RAIN 6/1: Lack of "apples to apples" comparison reportedly not stopping agencies from selling Pandora

Michael Schmitt
June 1, 2012 - 11:35am

Pandora advertisingEarlier this month, Triton Digital (which publishes Internet radio's monthly Webcast Metrics ratings) released Pandora's Average Quarter Hour and "cume" ratings for 11 top local markets. The move was certainly a shot across the bow of traditional broadcasters, as it highlighted the foothold the webcaster is gaining, even at the local level. But it also served to call out Arbitron, which has yet to deliver its own promised "all radio" ratings.

"The resulting numbers are impressive," Ad Age commented on Pandora's numbers, with "strong penetration" in local markets while nationally Pandora stands as "the largest radio network for listeners age 18 to 49" (more RAIN coverage here).

But are ad buyers impressed with the new numbers? Is unified measurement important to them? Ad Age surveyed several ad agencies, "all of whom already do a good deal of business with Pandora." For most, unified measurement would be helpful but the lack of an "apples to apples" comparison "hasn't been an inhibitor." 

"The Triton data is great, but if it was on the Arbitron platform it would make it a lot easier to be handled by a local-market buyer," said a senior VP from Horizon Media. Arbitron data wouldn't result in more being spent on Pandora, she predicted, it would just "streamline" the process. Another ad rep said her company isn't even sure yet if they want to use the ratings from Triton to sell Pandora. 

An executive from Starcom agreed that the lack of a single measurement hasn't been a problem. They "continue to buy more with Pandora each year."

Advertising AgeHe continued, "I've been able to sell Pandora into clients because intuitively they know it's the right thing and know the audience is there." That said, "In a perfect world, all audio would be measured by the same source and the same panel, because then the ratings that we're getting would truly be apples to apples." 

That "apples to apples" comparison is being delayed by Arbitron's broadcaster customers, as Arbitron EVP/COO Sean Creamer said in May (RAIN coverage here).

Michael Schmitt
June 1, 2012 - 11:35am

Greg WaldenThe U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will next week hold a hearing about "The Future of Audio." The hearing was called by Greg Walden (pictured), a Republican Congressman from Oregon (and former broadcaster).

"This hearing will examine how advances in consumer electronics – as well as broadcasting, the Internet, and other communications platforms – are changing the way Americans gain access to and consume audio content," the committee states.

A witness list has yet to be released, but Radio Ink reports (here) Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan will be included, perhaps to discuss FM radio in cellphones.

The hearing will take place on Wednesday, June 6. You can find more information here. Look for further coverage from RAIN next week.

Michael Schmitt
June 1, 2012 - 11:35am

RokuSlacker Radio has arrived on Roku, a device used to stream web content to TVs. Roku also others apps from Pandora, SomaFM, Radio Paradise, Live365, TuneIn, Rdio, MOG and other services. Slacker's new app offers more than 200 curated stations, plus content from ESPN Radio and ABC News.

"Television apps are the latest frontier in personalized radio services," comments The Verge (here). You can find out more from Roku's blog here.

Paul Maloney
June 1, 2012 - 11:35am

Napster co-founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning have recruited Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman to serve on the board of their start-up Airtime, a live video platform for meeting new people.

Parker, who was Facebook's first president and is an investor in Spotify, told AllThingsDigital, (Pittman is) "the only media mogul who’s genuinely an entrepreneur." Pittman, who rode the success of Clear Channel's iHeartRadio initiative to the CEO post last year, returned the compliment: "Sean and Shawn have a unique ability to see opportunities in the consumer internet and create services that fundamentally change our culture."

Read more in AllThingsDigital here.