RAIN 1/10: Arbitron's "imaginary line" between broadcast and webcast audiences will hurt its product, says Audio4Cast

Paul Maloney
January 10, 2012 - 9:00am

Just before the holidays, broadcasters' collective "foot came down" with Arbitron and Katz360 in regards to Pandora.

Traditional radio doesn't like Pandora. It's not "real radio," broadcasters say. They don't want Pandora listening measured using the same metrics as the broadcast world, because that might allow Pandora (and Internet radio as a whole) to "sipon off...ad dollars" to which broadcasters feel entitled. And broadcasters made it clear how they feel to Katz360 and Arbitron. So Katz360 dumped Pandora. And Arbitron issued a warning against putting any credence in listening reports from Pandora. You can review all of this in more detail with our coverage we link to here.

Yesterday in her Audio4Cast blog, Jennifer Lane took particular exception to one of arguments Arbitron made in its statement regarding Pandora. Arbitron wants the reader to believe it's not logical to compare audience estimates of broadcast listening (that is, many people listening to the same thing at the same time) to estimates of webcast listening, because in many cases (e.g. Pandora) each listener is listening to his or her own personal stream (no one else is hearing the same songs and ads at the same moment as anyone else).

"They’ve created an imaginary line to justify measuring the two categories separately and differently," Lane writes. "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."

RAIN senior editor and AccuRadio founder Kurt Hanson dismantles the argument by using an example of an ad campaign spread across various broadcast stations during a designated hour and day -- naturally, the ad won't play at the exact same moment on all stations. Lane herself uses the example of network radio programs, which can run on hundreds of stations at various times.

But it's really not about logic, it's about Arbitron bending to pressure from their broadcast clients. 

"As a research firm, (Arbitron is) obligated to create products that are fair and objective," she writes. "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." By refusing to compare broadcast and webcast audiences based on meaningless distinctions like "one-to-many vs. one-to-one" messaging, these research firms do themselves, ad buyers, and ultimately radio a disservice by not providing the best and most accurate product they can.

Jennifer Lane's Audio4Cast blog on this topic is here.

Paul Maloney
January 10, 2012 - 9:00am

Internet radio hardware manufacturer Livio Radio this week is expanding its Livio Car Connect Mobile App Network with AirKast and TargetSpot partnerships.

PCMag.com reports, "Car Connect is a series of APIs that are designed to work with a variety of car companies and app companies, which connect to the car via the API. The protocol communicates with software that's built into the car. "The point is to get all apps [on] all cars," Livio Radio CEO Jake Sigal said. Read more from PCMag.com here.

Mobile digital content and advertising firm AirKast is now part of Livio Connect. AirKast net radio apps will now be available for safe use in cars via Livio Connect. Read the press release here.

Livio Radio is also now working with online audio ad network TargetSpot, making TargetSpot the exclusive third-party advertising provider on the Livio Connect network. TargetSpot says the arrangement will enable TargetSpot advertisers to reach 65% of the automotive Bluetooth market and drivers of major auto brands with in-dash Internet systems. Read the press release here.

Paul Maloney
January 10, 2012 - 9:00am

Here's more news from the Consumer Electronics Show happening now in Las Vegas:

Clear Channel Radio is making available its iHeartRadio API (application programming interface). The Developer Program will enable anyone to develop web pages and applications that integrate iHeartRadio content and services. The iHeartRadio API includes access to live broadcast and digital-only stations, the Custom Stations feature, and social media integration. Developers can learn more about the Developer Program here.

Blackberry maker Research In Motion will add FM radio capability to two current BlackBerry models, the Curve 9360 or 9380. Owners simply need to download a new app to be able to tune to local FM.

Ford has added voice-control of NPR's mobile app to its Sync AppLink. Listeners will be able to create playlists of stories and programs to listen to later, or select from topics and then call them up via voice command.

Pandora announced new partnerships in the automotive sector with Acura, Kia, and Audiovox; plus another partner for in-home entertainment, satellite television provider Dish Network. Pandora says its service is now available on more than 450 consumer electronic devices, and they have partnerships with 16 automotive OEM brands and 7 aftermarket manufacturers.

Net radio provider Slacker announced content partnerships with American Public Media and The Weather Channel. Slacker will now offer programs from APM like "Marketplace" and "The Current," as well as customizable weater forecasts and updates.