Triton Digital releases April Internet radio ratings

Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 12:05pm

Industry leading webcaster Pandora saw its April Average Active Sessions (the online radio equivalent of Average Quarter Hour) fall 7% March to April, in the first full month of its 40-hour/month cap on free mobile listening. Meanwhile, most of the top streaming broadcast groups saw double-digit AAS growth in April.

Triton Digital's Webcast Metrics Top 20 rankers for April were released yesterday.

While Pandora's listening was down a bit, broadcast groups like Clear Channel, Cumulus, and CBS Radio all enjoyed 11%-13% AAS bumps in April. Clear Channel (which has the iHeartRadio online radio platform) is up 42% over the past twelve months, and up 21% in 2013 alone. Only Cox among the top broadcast streamers was down in April, 12%. While Cox's AAS is down 10% so far this year, it's still grown 21% since April 2012. Note that Cox recently sold several clusters in markets like Birmingham, Richmond, south Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisville, and Greenville -- and this ratings period reflects the loss of that listening.

Internet radio pureplay Slacker continues its streak, up another 11% in April (and 40% in 2013). And the online-only webcaster idobi, which seemingly came out of nowhere in November to join the ranks of the top pureplays in Webcast Metrics, also got a 10% AAS bump in April.

These numbers, by the way, all come from the 6a-12a, Monday through Sunday "Domestic" ranking (see the chart below). A former top pureplay in that ranking, Digitally Imported, is now the top pureplay and second only to Clear Channel on the "All Streams" ranker (which takes non-U.S. listening into account). (Note that Pandora is not a part of this ranking.)

Pandora instituted its listening cap to temper its sound recording royalty expenditure. Since advertisers aren't paying as much for mobile ad impressions, the webcaster monetizes ad-supported mobile listening at a significantly lower rate than on desktop computers. Listeners who hit the cap can pay 99-cents to listen for the rest of the month, or purchase the Pandora One subscription to listen commercial-free (about $36 a year).

Apparently, a good number of listeners are doing exactly this. Pandora added more than 700-thousand new subscribers to its Pandora One service in its first quarter this year, up 114% to more than two-and-a-half million (and more net new subscribers in the quarter than in all of fiscal 2013) (see RAIN here). Pandora now also has the top-grossing "non-game" app in Apple's App Store (more here).

You can see Triton Digital's full April 2013 Webcast Metrics Top 20 rankers here. RAIN's coverage of the March 2013 ratings is 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.

EMF, ESPN, Cumulus post gains in Triton's August Webcast Metrics ratings

Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 10:55am

Like the melting of the snow, the falling of the leaves, and "lambs and lions coming and going," Internet radio listening tends to slip in the warm weather months every year (see last month's ratings coverage here), and just as quickly start ramping back up as we near fall and then the holidays.

We'll likely see this trend soften as mobile and in-car become more typical listening methods, but even the mature broadcast radio medium generally sees its listeners looking to disconnect a little bit when on vacation or enjoying the outdoors.

Most every broadcaster and webcaster saw AAS (Average Active Sessions) improve in the just-released August Internet Audio Top 20 from Triton Digital. Non-commercial Christian broadcaster EMF's AAS grew 17% over July, while ESPN went up 13%, and Cumulus stations collectively added about four-thousand active sessions (in the Domestic Ranker, M-Su 6a-12M).

The rankings themselves remained mostly static. Pandora remains the monster of the industry, with an August AAS (1,282,444 U.S. only, M-Su 6a-12M) seven times that of the nearest competitor, Clear Channel (183,452). Pandora added 68-thousand average sessions over last month; its AAS is up 89% so far in 2012.

The distant-yet-solid second-place Clear Channel has actually more than doubled its AAS over the past 12 months (up 122%). We'll be looking for a bump following this weekend's iHeartRadio Music Festival in next month's report.

For months now, battling it out over slots 3, 4, and 5 have been Cumulus, CBS Radio, and Internet-only webcast service Slacker. (For perspective, the 46-48-thousand AAS each pulled in August is merely a quarter of Clear Channel's online figure.) Cumulus' (including the former Citadel stations) strong month was powered, it seems, by a remarkable 1.13 average time-spent-listening. That gave it the #3 slot over CBS and Slacker for the first time.

(The chart above shows the growth of Pandora, CBS, Clear Channel, the top 5 terrestrial radio groups and Slacker from September 2009 through August 2012. Note that Pandora's AAS numbers from December 2010 through mid-August 2011 were affected by the omission of tracking code in some of its mobile apps. Click to view in full size.)

The Triton Digital Webcast Metrics Top 20 Domestic M-Su 6a-12M ranking is below. Find out more from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics report here (PDF) and find our coverage of July 2012’s ratings here.

Revamped iHeartRadio site includes tweaked player, hopes to make it easier for users to find their stations

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 9:00am

The new iHeartRadio designClear Channel has redesigned its web radio platform iHeartRadio as it adds hundreds of new station streams from Greater Media and (soon) Cumulus. The redesign aims to help users start listening to their station streams faster and make iHeartRadio's offerings clearer. (Find RAIN's coverage of iHeartRadio's redesign announcement last week here).

For example, the previous site's five navigation options have been simplified into just "Find" and "Create." Indeed, the site as a whole seems to divide itself into those two clear categories. The former refers to the service's AM/FM streams, with "Top Stations Near You," "Featured Stations" and the option to browse by genre or search for stations. "Create" of course refers to iHeartRadio's artist- and song-based Custom Radio stations. Clear Channel says the AM/FM streams make up the majority of listening on iHeartRadio.

The new iHeartRadio homepage also features a selection of the user's previously-listened-to stations, helping move the listener to his or her favorite stations as quickly as possible. The player has been redesigned to be more compact, while the "Discovery Tuner" now lists a sampling of the artists the user will hear with each setting ("Familiar," "mixed" and "less familiar").

The site also now includes streams from Greater Media's 22 stations, with an addition 570 stations from Cumulus Media to be added "in a series of batches" soon, Inside Radio reports. Greater Media announced it would add its streams to iHeartRadio in January (RAIN coverage here), while Cumulus announced the same in December (more here).

Clear Channel says iHeartRadio should display station streams to users "based on their Arbitron cume rank, regardless of station ownership," writes Inside Radio. "That means a user accessing the digital radio platform from Philadelphia will see Greater Media’s classic rock WMGK (102.9) and active rock WMMR (93.3) displayed under the 'Stations Near Philadelphia' banner, alongside Clear Channel O&Os like CHR 'Q102' WIOQ and alternative 'Radio 104.5' WRFF." iHeartRadio also includes station streams from Univision, EMF, various college stations and, of course, Clear Channel.

Clear Channel may be hoping to add streams from other broadcast groups as well. "We're certainly open to other discussions with other partners," said Clear Channel president of Digital Brian Lakamp. Inside Radio reports that Clear Channel may have even "softened" on its requirement that partners offer their streams exclusively via iHeartRadio. Lakamp says exclusivity is "not a requirement."

That requirement worried some broadcasters, while analysts pondered if such a deal would be damaging to the partner (RAIN coverage here and here). "Content creators should work with every distribution platform they can to give listeners access in as many ways as they want it," wrote Jennifer Lane in Audio4Cast.

You can try the new iHeartRadio design for yourself here and subscribe to Inside Radio here.

Cumulus migrating station websites to Triton before offering streams on iHeartRadio

Monday, May 14, 2012 - 11:35am

CumulusOver the next four to six weeks, Cumulus plans to migrate management of the web services for its 500+ radio stations to Triton Digital's platform. Triton Digital's suite of tools includes streaming delivery (via its StreamTheWorld), audience measurement (Webcast Metrics), ad-insertion, and design of custom media players.

The move is a necessary step before bringing Cumulus' streams into Clear Channel's iHeartRadio directory, said CEO Lew Dickey.

"Dickey said a standard platform was needed before the stations could all be launched on iHeart," writes Radio Online, "which is why there's been a delay in getting them on the Clear Channel app."

Cumulus annouced its partnership with Clear Channel and iHeartRadio in early December 2011 (RAIN coverage here).

You can find more coverage from Radio World here and Radio Ink here.

Marketron Mobile counts 1,950 affiliates for mobile programming platform and ad service

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 11:35am

Marketron has announced that its mobile programming platform and ad service Marketron Mobile is now licensed by 1,950 radio stations, driven by the addition of more than 1,200 new stations in the last year alone. Marketron counts among its radio clients Cumulus Media, ESPN, Radio One, and the Beasley Broadcast Group.

Marketron Mobile runs more than 18-thousand ad campaigns a month, with ad clients like Harley Davidson, Heineken, and Microsoft.

Gary Rozynek, CEO of Maverick Media, commented, "Using Marketron Mobile we have been able to extend mobile from a programming tool to a new revenue generation tool that has accelerated our digital revenue growth."

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