Industry mulls the wisdom of combined "over the air" and "streaming" audience measurement

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Issue Date: 
Aug 21 2013 - 1:10pm

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Radio consultant Fred Jacobs (right) today is calling for radio to "fully embrace the streaming platform," as his (and others') data show more and more regular radio listeners are tuning in online and on mobile phones. He's stressing the need to "accurately measure AM/FM streaming, merge it with usage data from broadcast radio in a format that is acceptable to agencies and buyers, and then monetize these bigger numbers."

Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino, however, thinks radio should pursue growing digital ad budgets by keeping online audience separate from AM/FM listening.

In the second installment of his "Simulcasting Debunked" blog series (we covered the first part yesterday here), Agovino (left) says he understands why broadcasters might want to consolidate audience numbers so existing staff can sell "total audience" and reduce costs. But while digital audience lacks in size compared to on-air, digital can deliver targeted ads to an audience that can be precisely measured.

"In all likelihood, 95%+ of the combined broadcast and digital audience number is generated from the broadcast estimate alone," Agovino wrote. "As a result, the combined number offers none of the benefits of digital. It is, in essence, a dumb number." Note that Agovino's company is a vendor of digital ad delivery and metrics services to the broadcast industry.

But Jacobs is asking, "What about strong radio brands that attract digital listening, but lose out on the "credit" (that is, advertising dollars) for it, because it's not counted as part of a station's audience?" 

Now it isn't necessary that Jacobs' and Agovino's positions can't be reconciled. Panelists on the RAIN Summit Orlando "The Ad-Insertion Panel" (including Agovino) will surely have some thoughts on the matter. Get more info and register for RAIN Summit Orlando here. Read Fred Jacobs' blog here; Agovino's here.


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