Krasinski-led startup raises $3.7m in funding, brings on Nielsen, Arbitron vet as Chief Research Officer

Friday, June 15, 2012 - 12:40pm

UmbelUmbel -- the new Austin-based analytics startup with former Ando Media and Arbitron exec Paul Krasinski at the helm -- is making headlines with new hires and millions of dollars in new funding.

This week Umbel hired Dr. Thomas Evans as Chief Research Officer. He previously served at Nielsen, Arbitron, ESPN, Westwood One and ABC. In May it brought Starcom veteran Amy Bickers on board as Director of Agency Solutions. And in April, former Ando Media and Arbitron executive Paul Krasinski was appointed CEO.

Meanwhile, the company has raised $3.7 million in Series A funding, which included an undiscolsed amount from the Knight Enterprise Fund. "Traditional publishers have a hard time identifying what it is the audience is responding to in their content,” Ben Wirz, director of business consulting for the Knight Foundation said. “Umbel brings scalable ways of doing that.”

So what exactly does Umbel do? What sets it apart from other measurement services?

The Nieman Lab explains that Umbel is "trying to develop a kit publishers can use to extract a richer set of data about their audiences...with information gathered through social media profiles and other online behaviors." The company aims to "triangulate all the signals we leave around the Internet to try to create a unified picture."

So, "if a reader [or, say, listener] on your site spends their time at Starbucks and talks a lot about their Subaru on other networks, Umbel can gather that information." It can also reportedly show what content users prefer, which could help a service "better tailor its content" for its audience.

"It’s as if we’re conducting a real-time survey of the audience without actually asking them questions,” said Umbel CTO Higinio "H.O." Maycotte.

Paul Krasinski

"I think really our core value proposition is to enable publishers to take value of their inventory and give them data that is more precise," said Krasinski (pictured left).

"With the data provided by Umbel," comments the Nieman Lab, "a publisher has more nuanced information to take directly to advertisers." The data could also or provide "ammunition" to raise CPMs.

The company's service is currently in private beta, but it's already working with brands like Boston Bruins, Streetwise Media and Austin City Limits.

You can find Umbel's website here. For more information, find the Nieman Lab's article here and Radio-Info's coverage here.

Top 20 webcasters' audience up 79% year-over-year, shows Triton Webcast Metrics

Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 12:10pm

Triton Digital rankings for September 2009 through April 2012

Web radio leaders Pandora and Clear Channel continued their growth in April,according to Triton Digital's newly-released April Webcast Metrics.

Their increases helped push the overall AAS (Average Active Sessions, essentially equivalent to AQH) of the Top 20 webcasters to nearly 1.7 million in the Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m daypart. That's a gain of 79% year-over-year. Almost all of that growth is thanks to Pandora and Clear Channel, both of which have grown more than 100% year-over-year (Pandora AAS up more than 675,000, Clear Channel up nearly 90,000).

Pandora grew 4% month-to-month (an increase of more than 48,000), reaching an AAS of nearly 1.2 million. The webcaster is up 131% year-over-year and up 18% since January 2012.
The #2-ranked Clear Channel reached an AAS of 171,803 in April, up 2% month-to-month. It has grown 108% year-over-year. 
The largest month-to-month percentage growth came from #4-ranked Slacker, with an increase of 19% over March to reach an AAS of 47,480. That's more or less a recovery to where Slacker stood in January. The webcaster is up 59% year-over-year.
Other relatively strong growth came from Hubbard (up 10% to reach a new record-high AAS of 5,219) and Univision (up 6%). Most other broadcasters were flat or declined slightly (including the #3-ranked CBS Radio, down 1%).
(The chart above shows the growth of Pandora, CBS, Clear Channel, the top 5 terrestrial radio groups and Slacker from September 2009 through April 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.)

You can find the Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m ranking below. Find out more from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics report here (PDF) and find our coverage of March 2012’s ratings here.

Triton Digital Domestic Ranker for April 2012

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.

You can subscribe for Inside Radio's daily newsletter here.

Pandora "the largest adult 18-49 radio network in the U.S." in March

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 11:05am

Triton Digital will measure Pandora's national and local audience using the more-traditional AQH and cume metrics as part of their new MRC-accredited Triton Webcast Metrics Local report, the companies announced in a joint press release this morning. Triton also released local Pandora audience ratings for March 2012.

The ratings show Pandora with an AQH rating of 1.0-1.2 for nearly all of the markets among A18-34s. Among A18-49s, the company's rating falls between 0.7 and 0.9. Pandora's cume ratings range between 22 and nearly 29 among A18-34s (the top market being San Francisco with a cume rating of 28.7), while among A18-49s the cume rating falls between 15 and nearly 21.

In a typical major market Arbitron report, in a demo like A18-34, the top-rated broadcast station might have about a 0.7 AQH rating (which would equate to about a 9.0 share in the demo).

Triton Digital's metrics for Pandora in March 2012

Pandora writes in its press release: "The national results for March 2012 show that among adults 18-49 Pandora has a weekly cume of 23,874,175, which is equivalent to a cume rating of 17.8 and, when compared to radio networks in Arbitron's March 2012 RADAR 112 report, makes Pandora the largest adult 18-49 radio network in the U.S."

Pandora CRO John Trimble commented, "The new Triton reports are a great step forward for the radio industry and satisfy the growing demand for an apples-to-apples, third-party measurement solution for terrestrial and Internet radio."

You can find the companies' press release here and the March report for Pandora here (PDF).

RAIN ANALYSISTriton's ratings show Pandora continuing its AQH growth among A18-49 from the figures released in December 2011 by Edison Research and Pandora (see the charts below). The ratings suggest that Pandora is the #1 consumer brand of radio in almost every one of the top 10 markets, (in the sense that 'Kiss 109' is a consumer brand but 'Clear Channel' or 'Cumulus' are not).

Pandora's local AQH ratings for 18-34

Pandora's local AQH ratings for 18-49s


Move will allow stations to combine local on-air, online audiences to present to ad buyers, says Triton

Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 12:00pm

Triton Digital said today it intends to present its local market audience measurements using the traditional broadcast radio Average Quarter-Hour metric (AQH).

Stations that subscribe to Triton's new "Local Reports" feature will now get Average Quarter-Hour Rating (AQH Rating) by market alongside Triton's proprietary Average Active Sessions number.

To this point, Triton Digital has relied on the Average Active Sessions (AAS) metric, which, like the more traditional AQH, purports to represent the the number of listeners at an average moment. (Though there are some small methodological differences in how AQH and AAS are calculated, we believe them to be virtually equivalent.)

However, broadcast radio sales forces, media buyers, and advertisers have long relied on the more traditional metrics like AQH (and, for that matter, cumulative or "cume" audience, and Time Spent Listening or "TSL") for advertising buys. A Triton representative told RAIN the company's new format for local market reports "makes it easier for advertisers and media buyers to make apples-to-apples comparisons between online and traditional radio buys." This gives stations "the flexibility to combine their offline and online audience into a credible total audience number while maintaining the ability to position the attributes of either channel independently."

The press release includes this from ad firm Horizon Media SVP Lauren Russo: "Seeing Internet audio in the same terms as traditional radio gives a holistic sense of the audio market, making it easier for buyers to make informed decisions when purchasing ad space. We are excited to see how the ability to provide such a direct comparison will impact advertisers’ views on the value of streaming."

The company has also announced it plans to share measurement data with third parties per customer request. Triton's press release is available online here.

Pandora says it represented nearly 6% of U.S. radio listening in April

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - 11:35am

PandoraPandora's listener hours during April 2012 totaled 1.06 billion, the webcaster announced today. That's up 87% year-over-year and 6% from March 2012.

Pandora released other April stats as well, including that the company calculates that it represented a 5.95% share of all total U.S. radio listening during the month. That's up 3.11% from April 2011, says Pandora. The webcaster's active listener count was 51.9 million at the end of April 2012, an increase of 52% year-over-year and 1.7% from March 2012.

You can find more from Pandora here.

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