Pandora listening down after capping mobile, huge March for Slacker, in latest Net radio ratings

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 1:00pm

With its March Webcast Metrics online radio listening ranking, Triton Digital included the news that mobile listening to its panel stations now accounts for 56% of all its measured listening (M-Su 6a-12M, U.S.-only), crossing the 50% threshold for the first time.

Pandora, which accounts for a monster share of Webcast Metrics "domestic" listening, says mobile accounts for somewhere near 75% of its listening. In March, as a way to control royalty costs, the webcaster imposed a 40 hour/month limit on listening to free streams via mobile devices. As a result, Triton says, Pandora's mobile listening dropped 3% in March.

"At first glance, 3% may not seem overly concerning, but we have to take into account the scale of Pandora’s audience," the news release reads. "Did capping Pandora drive a portion of their mobile listeners to other Pureplays, such as Slacker, who saw an 18% gain during the same period? It's possible. Or, perhaps this growth is attributed to the fact that mobile audio consumption was our fastest growing segment in March 2013."

Mobile listening to other pureplay webcasters went up 23% during the month (mobile listening to terrestrial streams grew 5%).

Slacker's 18% gain in mobile listening was part of a great month for the second-largest pureplay webcaster. Its combined M-Su 6a-12M domestic Average Active Sessions (AAS) was up 23% over last month. Slacker AAS is up 49% from March 2012.

While Pandora did slip 4% overall from February, its AAS is still 39% more than 12 months ago.

Among broadcast streamers, Univision had a strong March (up 22%), as did the NPR Member Stations group (up 16%).

Triton Digital's March Domestic Ranker (M-Su 6a-12M) is below. You can find the full March 2013 report here. Our coverage of the February 2013 rankings is here.

Triton Digital is a sponsor of our upcoming RAIN Summit Europe event, May 23 at Hotel Bloom in Brussels. CCO and general manager of data and measurement Rob Favre and SVP and general manager of international markets Jay Supovitz will participate in panel discussions. Info and registration links are on the RAIN Summit Europe page.

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.

Arbitron issues social media "Do's & Don'ts" memo to help radio avoid distorting ratings

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 1:35pm

In the interest of "protecting the integrity of audience estimates," Arbitron yesterday e-mailed client radio stations a list of "Do's and Don'ts" concerning station communication via social media. And not just on Facebook and Twitter, but also texting, e-mail, and more.

As most radio professional know, Arbitron has strict guidelines regarding messaging that can lead to "ratings distortion," but before now it concerned what was said on-air and in traditional marketing. As the importance of social media has grown, with its ability for one-to-one communication between station staff and listeners, Arbitron is now emphasizing the importance of avoiding ratings bias.

Now, Arbitron reminds clients that "social media comments are subject to the same guidelines as on-air comments. The company instructs radio not to discuss ratings (even ratings success), on social networking sites, as that could prompt diary keepers to reveal themselves.

Arbitron even monitors social media sites daily, both for respondent disclosures and to look for any contact between respondents and stations.

See Arbitron's memo here.

Good news/bad news for broadcast streamers in January Net radio ratings

Friday, March 8, 2013 - 6:10pm

While broadcasters' streaming listening largely rebounded to pre-holiday levels in January, Triton Digital's latest Webcast Metrics data raises an alarm for AM/FM radio: just 20% of its online listening is happening on mobile devices.

The January online radio rankings report was released yesterday, and Triton Digital prefaced the rankings by revealing that those who listen to broadcast radio streams listen on desktop computers 80% of the time. While mobile streaming of terrestrial radio programming was indeed up 18% in January, that should give broadcasters pause.

It's generally perceived that the bulk of Internet radio's growth is on mobile devices. Already, pureplay Net radio listeners use mobile devices 70% of the time, and the mobile compenent of Pandora's listening is well over 75% by now. If mobile streaming is where radio listening is headed, broadcasters need to get in the game. 

[Then again, if you want to listen to a local station, in most cases, it's just as easy to flip on the radio... especially if you're in the car.]

Looking at the rankings, January brought significant returns for many AM/FM streams after listening fell off during the holidays (Trition Digital reminds the reader while both December and January were 31 days long, January had two additional weekdays, but December had an extra weekend).

ESPN Radio came roaring back 44% in January, for what looks to be its best month of online listening ever (one might credit the end of NFL season and the Superbowl for that). Cox was also up to pre-holiday form (up 31% over December), Cumulus was up 20%, and even CBS was up 18%. NPR Member stations were up 36%, but as always, that may reflect bringing new streams into the group.

While up just slightly since December, Pandora's year-over-year listening is up an impressive 53%.

See Triton Digital's January 2013 Online Audio Top 20 Ranker here.

Nielsen to add online viewing to TV ratings

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 12:00pm

Nielsen says it will expand its definition of "TV" and begin measuring television audiences by including viewing via the Internet.

The ratings company reportedly hopes to measure viewership of streaming content in 23-thousand TV households by next fall, plus video viewing on the iPad by the end of the year.

Read more in Wired here.

Digital radio now a third of all UK listening

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 1:30pm

According to new ratings figures, digital radio (broadcast DAB) in the UK now accounts for a third of all listening. That's 14% growth from last year, the BBC reports, "helped by better access to DAB receivers."

All digital stations saw their weekly audiences grow year-on-year, despite several stations losing listening in the last quarter of 2012. Digital Radio UK CEO Ford Ennals said, "Digital radio continues to transform the way people listen to the radio and one third of all listening to digital platforms represents an important milestone."

Figures from ratings service RAJAR show BBC 6 Music has overtaken Radio 4 Extra to become the leading digital-only station, now with 1.9 million listeners a week, 31% more than last year. Smash Hits is the largest commercial digital station, reaching nearly a million listeners. Smooth 70s hits more than 700-thousand.

Read more from the BBC here.

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