Traditional summer slowdown hampers audience growth, but not as much as past years

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Issue Date: 
Sep 5 2012 - 11:00am

From Issue:

Metrics rankingsAs in years past, the "summer doldrums" took their toll on webcasters' audiences in July. Minus one exception, all the webcasters and broadcasters tracked in Triton Digital's Top 20 Webcast Metrics for July 2012 were flat or down month-to-month. 

The Internet radio industry typically sees audience numbers flat-line or drop slightly in the summer months. Listeners spend relatively less time in the office -- where, at least in the past, a majority of Internet radio usage took place -- due to holidays (like the Fourth of July), vacations, and other activities (like the Summer Olympics which began on July 27 and, this reporter seems to think, were a huge drain on productivity). We refer to this traditional decline as "summer doldrums." 

All told, the combined AAS (Average Active Sessions, essentially equivalent to AQH) of the Top 20 webcasters declined a little over 1% month-to-month. That's actually an improvement over 2011, when webcasters' combined AAS dropped nearly 7% from June to July 2011. Could this be in part due to Internet radio's growing mobile and out-of-office listening

Top-ranked Pandora was roughly flat month-to-month in July, according to Triton's Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m daypart ranker. The webcaster stands at an AAS of 1,214,119 -- up 151% year-over-year.

The #2-ranked Clear Channel, backed by its iHeartRadio platform, declined 4% month-to-month to reach an AAS of 174,333. Clear Channel's AAS has grown 140% year-over-year.

The race for the #3 spot became more heated in July: CBS Radio, currently holding the #3 spot, declined 12% month-to-month. Slacker (at #4) dropped 6% month-to-month but is now within nearly 300 AAS of overtaking CBS Radio. Slacker has grown 60% year-over-year while CBS Radio has dropped 45%. The change is in part due to AOL Radio's migration from CBS to Slacker.

The one exception to all this declining and flat-lining is NPR Member Services, ranked at #11. Its AAS, as measured by Triton, increased 37% month-to-month. June was the first month NPR Member Services appeared in the Top 20 ranker.

ESPN Radio saw the largest month-to-month decline with a 14% drop (though Radio One and Hubbard weren't far behind with 13% declines). Most others saw month-to-month drops of 3-9%.

(The chart above shows the growth of Pandora, CBS, Clear Channel, the top 5 terrestrial radio groups and Slacker from September 2009 through July 2012. 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.)

You can find the Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m ranking below. Find out more from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics report here (PDF) and find our coverage of June 2012’s ratings here.

July Webcast Metrics

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