Edison Research counters claims on Pandora


Tom Webster, VP Strategy and Marketing of Edison Research entered a blog post on the company’s website disagreeing with a recent report about how Edison is measuring AQH listening for its client Pandora. Arbitron released a bit of analysis recently on the matter, which we digested, as well as asking Natalie Swed Stone, US Director, National Radio Investment, OMD, for her opinion. Nevertheless, here’s Webster’s post:

“Today’s Inside Radio featured a grossly inaccurate story about how Edison Research is measuring listening for our client, Pandora (the entire article, like the rest of Inside Radio, is behind a subscriber paywall). Amongst the article’s many sins was this line:

“The Edison reports converted Pandora server-side log file listening data into local audience reports using AQH metrics that ranked Pandora alongside local radio stations in Arbitron market reports. [Cumulus COO John] Dickey says he’d like to see Arbitron to ask Pandora to reveal details of how it is calculating its audience estimates.”

No attempt was made to contact Edison about the “facts” in this article, which are of course patently untrue. While we await a correction from the typists at Inside Radio, let us be clear: Edison has never (as in never) reported anything other than the AQH figures for Pandora – full stop. We defy Inside Radio or any interested party to come up with a “ranker” from Edison that compares Pandora “alongside” any terrestrial radio station. Not only have we never produced such a report, we have never allowed a third party to produce such a report. A report comparing Pandora’s AQH measures with those of Arbitron subscribers would, amongst other things, violate Arbitron copyrights. We do not have the legal right, nor the desire, to produce such comparisons.

Also, Mr. Dickey need not pressure Arbitron to ask Pandora how these audience measures are calculated. Should he, or any other radio executive, care to find out, they need merely ask Pandora themselves, and they’ll be happy to provide the complete methodology for these figures, which are not, as Mr. Dickey intimates, “estimates;” rather, they are the actual listening data from the population of Pandora listeners.”

RBR-TVBR observation: As Arbitron had tried to clarify in its recent letter to clients, there are differences on how broadcast radio is measured vs. streaming audio. The point was to understand the differences before doing any direct comparisons in buying and negotiating. As well, when it does release its planned total audience measurement service “One-to-many” services, such as broadcast radio, satellite radio and non-customizable online radio streams, will be in a separate report from “one-to-one” destination streaming websites, like Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio, Pandora’s ad-supported free service and CBS Radio’s Radio.com.