and Arbitron beginning to talk about new plans for the space, more and better options are available to stations, which is bound to be good for the industry.
Arbitron has unveiled a new phase in their PPM technology which extends measurement onto a wireless platform. Called the PPM 360, it lays the foundation for the development of future applications for the patented, proprietary PPM technology on multiple consumer devices.
“This innovative approach further liberates audience measurement from the home and enables media, brands and marketers to follow the mobile consumer more closely – which is particularly important for brands appealing to younger demographics,” said William Kerr, President and CEO, Arbitron. “This platform is designed to be an integrated component to our existing radio services and drive future innovation for media measurement.”
The Arbitron Portable People Meter technology tracks consumers’ exposure to media and entertainment, including broadcast, cable and satellite television; terrestrial, satellite and online radio as well as cinema advertising and many types of place-based digital media.
Arbitron has had the capability to detect streaming listening all along with their PPM technology. Thusfar, they have chosen to only use that technology to measure listening to broadcast stations who are adhering to a 100% simulcast rule (and are therefore not monetizing their online ads except as add-ons to broadcast campaigns). It’s basically sidelined Arbitron as a viable option for streaming radio audience measurement.
Arbitron used to measure Internet radio station audiences, first with their own server based technology, then with the acquisition of Measurecast. They eventually shuttered Measurecast and opted for a partnership with comScore, using comScore data and producing audience estimates that were panel based and inadequate for measuring most individual stations.
The PPM 360 press release hints at an interest in extending audience measurement more seriously to new media, and with their already existing capabilities, streaming radio audience measurement is a natural place for Arbitron to head. I’m staying tuned…
Late last week AndoMedia released audience data for their universe of measured Internet radio stations, debuting some new definitions and two rankers, one defining domestic US listening. The changes were greeted with disapproval from the advertising community, particularly the radio ad community. Ando, it appears, had misjudged that segment of the buying community’s attachment to traditional radio audience metrics such as AQH and Cume.
“The changes were made with the best of intentions,” according to Mike Agovino, Chief Operating Officer, Triton Media, who owns AndoMedia, “but they should have been better communicated. Now people are confused and upset, and they should be. We have to do a better job of communicating with buyers and agency people.”
To that end, AndoMedia hosted a 45 minute webinar today to review the new metrics and the thinking behind them. Patrick Reynolds, Sr. VP at AndoMedia took us slide by slide through the new terms and definitions, emphasizing several times that these new metrics have been added to the measurement terms already provided by Ando. AQH and Cume are still available for stations and agencies to use if they prefer (this was definitely not effectively conveyed in the release.)
I agree with Agovino that this could have been avoided with better communication upfront. I think Ando’s intentions in adding new measurement terms were good – they’re seeking to enhance the data to reflect the fact that they’re providing active actual data rather than estimates. Reynolds says they are seeking to make their measurement platform fair, accurate and consistent for all stations. Unfortunately, they missed a step in releasing the information, failing to presell it properly to key parties. I think they were also the target of some mud slinging by their competition, those who have favored less accurate, estimated ratings.
I hope the industry will resume its focus on developing an easy to understand and use single measurement platform for the industry. Let’s move on…