RAIN 5/17: Arbitron says it's ready to measure online listening, but stations are holding it back

Michael Schmitt
May 17, 2012 - 11:35am

Sean Creamer"We can do it today," said Arbitron EVP/COO Sean Creamer on Tuesday, referring to the company's online audience measurement service. But Arbitron "can't launch the service" yet.

"Like PPM, the service requires industry cooperation," writes Inside Radio, and Arbitron reportedly isn't getting it. "We have not reached a point where there is a critical mass of customers providing the digital log file data," Creamer explained at the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in Boston.

Some broadcasters are reportedly worried that Arbitron's coming measurement service will help Internet radio pureplay services "siphon off radio ad dollars" (more in RAIN here). Many even object to services like Pandora and Slacker being categorized as "radio." What's apparently happening is these operators, to avoid putting their online audiences up against the online-only powerhouses, are simply withholding their data from Arbitron.

Creamer's remarks echo what he said in February about the web audience measurement service: "The timing is not within our control" (RAIN coverage here). Arbitron's goal is to create an all-in-one measurement service, combining PPMs, diaries and server logs. The service could potentially measure any service, said Creamer (pictured) in Febuary, including Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio or others. 

"There’s no objection on our part to measuring whoever is defined as being radio," said Creamer on Tuesday.

Inside Radio writes that "until an industry consensus emerges about what constitutes 'radio,' the service won’t leave the launch pad." The publication comments that the debate about what is and isn't "radio" is "delaying radio's ability to more fully monetize its streaming audience."

While the industry debates, Pandora yesterday released AQH and cume ratings for 11 local markets with the help of Triton Digital (RAIN coverage here).

"But we certainly would welcome the opportunity to move the relationship with Arbitron to something that provides the marketplace with the quantitative data they’re looking for," reportedly said Pandora CRO John Trimble.

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Michael Schmitt
May 17, 2012 - 11:35am

iHeartRadioClear Channel's iHeartRadio online radio platform now has 10 million registered users, the company announced today. The users were all registered in the eight months since iHeartRadio's Custom Radio service was launched in September 2011, said Clear Channel (RAIN coverage here). Users must register to use iHeartRadio's customizable radio service. 

Brian Lakamp, Clear Channel's President of Digital, attributes the growth to "the tremendous promotional power of our broadcast radio properties." Said Chairman and CEO John Hogan: "We take being a multiplatform company seriously."

Registered users "are only a percentage of iHeartRadio's overall listeners," said Clear Channel. The service reportedly generated more than 45 million unique visitors in April.

Pandora has more than 150 million registered users (RAIN coverage here), while on-demand service Spotify has 10 million registered users (3 million of which are paying subscribers; RAIN coverage here).

Paul Maloney
May 17, 2012 - 11:35am

BIA/Kelsey's Media Ad View predicts marketers will nearly double their local mobile and online ad spending in the next five years -- from $11.1 billion last year, to $21.8.

The Media Ad View assesses 12 media, 12 ad categories, and nearly 100 business categories to track local ad spending for every local market. Local media advertising is defined as advertising placed on local media outlets, including national, regional and local ads on radio stations, television stations and newspapers.

The technology/telecom category alone, according to the analyst, will increase its local spend by $2.9 billion, to $5.1 billion, by 2016 (an increase of over 80%). Look for growth from retail, automotive, and health care too, says BIA/Kelsey.

Read the BIA/Kelsey press release for its Media Ad View here.

Michael Schmitt
May 17, 2012 - 11:35am

FM radioGizmodo posts an interesting "Home Mod" column, explaining how to use FM radio to wireless play web radio around your house.

What you need is an FM transmitter like the C. Crane FM2 (around $60). There are more expensive options, but for anything around $300 you're probably better off just diving into the world of Sonos.

Simply plug the FM transmitter into your computer, phone or tablet, find an unused FM frequency and use your FM radios around the house to listen to Internet radio wirelessly.

You can find Gizmodo's article here.