Ad reps say Pandora Arbitron ratings would be ideal, but buyers "intuitively know the audience is there"

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Issue Date: 
Jun 1 2012 - 11:35am

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Pandora advertisingEarlier this month, Triton Digital (which publishes Internet radio's monthly Webcast Metrics ratings) released Pandora's Average Quarter Hour and "cume" ratings for 11 top local markets. The move was certainly a shot across the bow of traditional broadcasters, as it highlighted the foothold the webcaster is gaining, even at the local level. But it also served to call out Arbitron, which has yet to deliver its own promised "all radio" ratings.

"The resulting numbers are impressive," Ad Age commented on Pandora's numbers, with "strong penetration" in local markets while nationally Pandora stands as "the largest radio network for listeners age 18 to 49" (more RAIN coverage here).

But are ad buyers impressed with the new numbers? Is unified measurement important to them? Ad Age surveyed several ad agencies, "all of whom already do a good deal of business with Pandora." For most, unified measurement would be helpful but the lack of an "apples to apples" comparison "hasn't been an inhibitor." 

"The Triton data is great, but if it was on the Arbitron platform it would make it a lot easier to be handled by a local-market buyer," said a senior VP from Horizon Media. Arbitron data wouldn't result in more being spent on Pandora, she predicted, it would just "streamline" the process. Another ad rep said her company isn't even sure yet if they want to use the ratings from Triton to sell Pandora. 

An executive from Starcom agreed that the lack of a single measurement hasn't been a problem. They "continue to buy more with Pandora each year."

Advertising AgeHe continued, "I've been able to sell Pandora into clients because intuitively they know it's the right thing and know the audience is there." That said, "In a perfect world, all audio would be measured by the same source and the same panel, because then the ratings that we're getting would truly be apples to apples." 

That "apples to apples" comparison is being delayed by Arbitron's broadcaster customers, as Arbitron EVP/COO Sean Creamer said in May (RAIN coverage here).


This gives traditional

This gives traditional broadcasters a direct disadvantage if my reasoning is correct
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I think a lot of listeners

I think a lot of listeners love Pandora because there are not that many ads. Sure, you can pay for it but the advertisers benefit more when they don't and most don't because they are not bombarded with advertising.

Triton Ratings for AQH with Pandora, blah, blah....

How come a traditional broadcaster never brings up the fact of HOW Ando/Triton measures digital audio?

Do they not know the difference of how Triton measures the digital audio audience of their own listeners compared to that of a Pure Player?

It says it on every ranker ever released.
* They measure by ip address*

This gives traditional broadcasters a direct disadvantage if my reasoning is correct. Their streams are simulcasted and can be under counted if Triton is not using the correct technology to decipher between different users along the same ip address.

Is Triton dropping "cookies" on the broadcaster's streams to differentiate between unqiue users?
If 50 stockbrokers are listening to WFAN's stream but all work for the same company are they only being measured once instead of 50 unique streams?

Traditional broadcasters use Ando/Triton audience #'s when confirming the proof of the campaign yet Pandora does not. They use their own numbers for proof.
I ask any agency person if they have ever seen Ando/Trition #s for proof of an audio campaign for Pandora?

I would bet Pandora gets to overlay their unique registration data against Triton's IP tracking....or maybe not.

I use Pandora and when i used to commute to the city it went out three or four times from my stop to Penn. Is that why their mobile #s are higher than their desktop #'s? Maybe....

Buyers and clients buy Pandora due to the fact it works. Less spots equal more retention. Plus they do an amazing job of using the digital audio with a call to action to the display unit, thus higher conversion % and the reason why Pandora can charge 4x of a cpm then that of a traditional broadcaster where the spot gets lost in a pod of 8 commercials.

To make an online comparison to an over the air (AQH) is a waste of time. The AQH of over the air is measured by less than .05 % of the population but the online is much higher. Thus at the end of the day it means nothing but another press release for Tim and Pandora.

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