Pandora Media pitches its first market ratings

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The various individual streams delivered by Pandora Media to listeners aren’t measured by Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM), but Pandora pitched advertisers Thursday on audience estimates for the top 10 markets based on custom research by Edison Research. The numbers are being called average quarter hour (AQH) ratings for two adult demos.


“Radio is radio,” said Pandora Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren (pictured). “Pandora is simply a smart buy for local advertisers as well as national ones.  In fact, some advertising agencies are designating Pandora with the call letters ‘WPAN.’ Listeners are increasingly turning to Pandora personalized radio to listen to music at home, at work, in the car and all points in between. It’s a great platform for advertisers to connect directly with their audience throughout the day.”

The numbers presented Thursday at the Pandora Radio Innovators Summit in Los Angeles are billed as AQH estimates for July. “We analyzed and converted Pandora’s data into AQH (average quarter hour), which is the standard metric for radio advertising buying.  We believe this data demonstrates the significance and scope of Pandora’s audience at the local level, especially among 18-34 and 18-49 year olds,” said Edison Research President Larry Rosin.

Accepted at face value, the ratings would rank the total of Pandora’s streams across all music genres as competitive in all of those markets. But that assumes that the numbers computed by Edison are comparable to PPM ratngs.

Here are the “July Ratings” released by Pandora:

Monday-Sunday, 6.00 a.m. –midnight
An average quarter hour (AQH) rating of 1.0 means an average of one percent of a target population is listening to Pandora for at least five minutes or more during any 15 minute window between 6.00 a.m. and midnight.

New York
Adults 18 – 34 = .7 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = .5 AQH rating 

Los Angeles
Adults 18 – 34 = .9 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = .6 AQH rating 

Chicago
Adults 18 – 34 = .7 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = .5 AQH rating 

San Francisco
Adults 18 – 34 = .9 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = .6 AQH rating 

Dallas – Ft. Worth
Adults 18 – 34 = .8 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = .5 AQH rating

Houston
Adults 18 – 34 = .8 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = .5 AQH rating

Atlanta
Adults 18 – 34 = .7 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = .5 AQH rating

Philadelphia
Adults 18 – 34 = .7 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = .5 AQH rating

Washington, DC
Adults 18 – 34 = .9 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = .6 AQH rating

Boston
Adults 18 – 34 = .8 AQH rating
Adults 18 – 49 = .5 AQH rating 

Methodology: Edison Research examined how many listeners tuned into Pandora, how long each person listened and then converted that data into Average Quarter Hour metrics using industry-accepted methodology. In order to qualify as a listener, a person had to listen for at least five minutes within a quarter hour period. Also, for this analysis, Edison did not include Pandora One subscribers who are not served any ads.

RBR-TVBR observation: There are certainly a lot of ratings experts out there reading this article. We invite you to post your comments below. Do these numbers have any validity? How should advertisers look at this in relation to PPM numbers?