Pandora, AccuRadio, Slacker, Clear Channel up, most broadcasters down in December

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 9:00am

Pandra, Clear Channel and Slacker up as CBS continues its declineMost pureplay webcasters enjoyed significant growth over the holiday season, according to Triton Digital's Webcast Metrics for December 2011, while most broadcasters declined month-to-month. The growth is likely somewhat attributable to the influx of holiday listeners.

Pandora yet again extended its dominating lead over others in the Top 20 Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m daypart ranker. Its AAS increased over 88,000 from November, a 10% growth.

Pandora is now close to surpassing an AAS (Average Active Sessions, which is essentially equivalent to AQH — i.e., average simultaneous listeners) of 1 million in the Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m daypart ranker. (Pandora surpassed the 1 million AAS mark in November 2011 in the Domestic Mon-Fri 6am-8pm ranker.)

Pureplay webcaster AccuRadio (brought to by the same folks who write RAIN every day) showed the largest month-to-month rate of growth at 29%.

(The chart above shows the growth of Pandora, CBS, Clear Channel, the top 5 terrestrial radio groups and Slacker from September 2009 through December 2011. 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.)

Slacker grew 7% over November, reaching an AAS of 50,767. That's up 96% from December 2010.

Meanwhile, Clear Channel was one of few broadcasters who grew over November, reaching an AAS of 123,427 (monthly growth of 5%). Other broadcasters dropped from November, some significantly: CBS was down 8%, ESPN Radio 9%, Cumulus 13% and Entercom 24%.

Overall, the combined AAS of pureplay webcasters increased 10% from November to December 2011, while that of broadcasters decreased 4%.

You can find the Domestic and All Streams Mon-Sun 6a-12m rankings below. Find out more from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics report here (PDF) and find our coverage of November 2011’s ratings here.

Triton Digital's Domestic Webcast Metrics December 2011














Triton Digital's All Streams Webcast Metrics for December 2011




















Pandora: AQH rating grew 50-100% in major U.S. markets in 2011, cume up 50-75%

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 11:00am

Pandora's local reach increases

Pandora reached an AQH (Average Quarter Hour) rating of 1.0 or more among adults 18-34 in each top U.S. local radio market during the holiday season in December 2011. That's according to new listener data released by the company as analyzed by Edison Research.

Additionally, the webcaster's weekly cume reached more than 22% in each of the top local radio metro survey areas (again, among 18-34s).
Pandora also released full-year listenership data (as defined as January 6, 2011 to January 4, 2012). This data shows that Pandora's AQH grew 100% in New York over the past year among 18-34 year olds. 
Among both 18-34 year-olds and 18-49 year-olds, Pandora's AQH grew between 50-100% in each top U.S. market over the past year.
Pandora also reports its cume grew about 50-75% in each top U.S. market -- the most growth coming in Dallas/Ft. Worth among 18-34s (75%).
RAIN reported in July that Pandora's 18-34 AQH was then higher than any terrestrial radio station in all of the five largest U.S. radio markets (more here).
You can find Pandora's press release and full listening data here. We have the company's 18-34 AQH ratings chart below.

Pandora AQH ratings (Adults 18-34)
Mon-Sun, 6am-12

City January AQH rating July AQH rating Sept AQH rating Nov AQH rating Holidays AQH rating Full year increase
New York 0.5 0.7 0.7 0.9 1.0 100%
Los Angeles 0.7 0.9 1.0 1.2 1.2 71.4%
Chicago 0.6 0.7 0.8 1.0 1.0 66.6%
San Francisco 0.7 0.9 1.0 1.2 1.2 71.4%
Dallas - Ft. Worth 0.6 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1 83.3%
Houston 0.6 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.0 66.6%
Atlanta 0.5 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 100%
Philadelphia 0.6 0.7 0.8 1.0 1.0 66.6%
Washington D.C. 0.7 0.9 1.0 1.2 1.2 71.4%
Boston 0.6 0.7 0.8 1.0 1.1 83.3%
Portland 0.8 N/A 1.0 1.2 1.2 50%


RAIN Guest essay: Former TargetSpot CRO Lipset on AdWeek: The Song Remains the Same

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 12:25pm

Yesterday in RAIN (here) we covered a recent AdWeek article about pureplay Internet radio's plans to go after traditional radio ad dollars. In a guest column today, TargetSpot co-founder Andy Lipset shares his thoughts on what coverage like this means for ad sales growth.

This week, AdWeek ran an article entitled "Streaming Has A Big Problem—It’s a Huge Success." A headline like this — as well as a coverage in a publication with such influence in the Advertising, Media and Marketing communities — should be construed as a great thing for the business of online radio. I believe, however, many areas of focus in this article — and many similar ones in recent weeks — could actually have a negative impact on the advertising spend that marketers and their agencies designate to online radio.

Both “pureplay” properties such as Pandora, Slacker, and Spotify, as well as the broadcasters such as Clear Channel, CBS, and Cumulus, have a lot at stake in their online radio investments. From Clear Channel’s investment into the buildout and promotion of iHeartRadio to the royalties and costs that Pandora pays to the labels to provide music, there is a significant cost structure involved in the digital radio space. The fact is that both constituencies need to attract significant revenue to their online properties. But in order to do this, there needs to be an adjustment in the way we think about the medium and how it is positioned.

To start, there is a common theme that continues to be weaved in many of these articles: that pure play services should be “separated” from the online streams of their broadcast radio counterparts. Many in the broadcast radio business have said pure play properties “are not radio, and therefore should not be classified as such.”

While they may be technically correct in terms of how a broadcast tower versus an online radio stream works, the reality remains that consumers have changed some of their listening habits. And advertisers, wanting to find those listeners, have redefined the way they can reach them. In the past, when a marketing plan called for a way to reach someone engaged with music content through an audio message, the only way to “get” that listener was to utilize AM and FM stations, then defined as radio. Today, the options for “getting” to those listeners have changed. As such, the advertisers have changed that definition and it is no longer about “radio,” but instead about finding “music consumers,” which encompasses radio, and also many other properties as well. So today, an advertiser may see that the CBS Radio streams and Spotify together are both great ways to reach the music consumer.

When you look at the space like this, the argument for separation of it makes little sense. It would be like the owner of a steakhouse saying that “the Japanese restaurant down the street isn’t really a restaurant because they do not serve prime rib.” The Steakhouse and the Japanese restaurant are still competing for people who want to eat out and they do not have to be mutually exclusive. Sometimes you want a porterhouse, other times you want sushi. The same goes for reaching the music consumer. The pure play properties, which have attributes such as personalization, and the broadcast stations, which have different attributes such as personalities, are not used exclusively by many listeners. In fact, research shows that depending on mood, most listeners will “eat at both restaurants” and at some times seek out broadcast properties, and other times pure play properties.

What concerns me is that by separating this universe, we actually create confusion and lack of clarity about the medium of online radio. We know that when clients are confused, they are likely to stall rather than spend in the medium. For the broadcast streams and pure play properties that are depending on this revenue, this is not how you grow an advertising marketplace.

Further confusion  and potential inertia  can be created when there is a lack of clarity of who buys the medium at the agency level. Does it fall under the traditional or digital buyer at the agency? When I co-founded Ronning Lipset Radio with Eric Ronning in 2004 and later at TargetSpot, online radio was only being bought by the radio community. That has changed in the past year or so, with more digital agencies expressing interest in the medium and purchasing it. It would be hard to argue against a point of view that Pandora and its sales force generated most of the interest from the digital teams, and that broadcast radio has been happy to see the doors opened here. I think we have to acknowledge that in 2012, both sides of the agency have the interest and budgets to utilize the medium should they chose to. Further, sometimes within a single agency, dollar flow into the medium by department will vary client to client.

Having more parties at the agency level showing interest in the medium should not be positioned as an obstacle, but actually as a positive for the medium. It means that budgets have an opportunity to increase from areas that typically haven’t spent in the medium before. It means that broadcast streams can see money from digital agencies. It means pure play properties can see money from the radio marketplace.

The article goes on to say the lack of standardized measurement is a problem in the medium. This is a very accurate statement — especially to tap into budgets that can vary at the agency level case by case. Traditional advertisers for years have been asking for a unified on air/online measurement of broadcast, and one that shows the pure play side by side the streaming audience of those broadcast stations. And despite some quotes in the article, the methodology between digital and broadcast buying is not all that different. One is bought off impressions and CPM; the other is bought off GRPs and CPP. They are all interrelated by simple math.

Having a standardized service that can speak to both sides of the buying community will only send more dollars into the medium. Unfortunately, it now looks like some of the momentum that started earlier this year is not going to happen the way the advertising community may have hoped. So, we will have to wait and see what develops — but ultimately market demand will dictate the right answer.

The bad news is this: when we pioneered the online radio sales space in 2004, there were many articles that sounded much like this one AdWeek ran this week. By doing a simple Google search, you will be pointed to articles around measurement and buying decisions in the medium from 8 years ago (although, I admit that the issue of separating pure play and broadcast is a new one.)

In order for this medium to grow, there cannot be another 8 years of articles like this. The industry — both broadcasters and pure play properties — need to come together and change the paradigm and their thinking. If advertisers continue to see articles about conflicts and obstacles, revenue in the medium is going to come much slower than anyone wants.

Pureplay and broadcast radio streams need to come together, as the advertising marketplace is increasingly looking at this not as radio, but as reaching music consumers. The space needs to recognize that advertising budgets are fluid and sometimes will flow between the radio side of the agency and the digital one. Finally, standardized, credible measurement of all properties, and one that can speak the language of radio and digital together, needs to be created, embraced and executed in the space. These three things will change the advertising flow into the marketplace and medium quickly.

So the challenge is, while the song remains the same today, are we as an industry ready to change our tune?

We appreciate Andy sharing his thoughts with RAIN readers. We invite you to share yours -- please use the feedback form below (you may need to click the "Add a comment" link below). Thanks!

Radio's biggest group drops "Radio" from its name to better reflect multi-platform business

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 12:25pm

Editor's Note: RAIN will return on Tuesday, January 17, 2012.

Clear Channel Radio today announced its immediate name change to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, a move it says "better reflect(s) the evolution of its business... (and) clearly signals its successful expansion into new areas."

"Clear Channel Media and Entertainment represents our evolution as we prove our relationship with our listeners is so much more than just our transmitters and towers," Clear Channel Media and Entertainment CEO John Hogan said in the press release announcing the change. "We will continue to serve our increasingly diverse audiences and local communities... wherever they expect it, while supporting advertisers, strategic partners, music labels and artists with creative, multi-platform marketing opportunities..."

The new moniker covers Clear Channel's 850+ broadcast outlets, but also online (via iHeartRadio and on its stations’ hundreds of websites), HD digital radio, satellite, mobile (smartphones, tablet devices, and in-vehicle entertainment and navigation systems), and live events.

RAIN Analysis: This move is logical, especially if you buy into the notion that radio's future will be as itself a single strategy executed by multi-platform media companies (see TargetSpot's Andy Lipset's guest essay today, or our coverage of Jerry Del Colliano's blog yesterday, here). What's harder to comprehend is how, on one hand, radio's biggest player can so deeply accept its future as a multi-platform venture as to drop the word "Radio" from its name; yet on the other hand, there are those in the broadcast industry maintaining that Pandora and other pureplay webcasters belong in a completely separate sandbox. -- PM

B'casters should welcome combo ratings with pureplays, argues Del Colliano: The advantage is still theirs

Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 9:00am

Radio industry vet Jerry Del Colliano is another voice in the chorus of experts who say broadcasters are making a mistake by trying to force ratings services to segregate their listening estimates from those of "pureplay" Internet radio (catch up on RAIN coverage here, here, and in today's top story here). He suggests broadcasters' thinking should be guided by how radio will need to succeed in the future: by building a brand that goes far beyond a broadcast tower and PPM.  

"Pureplays are here and radio can co-exist with them. Even, distinguish themselves," Del Colliano wrote in his Inside Music Media blog yesterday. "Pureplay stations can’t do local radio and terrestrial stations can... for the stations that are still live and local, bring on the pureplays, radio will continue to perform well."

So, radio broadcasters, why not launch your own pureplay service? Or two? Get into the low-barrier-to-entry game of Internet-only radio, secure in the knowledge that webcasters can meet your ante and easily go and pick up a broadcast frequency or two. "There is no reason why you can’t own radio stations, iPad formats, paid services, video sites and pureplay music stations based on your brands." NPR has built for themselves a brand and a value that goes way beyond simply "radio stations," and local commercial broadcasters need to follow that blueprint, he suggests. "Agencies are screaming for digital... Smart money is on making strategic adjustments in advance so that broadcast stations will be poised to gain an advantage."

Read more and subscribe to Inside Music Media here.

November Webcast Metrics shows growth for pureplays Pandora, Slacker, AccuRadio

Thursday, January 5, 2012 - 8:00am

Tracking webcast ratings from September 2009 through November 2011Pandora yet again showed strong month-to-month growth in November 2011, according to Triton Digital's just-released Webcast Metrics. Other pureplays like Slacker and AccuRadio also saw solid gains over October, as did Clear Channel.

Pandora increased its dominating lead in the Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m daypart ranker, reaching an AAS (Average Active Sessions, which is essentially equivalent to AQH — i.e., average simultaneous listeners) of 893,749. That's up 10% from October 2011.

(The chart at right shows the growth of Pandora, CBS, Clear Channel, the top 5 terrestrial radio groups and Slacker from September 2009 through November 2011. 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.)

Clear Channel, which holds the #2 spot in the Top 20 ranker, also grew 10% from October to reach an AAS of 117,374.

The strongest month-to-month growth in the ranker came from Slacker, however, at 35%. The webcaster reached an AAS of 47,451 (putting it at #5 in the ranker). That growth may be in part due to AOL Radio's migration from CBS Radio to Slacker in late October (RAIN coverage here). CBS Radio's AAS dropped 19% from October to November.

Other strong monthly growth was shown by pureplay AccuRadio (14%) and Univision (11%). 

Overall, the pureplay webcasters in Triton's Domestic Mon-Sun 61-12m ranker grew 11% from October.

The gains in November may be in part due to the increased listening that occurs around the holiday season. Expect to see large monthly growth in the December 2011 metrics.

You can find the Domestic and All Streams Mon-Sun 6a-12m rankings below. Find out more from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics report here (PDF) and find our coverage of October 2011’s ratings here.

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