RAIN 12/2: B'dcasters reportedly fear Arbitron's web radio ratings service will "siphon off radio ad dollars"

Michael Schmitt
December 2, 2011 - 12:25pm

Ad revenuesSome broadcasters are worried Arbitron's coming Total Audience Measurement service will help Internet radio pureplay services "siphon off radio ad dollars," Inside Radio reports. That service will measure both over-the-air and Internet radio listening, providing an "apples-to-apples comparison" for advertisers.

"Many buyers today complain that it’s difficult to buy online audio ads," writes Inside Radio, "because the metrics are much different than what’s used by radio stations for on-air spot sales." Arbitron's new service aims to remedy that problem by creating one metric for online and AM/FM listening (RAIN coverage here and here). 

But that reportedly makes some broadcasters anxious that advertisers will spend more money on pureplay webcasters and less on broadcast radio. Slacker has already confirmed that they've had discussions with Arbitron (more here).

Because Arbitron's new service relies on participation from broadcasters, their fears could apparently delay the ratings platform's launch. The company previously said they hoped to roll-out the new ratings platform next year, but now Inside Radio writes that Arbitron "isn’t able to say whether its web ratings will go live in 2012."

ArbitronCOO Sean Creamer tells Inside Radio that the Total Audience Measurement service "will be ready when our customers are ready to embrace it."

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 find more coverage from Inside Radio by subscribing to their daily newsletters here.

Paul Maloney
December 2, 2011 - 12:25pm

Mike AgovinoTriton Media COO Mike Agovino "took to the blog" this week to point out that with October's Webcast Metrics, the total measured online listening audience has now passed 1.6 million "Average Active Sessions (AAS)" for the "workday" daypart (M-F 6A-8P). [AAS is Total Listening Hours (TLH) divided by hours in the reported time period. Similarly to Arbitron's "Average Quarter Hour," you can think of it as "the number of listeners at an average moment within the time period." ]

The online radio audience measured by Triton Webcast Metrics, Agovino says, is growing by about 100,000 AAS every 3 months (see the chart on the right). Should the industry be able to maintain that growth, Internet radio will have a 3 million AAS by 2015 -- 10% of radio's total audience.Webcast Metrics AAS quarterly trends

Agovino took the occasion to explain how  radio's current audience is worth $650-$900 million in revenue to the industry (between pre-roll audio/video ads, instream audio ads, and display ads with typical CPMs).

But he makes another point here too. You may know Arbitron is planning to roll out an "integrated audience" measurement system (see today's top story) -- to tally listening to radio whether its online or over-the-air. Arbitron wants to allow radio to present the online audience using the same traditional broadcast metrics, thereby enabling ad buyers to more easily extend their buys across both platforms. But instead of combining listening, Agovino wants radio to create a new revenue channel. He's suggesting broadcasters should be able to dip into both marketers' broadcast and interactive budgets alike.

"The dimensions of online audio expand the offering way beyond sound to include the interactive, targeting and visual benefits of online ads," he wrote. "Digital, mobile and social budgets are prime targets for this base of impressions... Selling the online audience with the on-air audience relegates publishers to fishing in the same revenue streams as they have always fished. These are not the budgets that are growing, but rather the ones that are shrinking."

Read more from Triton Media COO Mike Agovino here.

Michael Schmitt
December 2, 2011 - 12:25pm

Sonos' line of streaming devices and appsWireless home music streaming service Sonos has updated to include support for Slacker. The update also includes improvements to Spotify's service on Sonos, Engadget reports (here).

Sonos has also updated its Android app to support tablets.

Sonos' wireless music devices are capable of streaming home music collections in addition to web music services like Pandora, Last.fm, iHeartRadio, Rhapsody, MOG and Rdio.

Slacker has also announced that it has signed on as the exclusive title sponsor of Canadian Music Week. (Canadian Music Week is a five-day entertainment event in Toronto that includes Canada's largest new music festival, Canadian Music Fest.) Slacker plans to launch a series of new channels "with a Canadian focus" to celebrate. You can find Slacker's press release here.

Paul Maloney
December 2, 2011 - 11:00am

When it comes to passion and emotion, do we just leave it to the Italians?

StereomoodThis week Forbes covers Stereomood, an online radio service based in Rome. As opposed to clinical musical genres, Stereomood is designed to create a listening experience based on your state of emotion. Forbes contributor Daniel Papalia (see?) writes, "Where Pandora is omniscient and calculating, working to crack songs like codes or pretty algorithms, Stereomood is malleable and sensual."

Stereomood (which we covered in February, here) uses song links from blogs and creates playlists based on mood or activity. The user picks a suitable tag on the website, based on what they're doing or how they're feeling. Since it's based on music blogs, unsurprisingly, "playlists skew towards the indie and under the radar. Major label acts are represented, but sparingly," Papalia writes. 

"By carnally and spiritually (Mama mia!) arranging songs, the site erodes all prior notions of genre, desegregating and humanizing music," he continues. "Tracks from different eras and opposite hemispheres peacefully mingle, united by feeling and human activity – the purest and simplest of measures."

Read more on Stereomood in Forbes here.