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:
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..