RAIN 12/19: More broadcasters speak out against Arbitron's all-in-one measurement service

Michael Schmitt
December 19, 2011 - 11:00am

ArbitronInside Radio reported earlier in December that some broadcasters feared Arbitron's coming all-in-one measurement service would "siphon off radio ad dollars" to pureplay online radio sites like Pandora (RAIN coverage here).

Now more broadcast radio executives are speaking out against an "apples-to-apples comparison" between pureplay webcasters and AM/FM radio, but agencies are reportedly clamoring for such a service.

Cumlus Media COO John Dickey worries Arbitron’s coming service will give Pandora Arbitron's "good housekeeping stamp of approval." Hubbard Radio EVP/COO Drew Horowitz reportedly said: "Taking a totally different business model and saying it’s the same as our model would be a very frightening approach." 

Arbitron EVP/COO Sean Creamer acknowledged broadcasters' fears, stating that “there is a level of concern on the part of over-the-air broadcasters about this increasing the threat to their pot of money from the pureplays and how they will fit into the service offerings.”

Meanwhile, "both buyers and sellers say universal audio measurement is needed to drive more dollars into the streaming audio marketplace," reports Inside Radio.

Inside Radio

Fraser's Vivian Silverman says an all-in-one ratings platform would help "explain to a client in simple terms how they work together or how one might be more efficient for them in one of their buys." Former TargetSpot chief revenue officer Andy Lipset argued "It would be a game-changer in how media buyers and planners look at streaming."

“Not having [a cross-platform measurement] will hold us back from embracing some of the steaming elements on any large scale," said Maribeth Papuga, Mediavest EVP and director of local investment and activation.

But Inside Radio reports that broadcasters' fears may delay Arbitron's Total Audience Measurement service from launching, as it relies on server-side log files from broadcasters.

"We’d be hard pressed to provide" Arbitron with the necessary data for Total Audience Measurement, Dickey reportedly said. "We’re very skeptical."

Arbitron's Total Audience Measurement service would combine radio's over-the-air, web and mobile listening, with the addition of listening from pureplay webcasters (RAIN coverage here and here). It is unclear when the service will launch; Arbitron has previously stated the service will launch in 2012, but now reportedly says it "isn’t able to say whether its web ratings will go live in 2012."

Currently, the sole ratings service for the U.S. Internet radio industry is Triton Digital Media’s Webcast Metrics (formerly known as Ando Media).

You can subscribe to Inside Radio here.

Michael Schmitt
December 19, 2011 - 11:00am

Triton DigitalTriton Digital today announced Webcast Metrics Local, a new service that "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," the company stated.

Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino notes that the new service "features key targeting variables including geography, user agent and device type, expanding the opportunity for publishers and marketers alike."

However, unlike Triton Digital's Webcast Metrics rankers -- which are released to the public each month -- the local data will be "the exclusive property of the subscribing publisher," according to Triton. 

"For online audio to attract the level of advertising investment it deserves, our customers will need to provide enhanced metrics, greater transparency and the kind of targeting capabilities that digital advertisers expect -- particularly on a local level," said Agovino. 

Triton Digital currently offers subscribers access to geographic and demographic information through its Webcast Metrics product.

You can find Triton Digital's press release here.

Paul Maloney
December 19, 2011 - 11:00am

The new Spotify Radio app (which we reported here), officially made available Friday, is powered by music intelligence platform The Echo Nest.

The Echo NestSpotify Radio listeners can create custom radio stations based on specific songs or artists from Spotify's music catalogue. Basically, The Echo Nest supplies the relational information ("if the user chooses song A or artist B, they'll probably like songs X, Y, and Z") to build the playlists.

With what might be a subtle poke at Pandora (the biggest competitive target for the new app), Spotify Chief Content Officer Ken Parks said in the press release, "We can't wait to hear what our users think of Spotify Radio, which offers unlimited stations and unlimited skips..." 

The Echo Nest says they power more than 250 applications -- including Clear Channel's iHeartRadio and Nokia Music's Mix Radio -- and call their technology "the world's only machine learning system that actively reads about and listens to music everywhere on the web," boasting "over 5 billion data points on over 30 million songs." The Echo Nest was co-founded by two MIT PhDs. Investors include Matrix Partners, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, and three co-founders of MIT Media Lab.

Read our coverage of other music applications that use The Echo Nest here and here. Here's the press release from them. Engadget reported on this too.