The most recent ratings related press release from Pandora arrived this week, touting that “National audience metrics for June 2012 show that among the adult 18-49 demographic (demo), Pandora has a weekly cume of 25,333,249” – up 6% from March Webcast Metrics audience data. But here’s the big news, straight from the announcement:
The June 2012 Triton Webcast Metrics ratings rank Pandora as the largest adult 18-49 radio network in the U.S. when compared to radio networks in the Arbitron June 2012 RADAR 113 report.”
Pandora now provides monthly AQH and Cume ratings in three key demos in the top ten markets, something which has gone a long way in helping them gain favor with ad agencies. Pandora Chief Revenue Officer John Trimble said, ” These metrics are helping the radio advertising industry make informed buying decisions between terrestrial and internet radio.”
You got that right. Starcom Executive Vice President of Local Activation Kevin Gallagher said, “It’s no secret that an increasing amount of audio is consumed online. With Triton Webcast Metrics ratings, we will be able to compare, as well as combine, audience delivery within the entire audio ecosystem. It’s important to provide advertisers with a holistic view of the entire radio audience to help them understand the internet radio opportunity and value proposition.”
It’s what the agencies want, numbers that make it easy to compare, analyze and make informed buying decisions. Pandora’s offering it on a silver platter and the agencies are eating it up..
Triton released new audience data this week and the most interesting thing on the ranker is the fact that Clear Channel’s streaming platform is beginning to pick up steam, with stats growing 7% from April to May.
As RAIN points out in their analysis yesterday afternoon, Pandora‘s number grew about 4% from April to May, which could be an indicator of slowing in terms of their exponential growth. With more than a billion session starts and close to a million active sessions during the month, their market share is massive. Clear Channel’s growing active session number is approaching just 15% of Pandora’s number.
One thing that can continue to drive Clear Channel’s growth is their ability to brand iHeartRadio throughout their media empire. The deals that they have signed with other broadcast companies also drive listener registration for the iHeartRadio platform. Once registered, those listeners to Cox, Greater Media, Cumulus, or other partner stations in the platform, can easily be converted to listeners to iHeartRadio. Recently introduced features such as artist curated channels, personalized listening options, and social offerings are helping to drive both sampling and listening to iHeartRadio.
Here’s the ranker:
Spotify has moved to offer its mobile streaming options, previously locked down under a monthly subscription, free to listeners. In an obvious response to the exponential growth that Pandora has experienced in mobile listening, Spotify will now feature “free mobile radio – Spotify style”.
The offerings feature the ability to create a station from a song, artist or genre and unlimited listening. Calling it the only free radio that you can save, Spotify mobile offers interactive options to like or dislike a song to influence your station or save the song to a playlist. Until now, it cost ten bucks to get all that on your mobile devices.
It sounds like a good offering, one I’ll bet Spotify wishes they had jumped on a little earlier. Pandora, with 150 million registered users and direct connections on lots of dashboards and tuner devices, has had a handy headstart. This move by Spotify is recognition of the impact that a popular free app in the iPhone and iPad app stores can make.
Free users in the US will hear advertisements from the following launch partners: Chevrolet, Durex, Heineken, Red Stag by Jim Beam, Lipton Iced Tea, Macy’s, McDonalds, Progressive, Red Bull, Taco Bell, Verizon Wireless, and Warner Bros – all of which are current Spotify advertisers.
As for Pandora, I suspect they knew it was only a matter of time before Spotify moved to pick up a piece of all that mobile listening to Pandora for free. They may even welcome the fact that Spotify will now join in their efforts to monetize mobile streaming ads…
Pandora released audience data today showing that they have grown their audience by 50% or more in top markets across the country in the past year. Releasing data that compares January’s audience stats with “holiday 2011” stats, Pandora now claims to have a 1.0 rating with Adults 18-34 in top markets across the country.
The report uses audience information provided by Pandora and analyzed by Edison Research using methodology that resembles that used by Arbitron, however, they make no specific comparisons to Arbitron’s reports or other stations in their press release. Releasing audience data in this form enables advertisers and agencies to assimilate Pandora’s audience reach with traditional broadcast radio stations’ reach. This assimilation of data and direct comparison to broadcast audience data is precisely the kind of thing that some broadcasters are trying to prevent.
It’s a powerful statement about Pandora’s popularity that they are able to deliver a 1.0 rating in all of the top ten markets in the US with Adults 18-34. You can read the press release here.
All of the data available in Triton’s Media Rating Council (MRC) accredited national monthly rankers will now be available on a local market level, per an announcement yesterday by Triton Digital. Triton’s Webcast Metrics audience data will now be made available to subscribers on a local market by market basis. The updated solution will enable publishers to highlight their audience metrics within individual markets and combinations of markets as well as segment the audience across demographic attributes within geographies.
Unlike the top 20 ranker that Triton releases monthly, local data garnered through Webcast Metrics will not be released publicly. It will be the exclusive property of the subscribing publisher.
“We believe there is a substantial monetization opportunity for publishers within the local digital and mobile marketplace,” said Mike Agovino, COO of Triton Digital. “Local mobile advertising alone is expected to grow by more than $2 billion over the next several years, and this evolution of Webcast Metrics will further assist our customers in fully capitalizing on this market opportunity.”
This development has been in the making for a while – I know that Triton has been examining their local market reporting for a while with something like this in mind. And Pandora, the most listened to Internet radio station on Triton’s rankers, has been stepping up the demand for market by market ratings. In fact, a few months ago Pandora partnered with research firm Edison Research and began releasing hybrid local market ratings using Triton’s Webcast Metrics data and standard AQH formulas and comparing them to ratings and shares in Arbitron‘s local market broadcast reports.
Which caused a furor among broadcasters and their spokespeople who believe that broadcast radio should only be measured in a vacuum and never compared to other audio content sources like Internet radio or satellite radio. Of course, that’s silly — any ad supported audio content will ultimately have to measure up to any other to demonstrate performance and garner ad investments.
The fact that Triton will release local market audience data to subscribers is a great thing. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s been available to them for a while, but the formal announcement and new product called Webcast Metrics Local ups the ante. Competition is good. It spurs development, keeps everyone on their toes, and is a sign of a thriving industry. Play on…
In the new world of metered mobile data plans, Onavo has developed an app that is very useful in helping folks keep track of their usage and even select apps that use data efficiently. You can download their app onto your smartphone which compresses the data that your apps use.
Onavo recently published data on music apps – focused on which apps were most popular among Onavo users, and which apps are most efficient. Turns out that TuneIn‘s app is the most widely used with 6.6% of IPhone users per month. TuneIn is also very efficient, ranking below other popular apps in terms of data usage.
TuneIn is a music app that serves as a directory for more than 50,000 radio stations, both terrestrial and online. They have one of the most popular music apps on iTunes. (They used to be RadioTime.)
But where is Pandora, you might be asking, and that is a good question. In terms of app users they rank second, right behind TuneIn with 5.8% of Onavo iPhone users. But in terms of data usage they’re much thirstier, using almost 3 times the amount of data.
It’s not clear to me from the chart that they have factored in the possibility that Pandora listeners are listening longer as a reason why they are using up lots more data. This would be a good thing to know. But it’s a fun chart from an interesting company who’s got an interesting view on the industry..
SNL Kagan and Senior Analyst Robin Flynn have produced a 2011 report on the Economics of Internet Music and Radio that’s very comprehensive and insightful. Using existing data points from RAB’s quarterly revenue reports, publicly available financials on Pandora, and research from Triton Digital and Arbitron on audience, SNL Kagan provides an excellent summary of the marketplace and its players, both online only and radio broadcasters.
Digital/online ad revenue will become an increasingly important and larger portion of radio’s revenues. The report pegs annual revenue for 2011 attributable to digital/online, including website, streaming, hd, and other digital sources, at $713 million for 2011. That number will grow to $1.55 billion in 2021 and comprise 7% of radio’s overall revenues.
Internet only stations will grow revenue at a faster rate – coming from $293 million projected annual revenues in 2011, that number will be $365 million in 2012 but reach $1 billion in 2021. Those projections are based only on ad revenues and do not include revenue from subscription or song download sales.
Pandora’s IPO has provided insight to the business model for an Internet radio station, and it’s a challenging one thanks to the enormous share of revenues that are owed in royalties. SoundExchange takes 45% of Pandora’s revenues and leaves them still losing money after ten years. The report quotes several radio broadcast company CEOs discussing the expense of streaming thanks to those issues as well. But most agree it’s a channel that they can’t afford to ignore.
Internet radio’s audience is growing, and connected devices are expanding the audience and time spent listening. Optimizing cpms for targeted mobile ads is a critical piece for Pandora in overcoming the digital royalty expense. Interestingly, SNL Kagan has projected that Pandora will take 4% of 2011 mobile ad revenues in the US, ranking fifth behind Google, Apple, Yahoo and Twitter.
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…
Last thursday during an earnings call Pandora reported $67 million in revenues, a 117% increase over a year ago. They also reported impressive increases in listening – 1.8 billion listening hours, an increase of 125% over a year earlier. The report was the new public company’s first quarterly earnings report and it reported on earnings delivered during its fiscal Q2 – which ended in July.
This was a sturdy earnings report in the face of investment banker expectations that expected to see a report of $60 million in revenues.
The company also reported that mobile ad revenues accounted for approximately half of all ad revenues. This was good news as analysts have been focusing on Pandora’s ability to monetize an audience that is rapidly shifting to mobile device listening. During the call there were many followup questions regarding Pandora’s ability to monetize its mobile audience. Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy said that they have found that most mobile ads are part of “multi platform” ad campaigns, and that Pandora is optimistic that they will be able to leverage more and more of those dollars.
Kennedy also spoke about Pandora’s increasing ability to monetize audio at the local, regional and national levels. He said that while they were seeing audio ads from national ad campaigns, they are now expanding their base and developing audio based revenues from local and regional sources.
To a question about the revenues they are seeing from song download revenue sharing with iTunes and Amazon, Kennedy revealed that Pandora is one of the top 3 biggest link sources to iTunes. He said that is strong evidence that listeners are discovering music and purchasing it after hearing it on Pandora.
So, as the experts from RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter pointed out in their analysis on friday, Pandora had a strong 2Q earnings call where they managed to exceed revenue expectations and offer some excellent prospects for continued growth.
eMusic has always had a slightly left of center approach to selling digital downloads. eMusic offers music consumers the opportunity to pay a monthly subscription fee for access to their song catalogs and download a certain number of songs per month – $12 bucks gets you 24 songs, $32 bucks a month allows you to download up to 73 songs a month. That’s a lot of music for a pretty good price – certainly a lot cheaper than your average iTunes song.
They used to be primarily focused on independent labels, lacking the deals to add the big four record label’s music to their catalog. But that has changed in the last couple of years and now eMusic has deals with all four. They also started selling audiobooks a few years back as well.
Now they are launching genre based Internet radio streams as well. Join the club! According to Billboard, eMusic will offer streams of music curated by eMusic’s editorial staff. There are a wide variety of offerings from punk and alt-country to electronica and “fresh jazz”. Streams are available to eMusic U.S. subscribers for free for up to ten hours of listening per month. Non-subscribers may get to try them out soon as well.
So eMusic wants to take on Pandora and Spotify? I doubt it. It sounds like eMusic – and perhaps the labels it’s partnered with as well – are noticing that streaming has a positive effect on music purchases. They’re planning to add a buy button to the player, and they certainly have the buy in of their record label partners. Though it hasn’t been quantified in a while, I’ve seen data out there that shows Pandora selling lots of songs for iTunes and Amazon to their listeners.