Natalie Swed Stone on audio measurement issues


Since Arbitron’s planned total audience measurement service for streaming and terrestrial audio’s success or failure ultimately rests with the buying community–because they will choose to use it as currency or not–RBR-TVBR asked Natalie Swed Stone, US Director, National Radio Investment, OMD, what she thought about the service, the current controversy it’s creating with broadcasters and Arbitron’s letter clarifying the differences in measuring the two.

Said Natalie: “There is confusion in today’s marketplace with regard to how to measure, evaluate and transact audio platforms. Consumer listening behavior is changing the way we must buy and sell audio—and research is needed to track that behavior.

Up until now, as online audio has developed, on-air and online platforms have had distinct measurement and reporting tools with both platforms and measurement continuing to evolve to meet marketplace demand.

As online audio continues to grow and suppliers want the flexibility to serve all marketers and markets, and monetize all platforms, more reporting and research is needed.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach and no returning to simpler times of yesteryear. Marketers will continue to use best available research tools to make investment decisions as they have done and continue to do–understanding that different media and platforms are often measured differently–although a more uniform measurement continues to be desired and needed.

Agencies have had to incorporate different methodologies when preparing multi-media plans for TV, Radio, Print etc and so are prepared to work that way when necessary. Today’s investor has to be much more research savvy than in prior years—understanding the nuances and complexities more carefully.

We appreciate any clarification and distinctions with respect to comparing platforms—location and device seem to matter as it relates to reaching consumers and we will continue to review data that speaks to the differences.

Interestingly, we need all of it: more overall total audio trends and more granular data—and the ability to separate and combine audio platforms and properties to optimize plans and reflect how we want to purchase.

The research has to follow the investment patterns. The more uniform the data, the easier it will be–but marketers and agencies will continue to buy what they want and use best available research to evaluate and estimate behavior.

The more reliable and accredited the data provided in audio at all levels will benefit everyone. The more audio is viewed as a dynamic entity, the more relevant it will be.

Audio in pieces will make it more difficult to understand, plan and buy.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Yesterday it was called Radio – today the medium is branded ‘Audio’ which is entertainment/music and information/news-talk-discussion. Broadcasters view themselves as Radio but in today’s real world we are in the Audio business. Yep, the Audio business has evolved but Radio is still years behind and trying to play catch-up. Natalie is correct in her points that all need to understand to move forward.