RAIN Weekend Perspective

Friday, October 4, 2013 - 10:30am

RAIN’s Weekend Perspective reviews the week's main events, and refreshes your synapses for next week.

The week started with a legislative bang when Rep. Melvin Watt introduced the Free Market Royalty Act in Congress. (Just in time for a general governmental shutdown.) The bill has two main planks: first, to withdraw the terrestrial radio exemption from paying artist and label royalties, and second, to remove the government from its traditional role as arbiter of royalty rates. RAIN interviewed attorney and consultant David Oxenford. Today, Oxenford posts a comprehensive analysis of the bill on his Broadcast Law Blog.


On the metrics front, important measurements arrived from Triton Digital and Pandora.

Triton’s Top-20 Web Metrics Ranker for August revealed broad, if incremental, webcast gains across broadcast streams and pureplays measured in the report.

Meanwhile, Pandora (which is included in the Triton report) released its own monthly Audience Metrics report for September, announcing substantial year-over-year gains in active listeners, listening hours, and share of all U.S. radio listening. Small month-over-month gains were reported as well. September was the first month in which Pandora and iTunes Radio operated concurrently, a competition undergoing much scrutiny. The results of that half-month of activity bolsters Pandora’s claim that Apple’s new service does not pose a dangerous threat to Pandora’s audience growth or retention. But, of course, it’s early days.


A few business development scenarios enlivened the week. First, and most significantly, Rdio augmented its service model by introducing free, unlimited Internet radio-style streaming to its mobile apps, which previous allowed only a 14-day trial before asking customers to subscribe for ongoing listening. The new feature, called Stations, is ad-supported, thanks to Cumulus Radio repping Rdio’s inventory as part of the recently completed deal between the two companies. Rdio and Cumulus wasted no time putting their alliance into action. 

Songza linked arms with FourSquare, inviting users of the lean-back streaming service to check in at select FourSquare locations to receive Songza rewards -- including six months of free premium service in some cases.

Clear Channel-owned iHeartRadio moved to flesh out the Talk section of its radio aggregation platform, snagging rights to distribute certain Turner Broadcasting content. The new shows and clips will help balance an already strong ABC presence in iHeart Talk.


Pandora listening back to growth mode after mobile cap, summer slow-down

Friday, September 6, 2013 - 11:35am

Pandora yesterday reported it streamed 1.35 billion listener hours in August. That's a 16% increase from August of last year, and 5.5% higher than July 2013's 1.28 billion.

June ended a brief slide in the webcaster's total listening hours after it capped free mobile listening at 40 hours per month (Pandora announced last week that it is removing the cap.). Internet radio listening in general tends to slow in the warmer months as well. 

Pandora reported 72.1 million "active" listeners by the end of August, from last month's 71.2 million. That's also up 6.3% from August 2012.

Finally, the webcaster's share of total U.S. radio listening was just a shade under 7.5% in August. It reported a 7.08% share last month, and a 6.3% share after August of last year.

Pandora's press release with the figures is here. Our coverage of the July 2013 report 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.

Pandora maintains steady listening growth in December

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 1:45pm

Industry-leading webcaster Pandora this week announced its listening hours, share of total U.S. radio listening, and number of "active listeners" all grew in December.

Pandora reports streaming 1.39 billion hours of content last month. That's up from both November (1.27 billion) and December 2011 (906 million).

This means, says Pandora, that its share of all U.S. radio listening is now 7.19%. The webcaster reported its U.S. radio share as 7.09% in November, and 4.71% for the previous December.

Finally, Pandora's pool of "active listeners" grew to 67.1 million by the end of last month, up from 62.4 million in November and 47.6 million a year earlier.

You can see our coverage of Pandora's November 2012 listening here.

Pandora reveals October listening metrics

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 1:35pm

The leading webcaster, which regularly reports its own audience measurements, says its share of total U.S. radio listening reached 6.75% in October. That figure had fallen to 6.55% by the end of the month following Hurricane Sandy, according to Pandora.

Pandora also reported streaming 1.25 billion hours of content during the month, up from both September (1.15 billion hours) (keep in mind September has one fewer day) and October 2011 (754 million). The service claims 59.2 million "active listeners" now. It had 58.3 million a month earlier, and 40.3 million a year ago.

Arbitron says long-awaited integrated ratings service is "still in the works"

Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 6:45pm

Arbitron's long-awaited cross-platform ratings service (more here) is "still in the works," according to company EVP/COO Sean Creamer on the Arbitron Q3 conference call yesterday. "It's not a question of if, but when, we launch this service."

Creamer said, "the goal is an integrated service so (radio) stations get total credit" for listening, regardless of the platform on which it happens. FMQB reports that for Internet-delivered radio content, the Arbitron service "would use online logs to measure Internet radio listenership and include all types of Web radio, from terrestrial stations' streams to services such as Pandora."

As we reported last month (here), Arbtitron announced an arrangement with comScore and ESPN to measure the sports network's audience for audio, video, and display content across radio, television, the web, and mobile platforms. Mediapost quotes Creamer saying on yesterday's conference call, "This (ESPN) project underscores radio’s importance and relevance in a cross-platform world."

Read more from FMBQ here and Mediapost here.

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