Tag Archives: streaming

Shazam Scored Big During Sunday’s Game

The award for best use of the Superbowl to drive traffic to its music platform goes to Shazam, the innovative mobile music tagging app that ranks among the five most downloaded apps on iTunes ever.

Shazam is an app that you can use to tag songs and identify them. Hear a song and wonder what it is? Shazam identifies the song for you and offers you the lyrics. It also lets you preview and purchase the song, watch the video, and learn more about the artist. You can share songs with your friends as well. They have more than 175 million people using the service in 200 countries.

Shazam encouraged users to use Shazam to tag the halftime performances of artists and get exclusive content. Sponsored by Bud Light, the promotion offered both a Shazam logo on the screen and announcer promo telling the tv audience that they could use the app to tag artists and ads, enter contests and get special offers. Sponsor tie-ins included Toyota, offering a win a car sweepstakes, Cars.com which let viewers use the Shazam app to donate a buck to charity, and Pepsi which offered a free music video to viewers who used the app.

Shazam reported that football fans tagged content millions of times during the halftime show and ads. No word on how many folks downloaded the app during the show to use it, but I’m guessing there was a lot of traffic for that as well.

Simply by making music more interactive, Shazam was able to put itself at the center of one of the biggest tv events of the year. Here’s the Bud Light tv commercial featuring Shazam..

Pandora’s Local Market Clout

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.

 

Arbitron’s Internet Radio Measurement Headache

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In 2003 I started a company called Net Radio Sales that was designed, in large part, to offer a sales solution to streaming broadcast radio stations. Later that year I met with an Arbitron executive to discuss their decision to shut down server based streaming measurement and shift to census based measurement through comScore. I told Arbitron that broadcasters in particular would suffer from that because their streaming audiences were small and local, and would never show up on a national panel. At the time, Arbitron told me that they had two clients  (AOL and Yahoo) who were pushing them to move to panel based measurement, and since they were the only two paying clients, the decision had been made. They shuttered Measurecast and moved to estimating streaming audiences based on comScore panel behavior. In case you don’t know the rest, a few years later they abandoned that game as well.

I’ll bet Arbitron wishes they had stayed in server based streaming measurement way back then, because what they had was a platform that measured everyone – streaming broadcast and online only stations, all together. Which brings us to the topic of the day. Now, Arbitron has a bunch of clients who want things done a certain way. Again. This time it’s their broadcast radio clients, and they want Arbitron to measure streaming broadcast stations and online only stations separately. Not just separately but differently, so that the ratings cannot be easily combined.

It’s a problem for Arbitron because their broadcast radio clients pay them a lot of money and they don’t want to alienate them. Those clients want Arbitron to measure their streams – in such a way that they can roll up their broadcast and streaming audiences into one and sell that total audience to advertisers. And they don’t want to be compared to online stations.

And then we have Pandora. Pandora has a large audience – large enough that they can now claim to have more listeners in many markets than some broadcast stations. And they are claiming that – by working with research firm Edison Research, who has helped them crunch numbers and make comparisons. Using standard calculations that are not proprietary.

Under pressure from its clients, Arbitron recently sent out a letter intended to dissuade buyers from using the data that Pandora, with the help of Edison, has been releasing, stating: “We strongly advise clients to avoid comparing self-reported audience estimates from Internet music services to Arbitron radio audience estimates…” They offer several reasons why it’s a bad idea, including claiming that there’s no way to know if anyone is really listening. Really. The most overused objection to radio, the objection that every salesperson in the world learned to overcome in Radio 101? I just really think it’s the pot calling the kettle black on that one. {Editor’s note: unfortunately, the letter has been deleted from the news site where it was posted}.

But on to the thing that really concerns me. Arbitron says comparisons between broadcast streams and online streams can’t be made because there is a vast difference between “one to one” and “one to many” streaming audiences. They’ve created an imaginary line to justify measuring the two categories separately and differently. Supposedly, because “one to many” audiences are all exposed to the message simultaneously while “one to one” listeners are exposed to the message during their unique sessions, the data is different and cannot be assimilated.

Huh?

“This is an absolutely meaningless distinction”  says Kurt Hanson, Publisher of RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter and Founder of AccuRadio, an online station. “Case in point: If Samuel Adams wants to deliver  one million impressions of a commercial to listeners in the 4pm hour next Friday (to use a simplified example), they can either buy (A) a couple dozen top AM/FM radio stations, in which case the WAAA listeners will hear it at 4:08pm, the WBBB listeners will hear it at 4:10pm, the WCCC listeners will hear it at 4:13pm, and so forth, or (B) they can buy their desired demographic slice of the audience of a brand like Pandora, in which case some listeners will hear it at 4:01pm, some will hear it at 4:02pm, and so forth.  In BOTH scenarios, not all of the target consumers are hearing the spot at the same exact moment!  That’s never been important to the advertiser.  Both scenarios are precisely the same, in terms if effect, for Samuel Adams.”

I asked one of the smartest agency folks I know – Natalie Swed Stone, US Director, National Radio Investment, OMD, what she thought. She pointed me to her write up for RBR, which she wrote a few weeks ago, and I highlight this quote: “The research has to follow the investment patterns. The more uniform the data, the easier it will be–but marketers and agencies will continue to buy what they want and use best available research to evaluate and estimate behavior.” In other words, research firms should offer data based on the ways that buyers want to buy. If the research does not do that, buyers will do what they have to.

Network radio has been adding up time shifted audiences(that are not hearing the message simultaneously) for decades. It’s completely acceptable to represent a network audience’s AQH as the sum of the AQH’s of audiences across the country listening to a program on hundreds of stations at different times. Arbitron’s RADAR product does this. “When we buy national schedules—they can air on different stations at different times—within the prescribed daypart…” Swed Stone told me, “in TV, the currency is currently live plus 3 days (DVR) etc  and the currency is the same –even if a person plays back the program 3 days later –it is included in the overall rating.”

To check my thinking on this topic, I spent a lot of time calling and emailing digitally savvy radio people, asking them about this issue. None of my broadcast sources would go on the record, but they uniformly told me that this is a spin game. No one thought the “one to one” and “one to many” distinction holds any water at all. “It’s not intellectually sound.” I was told.

Arbitron is caught in a tough situation. As a research firm, they’re obligated to create products that are fair and objective. But some of their clients don’t want them to do that in a uniform platform. The listening landscape is rapidly evolving into a space that includes new audio platforms. Ultimately, advertisers and listeners will decide the landscape – listeners will listen to what they want to hear and advertisers will spend to reach them.

The audio landscape has never been more diverse and interesting. Pandora, with its enormously popular platform is bringing new advertisers into the space, and this could be a big win for the industry. Grow the pie! Adapting to new dynamics would be time better spent that shoveling sand against the tide..

Last.fm’s New Site Is a Game Changer

Not to be outdone by recent enhancements by Spotify and Pandora, Last.fm has rolled out a new interface for Last.fm Discover that is easily the best looking offering I’ve seen by a streaming station. It’s based on HTML5 and was developed in tandem with Microsoft to showcase the new capabilities that HTML5 in Internet Explorer 9 can offer.

Last.fm Discover is a customizable, personalizable offering that focuses on new music and artists. Launched a few months ago, the offerings are influenced by Last.fm’s charts of what listeners are scrobbling and listening to on Last.fm.

The site is very playful and inviting – perfectly suited to the Discover theme – rolling green textured hills invite you to explore the various music genres. It’s a fun and inventive look that feels more like a game – listeners can’t help but poke around, relax, hang out and discover new music. Once you select a genre, it shows you some artists and endless options for listening to similar artists, or taking a new direction. It’s addictive – I found it hard to stop clicking. (The screenshot reveals my affection for K pop..)

While much of the new site can be seen in any browser, the experience is enhanced in Internet Explorer 9. In fact, I’m a Chrome user and this got me to open IE for the first time in a while. “What we want is to see more and more websites using as much of HTML5 as possible and one of the reasons for that is we want websites to be more like apps in the way they feel,” explained Ian Moulster Microsoft product manager.

I really like this new development – I think they’ve done a great job of breaking the mold when it comes to streaming station interfaces, developing a look that matches the station’s theme of discovery. So we’ll see if it gets Last.fm a little more traction in terms of listening. Last.fm has been surprisingly stagnant in terms of audience growth and general awareness here in the US compared to Pandora and Spotify.

Pandora Reports First Profits

Pandora reported its first profits last week of $638,000 on revenues of $75 million for its third quarter of this year. This beats most analyst’s expectations and dashes last year’s losses for the same period of $1.77 million.

Pandora streamed 2.1 billion hours of programmimg -twice the numbers of last year same quarter. According to Chief Executive Officer Joe Kennedy, About half of Pandora’s $66 million in third-quarter advertising sales came from mobile users, a “triple-digit” increase from a year ago.

“Rapid growth of 104% year-over-year in listener hours and record Internet radio market share growth to 66% illustrates the strong demand for personalized radio,” stated Joe Kennedy, Chairman, President & CEO of Pandora. “Our growing scale and powerful, multi-product advertising platform is enabling Pandora to increasingly penetrate areas that were once solely served by terrestrial radio. Our momentum in transforming the radio industry is stronger than ever.”

For third quarter of fiscal 2012, total revenue was $75.0 million, a 99% year-over-year increase. Advertising revenue was $66.0 million, a 102% year-over-year increase. Subscription and other revenue was $9.0 million, an 80% year-over-year increase.

This news came a week after the Radio Advertising Bureau released third quarter revenues reporting $190 million in digital revenues for US based radio broadcasters in addition to modest growth in spot revenues.

Turntable’s Seth Goldstein

Turntable.fm’s founder Seth Goldstein is a sharp guy who’s had his hand in more than one brilliant startup. He was an original investor in  del.icio.us  which was acquired by Yahoo in 2005, he started socialmedia.com, and he’s “Entrepreneur in residence” at Fred Wilson‘s investment firm Flatiron Partners (which recently invested in Turntable.fm).

If you think that resume describes him as an insightful person with an interesting perspective, you might like this video of an interview with him at Billboard’s Future of Sound Conference.

Harman Survey Shows Consumers Want Internet Radio In Their Dashboard

Consumers want Internet radio in their dashboard. 64% of consumers would listen everyday if they had access to streaming music sites in their cars, according to a newly released study sponsored by Harman, the premiere audio system brand. The only thing they want access to more than streaming music in their car is real time traffic, and being connected to a home computer, news, and the Internet were attractive options as well.

All of this from a new study, Driving the Connected Computer, that examined the technologies that consumers want in their cars. Voice controls are highly desirable, 70% of those said they would prefer voice controls that make a car easier to use.

The overwhelming takeaway is that consumers consider it essential to stay connected in their cars. “Staying connected in the car is essential to success,” is the way one survey participant put it. The survey consisted of interviews with Adults 18+ who own a car, make buying decisions and already own several tech products such as a smartphone, mp3 player, etc.. Voice controls, Internet connectivity, and tools that enable productivity are the hot buttons for these consumers.

SNL Kagan Sees A Billion Dollar Market For Internet Radio In Ten Years

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.

 

September Webcast Metrics: Pandora, iHeartradio Gains

Triton has released Webcast Metrics listening data for stations on its platform for September. The numbers reported show Pandora’s Average Active Sessions up by about 75,000 over a full week daypart while Clear Channel’s iHeartradio gained about 8,000 in the same daypart. While Pandora’s raw number gain in AAS is much bigger than iheartradio’s, the two services each gained approximately 10% in the most recent ranker.

This is the first time that Clear Channel’s streaming audience has grown at the same pace as Pandora’s, and it came in the month of a major relaunch of iHeartradio, complete with a two day star studded live and streamed concert that reportedly cost the company $10 million. Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman has invested a lot of time and money in iheartradio, and these numbers indicate that it paid off in terms of increased traffic and listening. The report also shows that iHeartradio averaged 11 million more session starts than the month before – a handsome 20% increase.

The monthly report also shows CBSRadio losing audience, with an AAS that dropped from 97,712 to 93,448 – at least in part due to the loss of AOL Radio‘s audience. This trend should be countered by CBSRadio’s recent move to purchase Metrolyrics, one of the most trafficked music sites on the web.

Study: More Americans Are Listening On Connected Devices In Cars

Americans spend a lot of time listening to music in their cars. According to a new report by NPD Group, two out of three Americans say most of their music listening happens in cars. Most of that listening is still to radio and cds – but that appears to be changing.

flickr: andrewarchy

The report shows that 80% of Americans listened to radio in their cars and that is a two point drop from a year ago. 53% listened to cds, which is down 4 points from a year ago. Meanwhile 29% are listening on a connected device which could be a smart phone or iTouch. That number is up 9 points from a year ago. Time spent listening with those devices has increased 9% as well.

“A tipping point is approaching when vehicles and portable devices move from a tethered connection to a more integrated one,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president and entertainment analyst for The NPD Group. “Smart devices streaming music could end up being the largest threat to CDs and broadcast radio since the dawn of digital music.”

More evidence that consumers are shifting to connected mobile devices for music. Pandora now has 70% of their audience on those mobile devices. Last week I featured a post about Mary Meeker‘s latest presentation which is all about mobile, and the way that mobile will make online audio the next big thing.

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