RAIN Analysis: Kassof neatly answers "Is Pandora radio?" question. Answer: "It doesn't matter"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 12:05pm

PandoraMedia researcher Mark Kassof today published results of a recent survey he took of adult (18-64) Pandora listeners. In a nutshell, he asked these listeners to score various music experiences on a "1-to-5" scale on how similar or different they were from Pandora (these included Clear Channel's iHeartRadio Internet radio service, the on-demand Spotify service, SiriusXM satellite radio, iPod/mp3 listening, FM radio, compact discs, and YouTube).

Of the nearly 1,200 Pandora listeners in the survey, 95% of them had an opinion when it came to Pandora vs. FM radio. Of that group, nearly half (49%) scored the difference as a "1" or a "2" (a "1" means "totally different").

So, we're at about 548 Pandora listeners now -- all of whom perceive a significant difference between Pandora and FM radio. Kasof asked them, "In what way or ways is FM radio different than Pandora?" By far, the most popular responses (besides "Other" which Kasof said was 30%) were "Not as much choice in listening" (31%) and "More/too many commercials" (26%). No other response scored higher than 8%, most were about 4%.

So, Pandora listeners say the significant differences between the service and FM is "choice" (select genre, choose artists, skip songs, etc.) and spot load. Surprise, right? Naturally, these differences -- perceived as negative -- made a majority of these Pandora listeners regard FM radio as "worse to listen to" than Pandora. Again, no big surprise. (Actually, only 76% said these differences made FM radio worse... 11% said these differences made FM radio better! Wha?)

Nevertheless, most of FM’s differences are clearly negative for these Pandora listeners (we are talking to Pandora listeners, after all).

Here we want to point to Kassof's conclusion:

"They think FM is either totally different or very different. They represent nearly half of Pandora listeners. They overwhelmingly think Pandora is better.

"So, Pandora may not be radio, but that doesn’t make it any less of a challenge to radio. "The question is: How does radio meet this challenge?"

So there it is. Call Pandora "radio," call it a "soulless celestial jukebox/playlist generator," call it a "ham sandwich." It doesn't matter. If it's a rival station, a new online service, or a small white rectangle in your pocket that radio is now competing against for listeners, radio needs to address it. Listeners certainly aren't concerned whether Pandora is "radio" or not.

Read Mark Kassof's blog post here.

UK net radio device maker Roth adds colors to its K Radio line

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 11:25am

This sure caught our eye!

It's the Roth K Radio, with an FM receiver, Internet radio tuning (through wifi or ethernet), DAB (digital radio), and an iPhone dock.

The Roth K Radio isn't new, and it isn't even available in the U.S. But they just rolled out this new line of colors for the unit, and we couldn't resist adding this picture to today's issue.

Maybe the next time we're in the UK, we'll snag one!

See more on the Roth K here.

News from CES: Clear Channel opens iHeart API; FM on Blackberry; NPR on Ford's AppLink; and new partners for Pandora, Slacker

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 9:00am

Here's more news from the Consumer Electronics Show happening now in Las Vegas:

Clear Channel Radio is making available its iHeartRadio API (application programming interface). The Developer Program will enable anyone to develop web pages and applications that integrate iHeartRadio content and services. The iHeartRadio API includes access to live broadcast and digital-only stations, the Custom Stations feature, and social media integration. Developers can learn more about the Developer Program here.

Blackberry maker Research In Motion will add FM radio capability to two current BlackBerry models, the Curve 9360 or 9380. Owners simply need to download a new app to be able to tune to local FM.

Ford has added voice-control of NPR's mobile app to its Sync AppLink. Listeners will be able to create playlists of stories and programs to listen to later, or select from topics and then call them up via voice command.

Pandora announced new partnerships in the automotive sector with Acura, Kia, and Audiovox; plus another partner for in-home entertainment, satellite television provider Dish Network. Pandora says its service is now available on more than 450 consumer electronic devices, and they have partnerships with 16 automotive OEM brands and 7 aftermarket manufacturers.

Net radio provider Slacker announced content partnerships with American Public Media and The Weather Channel. Slacker will now offer programs from APM like "Marketplace" and "The Current," as well as customizable weater forecasts and updates.

Broadcast execs fear direct comparison with pureplays, but agencies clamoring for such a service

Monday, December 19, 2011 - 11:00am

ArbitronInside Radio reported earlier in December that some broadcasters feared Arbitron's coming all-in-one measurement service would "siphon off radio ad dollars" to pureplay online radio sites like Pandora (RAIN coverage here).

Now more broadcast radio executives are speaking out against an "apples-to-apples comparison" between pureplay webcasters and AM/FM radio, but agencies are reportedly clamoring for such a service.

Cumlus Media COO John Dickey worries Arbitron’s coming service will give Pandora Arbitron's "good housekeeping stamp of approval." Hubbard Radio EVP/COO Drew Horowitz reportedly said: "Taking a totally different business model and saying it’s the same as our model would be a very frightening approach." 

Arbitron EVP/COO Sean Creamer acknowledged broadcasters' fears, stating that “there is a level of concern on the part of over-the-air broadcasters about this increasing the threat to their pot of money from the pureplays and how they will fit into the service offerings.”

Meanwhile, "both buyers and sellers say universal audio measurement is needed to drive more dollars into the streaming audio marketplace," reports Inside Radio.

Inside Radio

Fraser's Vivian Silverman says an all-in-one ratings platform would help "explain to a client in simple terms how they work together or how one might be more efficient for them in one of their buys." Former TargetSpot chief revenue officer Andy Lipset argued "It would be a game-changer in how media buyers and planners look at streaming."

“Not having [a cross-platform measurement] will hold us back from embracing some of the steaming elements on any large scale," said Maribeth Papuga, Mediavest EVP and director of local investment and activation.

But Inside Radio reports that broadcasters' fears may delay Arbitron's Total Audience Measurement service from launching, as it relies on server-side log files from broadcasters.

"We’d be hard pressed to provide" Arbitron with the necessary data for Total Audience Measurement, Dickey reportedly said. "We’re very skeptical."

Arbitron's Total Audience Measurement service would combine radio's over-the-air, web and mobile listening, with the addition of listening from pureplay webcasters (RAIN coverage here and here). It is unclear when the service will launch; Arbitron has previously stated the service will launch in 2012, but now reportedly says it "isn’t able to say whether its web ratings will go live in 2012."

Currently, the sole ratings service for the U.S. Internet radio industry is Triton Digital Media’s Webcast Metrics (formerly known as Ando Media).

You can subscribe to Inside Radio here.

Triton Digital: Music stations absent from AM/FM streams' September Top 10

Monday, November 28, 2011 - 11:15am

Triton Digital's Top 10 AM/FM station streams for September 2011According to Triton Digital, news/talk and sports AM/FM stations dominated other formats of online radio simulcasts in September. "Not a single [broadcast] music station was among the top ten most popular individual station streams in September [Domestic streams, Mon-Fri, 6am-8pm], according to Triton Digital data," writes Inside Radio.

The top ten list (at right) includes stations like New York's "The Fan" WFAN, WEEI in Boston and Chicago's WBEZ. Why no music stations in the list? Inside Radio says that broadcasters are pointing to competition from webcasters that let users customize the music they hear.

Spoken word stations, however, offer unique content and a "high level of engagement," said Entercom VP Tim Murphy. “People are starting to realize that this is about the brand, not internet radio,” he said. “Strong brands with great content are consumed voraciously by their fans in any way they can get it.”

The popularity of the news/talk format online has attracted advertisers, writes Inside Radio. For example, Cox Media Group's WSB "gets one of every three ad dollars spent on digital radio in Atlanta, according to Miller Kaplan data. That’s considerably higher than its share of on-air spot revenue...about 25% of WSB's digital revenue comes from in-stream audio ads."

You can read more by subscribing to the Inside Radio newsletter here.

Oasis Radio Group launches as user-controlled Internet and FM station

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 11:00am powered by Listener Driven RadioOasis Radio Group has launched an FM station in Ft. Wayne completely controlled by online users. Dubbed, the hip-hop station is powered by Listener Driven Radio and lets web users vote for what music should be played on-air at 106.3 FM.

"With one click, our users decide what song plays next, what stories and videos matter the most, and what contest is going to be held on-air and online," said Oasis Radio Group GM/Director of Programming Phil Becker. Find online here.

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