Arbitron

Arbitron: Streaming measurement service still in the works, no word on timing

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 12:10pm

ArbitronIn Arbitron's quarterly call, CFO Sean Creamer said the company's streaming measurement service is still under development, but "the timing is not within our control."

Creamer said the service would combine PPMs, diaries and server-side log data. The service could potentially measure any service, said Creamer, including Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio. But Radio Ink reports the company was not specific about which exact services would be measured.

However, Tom Taylor reports Creamer said, "We do believe there is a difference between one-to-many and one-to-one." He apprently suggested there could be "separate reports to differentiate the one-to-many and one-to-one models."

You can find more on the story from today's Taylor on Radio-Info newsletter here or from Radio Ink here. You can find out more about Arbitron's planned streaming measurement service in previous RAIN articles here and here.

Pandora's share of radio listening may be even higher than what they claim

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 11:00am

New numbers confirm "just how big a share Pandora has amassed"

Using new data from Arbitron, industry news source Inside Radio determines that Pandora's monthly listening is approximately 5% of the total listening of over-the-air radio.
 
A new calculation from Arbitron found that Americans are exposed to 14.6 billion hours of radio every month. That calculation was apparently "created at the request of the company’s clients to give broadcast radio a way to show how it stacks up against Pandora," reports Inside Radio. The publication compared this number to Pandora's own Q3 report to investors to calculate the percentage.

Pandora recently told its investors it logged 2.1 billion listener hours during Q3 (up from around 1 billion the year before; more here). "That equates to an average 700 million listener hours per month or about 5% the size of over-the-air radio," writes Inside Radio. The publication points out that the figure exceeds the percentage Pandora has recently stated.

"Today we only have a bit more than 4% of all radio listening in this country," CEO Joe Kennedy told CNBC earlier this month (more here). Pandora said it represented 2.3% of all radio listening at the end of 2010 (more here).

Arbitron

Inside Radio writes that this confirms "just how big a share Pandora has amassed in just a few short years."

"It’s worth noting that each [Arbitron and Pandora] uses different methodologies," notes Inside Radio. "Arbitron’s figures are based on RADAR’s combined PPM and diary survey estimates (Persons 12+, Mon-Sun 6AM-Mid) while Pandora’s actual server-side numbers come from Triton Digital."

You can subscribe to receive Inside Radio daily here.

RAIN AnalysisRAIN ANALYSIS: RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson calculates -- assuming Pandora's 2.1 billion figure is accurate -- that the webcaster has the equivalent of a 4.8 share of all U.S. radio listening.

That's higher than any number Pandora has ever quoted (though it would be slightly less if Pandora were included in Arbitron's calculation, and it's likely SiriusXM was not included either). -- MS

B'casters should welcome combo ratings with pureplays, argues Del Colliano: The advantage is still theirs

Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 9:00am

Radio industry vet Jerry Del Colliano is another voice in the chorus of experts who say broadcasters are making a mistake by trying to force ratings services to segregate their listening estimates from those of "pureplay" Internet radio (catch up on RAIN coverage here, here, and in today's top story here). He suggests broadcasters' thinking should be guided by how radio will need to succeed in the future: by building a brand that goes far beyond a broadcast tower and PPM.  

"Pureplays are here and radio can co-exist with them. Even, distinguish themselves," Del Colliano wrote in his Inside Music Media blog yesterday. "Pureplay stations can’t do local radio and terrestrial stations can... for the stations that are still live and local, bring on the pureplays, radio will continue to perform well."

So, radio broadcasters, why not launch your own pureplay service? Or two? Get into the low-barrier-to-entry game of Internet-only radio, secure in the knowledge that webcasters can meet your ante and easily go and pick up a broadcast frequency or two. "There is no reason why you can’t own radio stations, iPad formats, paid services, video sites and pureplay music stations based on your brands." NPR has built for themselves a brand and a value that goes way beyond simply "radio stations," and local commercial broadcasters need to follow that blueprint, he suggests. "Agencies are screaming for digital... Smart money is on making strategic adjustments in advance so that broadcast stations will be poised to gain an advantage."

Read more and subscribe to Inside Music Media here.

Convergence of broadcast and online radio may question logic of keeping audience estimates separate

Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 9:00am

The ongoing tussle between the broadcast radio industry (which we covered most recently here and here) and Internet radio (mostly Pandora) over ad dollars is now on display for the ad industry in the pages (and website) of AdWeek.

"The streaming services need advertising dollars, and they have monies previously allotted to broadcast budgets in their crosshairs," reads the article, titled Streaming Music Has a Problem—It's a Huge Success. "It is, in general, a well-trod story: New medium goes after old ad dollars. But in this case, the stakes are unusually high. Online radio’s very survival depends on stealing ad dollars from its traditional counterpart, and it needs to do it fast." 

See, Internet radio's ad revenues have been estimated at just 5% those of the broadcast radio industry. In fact, listening is growing far more quickly than ad sales (Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy told CNBC (see video here), "In the short run we really continue to focus on investing (in) this tremendous opportunity to disrupt the traditional radio business. Today we only have a bit more than 4% of all radio listening in this country," he added, which "illustrates how much opportunity lies ahead of us.").

Then of course there's the "onerous" royalties arrangement for copyright sound recordings (an obligation broadcasters don't have, and the terms of which can't be changed until at least 2015) putting pressure on webcasters to bring those ad dollars in.

Aside from the size of the pile (eMarketer estimates broadcast radio's 2011 ad revenue at $15.7 billion -- the graphic you see is from AdWeek), what makes traditional radio ad dollars a logical target for webcasters is the form online radio advertising is taking: traditional audio spots. "As streaming usage migrates to mobile (70% of Pandora’s listening is via smartphones, for example) and vehicles (which utilize smartphones), the ads need to look and feel a lot more like traditional broadcast spots than display ads," AdWeek staff writer Erin Griffith reports. "Filling that mobile inventory with audio spots, supported by broadcast-allocated ad dollars, requires that streaming services are defined as radio, not digital."

And as webcasting emulates the broadcast model, broadcasters have buttressed their position by adopting customizable and interactive digital services themselves (e.g. Clear Channel Radio's iHeartRadio, CBS Radio's Radio.com on top of CBS's purchase of Last.fm). "As consumption of all media shifts online, both sides — their respective diss wars aside — will likely need to act more like the other in order to sell their ad inventory." And this perhaps calls into question the logic of cordoning off listening estimates for broadcasters from those of webcasters. Especially when ad dollars, for both sides, are at stake.

Read the AdWeek article here. And we'd love for you to leave a comment with your thoughts (if you don't see the form below, please click the "Add a comment" link).

Jennifer Lane, Kurt Hanson call "one-to-one vs. one-to-many" a meaningless distinction

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 9:00am

Just before the holidays, broadcasters' collective "foot came down" with Arbitron and Katz360 in regards to Pandora.

Traditional radio doesn't like Pandora. It's not "real radio," broadcasters say. They don't want Pandora listening measured using the same metrics as the broadcast world, because that might allow Pandora (and Internet radio as a whole) to "sipon off...ad dollars" to which broadcasters feel entitled. And broadcasters made it clear how they feel to Katz360 and Arbitron. So Katz360 dumped Pandora. And Arbitron issued a warning against putting any credence in listening reports from Pandora. You can review all of this in more detail with our coverage we link to here.

Yesterday in her Audio4Cast blog, Jennifer Lane took particular exception to one of arguments Arbitron made in its statement regarding Pandora. Arbitron wants the reader to believe it's not logical to compare audience estimates of broadcast listening (that is, many people listening to the same thing at the same time) to estimates of webcast listening, because in many cases (e.g. Pandora) each listener is listening to his or her own personal stream (no one else is hearing the same songs and ads at the same moment as anyone else).

"They’ve created an imaginary line to justify measuring the two categories separately and differently," Lane writes. "Supposedly, because 'one to many' audiences are all exposed to the message simultaneously while 'one to one' listeners are exposed to the message during their unique sessions, the data is different and cannot be assimilated."

RAIN senior editor and AccuRadio founder Kurt Hanson dismantles the argument by using an example of an ad campaign spread across various broadcast stations during a designated hour and day -- naturally, the ad won't play at the exact same moment on all stations. Lane herself uses the example of network radio programs, which can run on hundreds of stations at various times.

But it's really not about logic, it's about Arbitron bending to pressure from their broadcast clients. 

"As a research firm, (Arbitron is) obligated to create products that are fair and objective," she writes. "The listening landscape is rapidly evolving into a space that includes new audio platforms. Ultimately, advertisers and listeners will decide the landscape – listeners will listen to what they want to hear and advertisers will spend to reach them." By refusing to compare broadcast and webcast audiences based on meaningless distinctions like "one-to-many vs. one-to-one" messaging, these research firms do themselves, ad buyers, and ultimately radio a disservice by not providing the best and most accurate product they can.

Jennifer Lane's Audio4Cast blog on this topic is here.

12/22: B'dcast radio war on Pandora escalates as Katz360 drops webcaster

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Katz360, the Clear Channel-owned online ad sales network, has dropped Pandora as a client. Katz360 will no longer sell ads for the webcaster after two years of doing so (read more here). 

This hubbub has its roots in some broadcasters' outspoken criticism of Pandora as "not real radio," etc. The flames were fanned beginning in July (here) when Pandora and Edison Research began issuing audience measurements in top local U.S. markets that were naturally compared to broadcast radio numbers (see also here and most recently here). Pandora founder Tim Westergren himself called for a "universal metric" to measure listening across various platforms (here), a bill which Arbitron's announced Total Audience Measurement would seem to fit. But broadcasters howled (here) that such a product would allow Pandora and Internet radio to "siphon off radio ad dollars," and threatened to withhold their own server data. Arbitron, now forced by its clients to play both sides, issued a statement (here) critical of Edison's/Pandora's reports.

Heading into 2012, this will certainly be a huge story to follow for Internet radio, as well as broadcast.

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