Audio Graphics

Audio Graphics' Dardis offers "more meaningful" derived metric for online radio listening

Monday, June 17, 2013 - 12:05pm

Ken Dardis in Audio Graphics has introduced a new metric derived from Triton Digital's monthly Webcast Metrics numbers for Internet radio, which he says is a far more meaningful measure of audience changes than simply looking at "Average Active Sessions" or "Session Starts" alone.

He says looking at the "Percentage of Average Active Sessions Resulting from Stream Starts" is the best way to actually gauge the growth of an online radio audience.

The new metric came out of Dardis' contention that simply looking at "Average Active Sessions" doesn't take into account changes in Triton's panel of monitored webcasters, or changes within those webcasters themselves. Not only may Triton add or drop webcasters from those it monitors, but each broadcast group or webcaster may add or drop streams or channels available to listeners. Likewise, "Session Starts," according to Dardis, doesn't accurately differentiate between listeners tuning in and staying, and those who merely sample for a few moments then leave.

The key to really getting a sense of a webcaster's audience changes over time is his when Average Active Sessions (AAS) is expressed as a percentage of Session Starts (SS). When that derived figure increases, "people are hanging in there longer - and this figure has no attachment to whether Triton Digital added or lost client stations," he writes.

Dardis is compiling this statistic for Triton Digital Top 20 webcasters, and makes it available free every month here.

Read his explanation further here and here.

Dardis to webcasters: Digital allows you to continually tweak campaigns. Sell that, not CPM

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 12:15pm

Webcasters (including broadcasters regarding their online streaming) need to rid themselves of the CPM-driven advertising style of broadcast, and instead offer buyers the real-time insight into campaigns' performance that digital technology enables.

That's the point Ken Dardis makes in a recent Audio Graphics blog. He writes, "As long as advertising is sold the same way online as it's sold over-the-air, there is no business model for streaming."

Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey recently told BloombergTV, "We don't see a business model for streaming." Dardis says this is because most broadcasters are looking for "bulk" so they can sell CPM ("cost per thousand") campaigns.

But online radio doesn't have the massive listenership for this style of advertising. What online radio does have is the ability to monitor the effectiveness of campaigns in real time, and tailor messages "on the fly" to maximize effectiveness.

"What Google, MSN's Bing (which now includes Yahoo! Search), and any of the numerous ad serving platforms like Zedo, Adconion, ValueClick, etc, are presenting advertisers with is campaign metrics," Dardis writes. This style of advertising "allows savvy media buyers to dissect the numbers as their clients' needs require to improve campaign response. In many cases this campaign improvement can be done in the middle of the campaign."

Read more from Audio Graphics here.

Saga's elimination of ad-insertion will help costs and quality, say observers, but more needed to compete online

Friday, August 24, 2012 - 12:35pm

SagaEarlier this week, Saga Communications announced it would no longer substitute "online only" content for the on-air ads on its station's Internet streams (RAIN coverage here). Saga EVP Warren Lada said he's not worried about losing streaming inventory because it's really not that profitable compared to other areas.

Radio Ink editor Ed Ryan reports other broadcasters may be leaning in the same direction. He writes (here), "While broadcasters know they need to be everywhere consumers want them to be, losing gobs of money to be there is not something they signed up for... When you tack on the cost of the technology paid out to make ad-insertion a part of a radio station stream, it adds to the financial headache."

And besides the costs, there's the subpar experience for the listener to consider. "Nothing sounds worse than 7 minutes of Public Service Announcements in a row."

Nothing, perhaps, except 7 minutes of ads, argues Angel Street Capital's Bob Maccini. Especially when compared with the offerings from pureplay competitors.

"This movement if successful will sound the death knell for terrestrial stations that are streaming," Maccini writes on the Angel Street Capital blog. "Given the other Internet radio listening options consumers will not choose to listen to a stream that is running 10-14 ad units an hour complete with some 60 second spots... Stopping ad insertion may save a few shekels in the short run but long term it will have more significant costs."

Instead, Maccini suggests (here) "rather than inserting PSAs and other filler content that music stations insert songs."

Audio Graphics' Ken Dardis agrees that just "regurgitating" over-the-air signals online won't work. "Radio's place online is to use what the Internet offers to expand limitations of over-the-air content. NPR does this in a remarkably successful way. So why do we not hear it being done by commercial radio industry groups?"

Online radioHe continues (here), "The radio industry belongs online, just not in the way it presents itself over-the-air."

Jacobs Media's Fred Jacobs appreciates Saga's move in that it should help improve the overall quality of its streams. "Radio streams uniformly sound like crap," he writes. "PSAs, bad music, comedy cuts, crickets, and other interstitial material has made the customer experience on radio streams a nightmare."

But he also argues, like Dardis and Maccini, that radio's digital product shouldn't just be a clone of its over-the-air signal. Web efforts required a dedicated team. "Treat digital revenue as a separate business and hire reps with digital sales experience."

Jacobs continues, "it’s time to realistically assess what’s working and what’s not. Radio needs to come to grips with the fact that in many situations, traditional radio salespeople cannot take on this effort, and that digital selling doesn’t cannibalize the traditional spot sales effort."

You can find more of Jacobs' thoughts on Jacobs Media's jacoBLOG here and here.

Some critics wonder if joining iHeartRadio platform worth pulling streams from other sites

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 11:05am

iHeartRadio's growing networkVarious industry publications and commentators have recently voiced or reported second thoughts about iHeartRadio's role as an aggregator. Specifically, some question the wisdom of going along with Clear Channel's reported exclusivity requirement for joining iHeartRadio.

Clear Channel has recently added hundreds of third-party station streams to iHeartRadio from Greater Media, Cumulus, EMF, Univision, as well as various non-comms and college stations.

Jennifer Lane writes in Audio4Cast that some of these companies "are rumored to have made iHeartRadio their exclusive digital portal." She thinks that's a dangerous move: "Content creators should work with every distribution platform they can to give listeners access in as many ways as they want it." (Find her blog post here.)

That echoes industry journalist Sean Ross, who in late 2011 wrote (more here) "I’m still in favor of station streams being available in as many places as possible," (though with the warning: "aggregation is not curation").

Earlier this month Carleton College "snubbed" an offer from Clear Channel to join iHeartRadio, Radio-Info reported (here). The student station manager said that to join iHeartRadio, the college station "would have to pull its live stream from all other sites" like TuneIn.

Soon after that story broke, an unnamed commercial station executive told Radio-Info's Tom Taylor that his or her station too "had second thoughts about the requirement that we would have to remove our signal from all other Internet services." The executive did not reveal if the station ended up joining iHeartRadio anyway.

Finally, industry commentator Ken Dardis today points to data from Google to argue iHeartRadio isn't as popular, or as easy to find, as you might expect.

"Be careful about getting caught up in hype," he argues (here). "The exclusivity clause offered to new iHeartRadio stations may turn out to be more a shackle for acquiring, than a bridge to exposure."

What do you think? Is going exclusive with iHeartRadio a good idea? Share your opinion by commenting on this article.

STUDY: NEARLY 4 IN 10 MOBILE USERS LISTEN TO NET RADIO ON THEIR MOBILE DEVICE

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - 12:00pm

Nearly 40% of respondents age 18-54 said they listen to Internet radio on a mobile device, according to a new survey of over 1,000 people by Audio Graphics and Borrell Associates. That’s up from 22% in December 2009.

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