Arbitron reportedly to relax rules for online "simulcast" streams

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 11:50am

Arbitron will reportedly relax some of its terms under which a broadcaster's online stream can be considered a "simulcast."

Until now, Arbitron would consider a station's stream a "simulcast" only if it were 100% identical to the on-air broadcast -- content, ads, everything needed to be the same (and aired at the same time) on the stream as was aired on AM or FM. This means a station stream that substitutes on-air commercials with "online-only" ads, public service messages, promos, or other content, in the stream is not a "simulcast" -- and thus its streaming audience cannot be combined with its on-air audience for ratings purposes.

Beginning in May, the ratings company will allow a "simulcast" broadcast to substitute ads to streaming listeners outside the station's metro area with different ads from the same advertiser. All other content outside of commercials must remain 100% identical.

This change allows stations to "fulfill an advertiser's request that locally advertised specials not be heard outside the local market yet still qualify to receive Total Line Reporting," Inside Radio reports today. Radio can add its digital listening towards its total audience numbers, as well as sell combined on-air/online ad campaigns even for advertisers who want to restrict specific messaging to within the metro.

Inside Radio writes that some broadcasters say McDonald's and Subway directed stations to remove certain spots from their streams for this very reason.

Paragon consultant Mike Henry wrote of many mid- and smaller-sized broadcasters moving towards fully-simulcasting (that is, not changing ads for streaming) because of its inherent advantages. He blogged, "This shift is interesting because it pits the streaming strategy of major groups such as CBS and Clear Channel in one camp, and the mid-sized and smaller groups in another camp. The majors are apparently betting on a streaming sales future, while the other groups are retrenching behind towers and their broadcast sales."

Read more in today's Inside Radio (subscribe here) and from Paragon here.

It's undeniable radio is losing listening to Pandora, Edison's Rosin says

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 12:20pm

The San Antonio News Express, paraphrasing Edison Research president Larry Rosin, says streaming radio to moblie phones is "the biggest challenge to commercial radio that the technological revolution has wrought."

The paper also spoke to Paragon Media senior research consultant Larry Johnson, who explained that while traditional radio's reach has held steady over the last ten years, "time spend listening" has consistently fallen by about 15 minutes per year for the last 20 years.

Rosin, whose company partnered with Pandora in 2011 to measure the webcaster's listening in local markets (here), said, "(Pandora) is clearly stealing time from commercial radio music stations, primarily among people under 35 years old."

Of course, major broadcasters also offer streaming services, which they say complement -- not cannibalize -- traditional radio listening. But as Rosin points out, "Pandora is more than two-thirds of all Internet radio all by itself." In other words, broadcasters' complementary digital listening can't itself account for terrestrial's TSL drop.

For more on this topic, see our article "Radio faces falling TSL, but how much is due to digital competition?" in RAIN here.

Read more at here.

Radio simulcasts streams slowly breaking into PPM ratings

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 12:35pm

Paragon Media's Larry Johnson blogged this week about Internet streams of broadcast radio stations increasingly appearing in Arbitron PPM ratings.

To be listed in the PPM ratings report, a  "station or combo must have received at least one quarter-hour of listening credit from at least one In-Tab panelist and a Metro Cume rating of 0.495 or greater."

It's that second part, the cume rating, that's the greatest challenge for Internet streams being listed, he says. Paragon did an analysis of October ratings in four PPM markets, and found 18 station streams with enough listening to register in PPM. "However, only 22% of those listed stations posted 6+ Shares in October 2011 (Persons 6+ Monday-Sunday 6a-Midnight)." Obviously, any stream that made it in the listing had some listening. But the measurements are subject to rounding error, and those small audiences rounded down to zero.

"It would be great if all Internet, time-shifted archives/podcasts, mobile, and satellite radio were coded and accessible in the local market reports so we could get a comprehensive view of the audio listening landscape," Johnson wrote. "Now that the listing hurdle has been cleared, look for your station’s Internet stream to be an even more important part of your ratings profile."

Read the Paragon Media blog here.

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