Radio will soon be just one of several entertainment and information options to the U.S. driver

Monday, December 10, 2012 - 12:30pm

Thursday was the second half of Arbitron's Client Conference, and two topics that emerged of interest to RAIN readers: in-vehicle Net radio and the importance of mobile to radio's digital strategy (as Tom Taylor Now reported on Friday).

It's clear the day is coming that broadcasters will be competing head-to-head with Internet-delivered entertainment and information in the car. Valerie Shuman (left) is VP/Industry Programs for the Connected Vehicle Trade Association. She told the conference we'll soon see, as Taylor reports, "a virtual dashboard and software-defined radio" (think of a device where its capabilities are easily updated and enhanced, as opposed to being limited by whatever "hardware" it uses).

Jacobs Media consultant Fred Jacobs (also pictured left) spoke too. He recommended radio programers to go and get the same in-car experience your audience will soon have, with a test drive of a car equipped with a connected dashboard system.

"You need to understand what the consumer is going through, to be an effective programmer," he said. That's one point, by the way, of his five-point plan for radio programmers, managers, and owners to make sure they're ready for for the "connected car revolution," which he offers in his blog.

"Radio needs to understand what the automakers – and aftermarket companies – are thinking, and how it will impact the listening experience – or should I say – the audio consumption experience," Jacobs writes, here.

Even out of the car, mobile is becoming the heart of digital radio listening. Clear Channel President of Digital Brian Lakamp (right) revealed to the conference audience that more than half of iHeartRadio usage is now mobile (that number is now 77% for Pandora). His company's research shows users of iHeartRadio's "custom radio" feature (its "personalizable" streams) "spent more time with live radio than they did two years ago... digital is 'in addition to,' not 'instead of' broadcast radio."

Read more of Tom Taylor's coverage on Day Two of the Arbitron Client Conference here.

Arbitron says long-awaited integrated ratings service is "still in the works"

Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 6:45pm

Arbitron's long-awaited cross-platform ratings service (more here) is "still in the works," according to company EVP/COO Sean Creamer on the Arbitron Q3 conference call yesterday. "It's not a question of if, but when, we launch this service."

Creamer said, "the goal is an integrated service so (radio) stations get total credit" for listening, regardless of the platform on which it happens. FMQB reports that for Internet-delivered radio content, the Arbitron service "would use online logs to measure Internet radio listenership and include all types of Web radio, from terrestrial stations' streams to services such as Pandora."

As we reported last month (here), Arbtitron announced an arrangement with comScore and ESPN to measure the sports network's audience for audio, video, and display content across radio, television, the web, and mobile platforms. Mediapost quotes Creamer saying on yesterday's conference call, "This (ESPN) project underscores radio’s importance and relevance in a cross-platform world."

Read more from FMBQ here and Mediapost here.

New Arbitron/comScore system's first task: Measuring ESPN's cross-platform audience

Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 12:20pm

While we were waiting for Arbitron to finally unveil their long-awaited unified on-air/online radio measurement (see RAIN here), they've announced a deal with comScore and ESPN to measure audio, video, and display across radio, tv, the web, and mobile.

The goal here is to create audience measurement using common metrics on a national and continuous basis, so content providers and marketers can gauge the reach, engagement, and cross-platform duplication of audience.

"The unprecedented size and scope of the project is being driven by the multiplatform measurement requirements of ESPN, which delivers video, audio and display content via television (both in-home and out-of-home), online and mobile video, PC web, mobile web, apps, tablets, digital audio and terrestrial radio" (see yesterday's top story in RAIN here), the companies' announcement read.

The initiative (characterized as "five-platform" as it separates "smartphones" adn "tablets") will integrate "the census and panel-based PC, mobile and TV set-top box measurement capabilities of comScore along with enhanced, single-source, multiplatform measurement capabilities of the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) technology," according to the statement.

Though no roll-out date has been announced, ESPN, comScore and Arbitron will unveil more details October 1-3 at the upcoming Advertising Week convention in New York.

Read the press release here.

Arbiton Mobile and iResearch to open mobile research service in China

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 1:20pm

Mobile consumer in ChinaArbitron Mobile and iResearch Consulting have partnered to operate a mobile media research service in China, the world's largest smartphone market.

The companies hope to provide marketers, content providers, app developers and wireless services with information about how mobile consumers in China use apps, engage in advertising and generally use their devices. Arbitron and iResearch will create a panel of around 10,000 people who will install special tracking software on their smartphones and tablets.

You can find the companies' press release here.

Ad reps say Pandora Arbitron ratings would be ideal, but buyers "intuitively know the audience is there"

Friday, 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).

Arbitron has "no objection" as to what services they measure, but do broadcasters?

Thursday, 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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