December ratings report card good for Pandora, tough on most others

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 1:10pm

While the year-end holiday season can be a boon to broadcasters who switch to an "all-Christmas" format, seasonal changes to work habits tend to take a toll on Internet radio in December. The just-released Triton Digital Webcast Metrics ratings bear that out.

Most Top 20 webcasters saw their domestic AQH fall from November to December, some quite significantly: broadcaster groups Cox, Radio One, Cumulus, Salem, and Hubbard were off 18%-22% compared to November 2012. [note: All the numbers quoted here are from the U.S.-only M-Su 6a-12M ranking.] December exceptions included Pandora (ever the juggernaut, the 800lb. webcast gorilla grew AQH 8%), Slacker and EMF Corporate (both flat), and AccuRadio (up 12% on the strength of specialty holiday programming). [AccuRadio is a sister company of RAIN Publications.]

The holidays were especially hard on AM/FM streams. As Triton Digital explains, this year saw broadcasters' Total Listening Hours (TLH) during the holiday week slip 42% when compared to an average week during the year. Pureplay streams fell a less drastic 15%.

This holiday week "turn off" was especially exaggerated when isolating listening via desktop computer: a 48% drop for broadcasters and 41% for pureplays. On mobile devices, the effect was less pronounced (a 28% slip for broadcasters, and just 1% down for pureplays).

"The data displayed supports two conclusions, the first being that 'in-office' desktop listening does not necessarily translate to 'in-home' listening," Triton wrote in its rankings press release. "The second conclusion is that the holiday season trend softens as mobile becomes a more typical listening method. Mobile listening remains the most consistent throughout the week with the lightest drop in all instances."

It can be noted that while the holiday drop is traditional, many of those webcasters that slipped had a bigger drop than in 2011; and those few with postive Decembers had less growth than in the previous year.

But there is some good news here. With the new ratings, we can look at the whole of 2012 from January to December. In those twelve months, the Webcast Metrics Top 20 panel's aggregate AQH grew 36% (1.45 million to 1.97 million). However, that was nearly-solely powered by Pandora, which added half a million to its AQH and grew listening 50% (1.01 million to 1.52 million). Clear Channel ended 2012 with its AQH 29% in the black, and the NPR Member stations group also added to the panel's growth (it only first began reporting in June, and in December ranked 6th).

Some for which 2012 was not a streaming AQH growth year: CBS's AQH has fallen 34% from 63,028 to 41,846, Cumulus (down 18%), and ESPN Radio (down 19%). True, these losses are slightly exaggerated by December's traditional slippage. But these new ratings show that things are clearly not headed in the right direction for some major webcasters.

You can see Triton Digital's December 2012 Online Audio Top 20 Ranker here. Our coverage of November's Webcast Metrics ranking is here.

Move will allow stations to combine local on-air, online audiences to present to ad buyers, says Triton

Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 12:00pm

Triton Digital said today it intends to present its local market audience measurements using the traditional broadcast radio Average Quarter-Hour metric (AQH).

Stations that subscribe to Triton's new "Local Reports" feature will now get Average Quarter-Hour Rating (AQH Rating) by market alongside Triton's proprietary Average Active Sessions number.

To this point, Triton Digital has relied on the Average Active Sessions (AAS) metric, which, like the more traditional AQH, purports to represent the the number of listeners at an average moment. (Though there are some small methodological differences in how AQH and AAS are calculated, we believe them to be virtually equivalent.)

However, broadcast radio sales forces, media buyers, and advertisers have long relied on the more traditional metrics like AQH (and, for that matter, cumulative or "cume" audience, and Time Spent Listening or "TSL") for advertising buys. A Triton representative told RAIN the company's new format for local market reports "makes it easier for advertisers and media buyers to make apples-to-apples comparisons between online and traditional radio buys." This gives stations "the flexibility to combine their offline and online audience into a credible total audience number while maintaining the ability to position the attributes of either channel independently."

The press release includes this from ad firm Horizon Media SVP Lauren Russo: "Seeing Internet audio in the same terms as traditional radio gives a holistic sense of the audio market, making it easier for buyers to make informed decisions when purchasing ad space. We are excited to see how the ability to provide such a direct comparison will impact advertisers’ views on the value of streaming."

The company has also announced it plans to share measurement data with third parties per customer request. Triton's press release is available online here.

Pandora's local ratings climbing, says Edison Research

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 11:10am

Pandora's local reachPandora held a 1.2 AQH rating among the 18-34 demographic in Top 10 markets Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C., as well as Arbitron market #23 Portland, according to Edison Research. The data applies to October 13, 2011 to November 9, 2011, which Pandora defines as November 2011 in its press release.

Since Persons Using Radio is about 8.4% among 18-34 year-olds, a 1.0 rating works out to be about a 12.0 share in that demographic. 

The webcaster's 18-34 AQH rating has grown about 20-25% in most major U.S. markets since September 2011 (RAIN coverage here). Its AQH rating generally grew between 15-20% for 18-49 year-olds over the same time period.

We reported in July that Pandora's 18-34 AQH rating then was higher than any terrestrial radio station in all of the five largest U.S. radio markets (RAIN coverage here). 

Edison Research and Pandora have also released the webcaster's cume rating for 10/13 through 11/9, which ranges from just under 20 to over 26 among 18-34 year-olds and from 13 to over 17 for 18-49 year-olds.

Find below Pandora's 18-34 AQH rating and cume rating report for November 2011 from Edison Research. You can find Pandora's press release here.

RAIN AnalysisRAIN Analysis: Although Pandora has a larger share 18-34 than any other single radio station, it is an aggegation of different formats; as such, it might be more fairly compared to the Clear Channel or CBS cluster in each market. 

From that perspective, Pandora is not the #1 radio broadcaster among 18-34s in most markets. (Although, as it's growing at almost 10% per month, that may change before too many more months elapse.) -- KH


November 2011 Pandora AQH & cume ratings (Adults 18-34)
Mon-Sun, 6am-12

City July AQH rating Sept AQH rating Nov AQH rating Nov cume rating
New York 0.7 0.7 0.9 19.9
Los Angeles 0.9 1.0 1.2 25.1
Chicago 0.7 0.8 1.0 21.7
San Francisco 0.9 1.0 1.2 26.2
Dallas - Ft. Worth 0.8 0.9 1.0 22.9
Houston 0.8 0.9 1.0 23.0
Atlanta 0.7 0.8 0.9 21.1
Philadelphia 0.7 0.8 1.0 22.7
Washington D.C. 0.9 1.0 1.2 26.1
Boston 0.7 0.8 1.0 23.3
Portland N/A 1.0 1.2 23.6


November 2011 Pandora AQH & cume ratings (Adults 18-49)
Mon-Sun, 6am-12m
City July AQH rating Sept AQH rating Nov AQH rating Nov cume rating
New York 0.5 0.5 0.6 13.0
Los Angeles 0.6 0.7 0.8 16.8
Chicago 0.5 0.5 0.6 14.5
San Francisco 0.6 0.7 0.8 17.4
Dallas - Ft. Worth 0.5 0.6 0.7 15.9
Houston 0.5 0.6 0.7 15.8
Atlanta 0.5 0.6 0.6 14.7
Philadelphia 0.5 0.5 0.6 14.9
Washington D.C. 0.6 0.7 0.8 17.2
Boston 0.5 0.6 0.7 15.1
Portland N/A 0.7 0.8 17.4


Edison data for September shows Pandora making gains in local markets over July

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 8:00am
Pandora's local reach
Pandora holds a 1.0 AQH rating among the 18-34 demographic in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Portland, according to new September listening data from Edison Research.
We reported in July that Pandora's A18-34 AQH rating then was higher than any terrestrial radio station in all of the five largest U.S. radio markets (RAIN coverage here). Pandora seems to have grown about 10% to 15% in A18-34 ratings in most major markets since then.
Find below Pandora's A18-34 AQH rating report for September 2011 from Edison Research. You can find Pandora's press release here.
September 2011 Pandora AQH (Adults 18-34)
Mon-Sun, 6am-12m
City July Sept.
New York 0.7 0.7
Los Angeles 0.9 1.0
Chicago 0.7 0.8
San Francisco 0.9 1.0
Dallas - Ft. Worth
0.8 0.9
Houston 0.8 0.9
Atlanta 0.7 0.8
Philadelphia 0.7 0.8
Washington, D.C. 0.9 1.0
Boston 0.7 0.8
Portland N/A 1.0
September 2011 Pandora AQH (Adults 18-49)
Mon-Sun, 6am-12m
City July Sept.
New York 0.5 0.5
Los Angeles 0.6 0.7
Chicago 0.5 0.5
San Francisco 0.6 0.7
Dallas - Ft. Worth
0.5 0.6
Houston 0.5 0.6
Atlanta 0.5 0.6
Philadelphia 0.5 0.5
Washington, D.C. 0.6 0.7
Boston 0.5 0.6
Portland N/A 0.7


"We're seeing a growing wave of local advertisers shifting their terrestrial broadcast budgets to Internet radio," said Pandora founder Tim Westergren. Westergren discussed local advertisers and their experiences with Pandora in his keynote at RAIN Summit Chicago, which you can watch in full here.

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