Stacking internet radio rankings


Ken Dardis, President of Audio Graphics, did some analysis on Triton Digital’s February “Webcast Metrics” released last week. Dardis found numerous insights, including that the numbers don’t include all large webcasters; why Pandora may not have actually lost ground and why domestic listening seems so high. From his article:

These [Triton’s February Webcast Metrics] now carry accreditation from the Media Rating Council (MRC), which gives the package more punch. It’s important, however, to keep in mind that many large webcasting groups are not represented in these reports. All you really get is a listing of how Triton’s top clients are doing. For now, and until Arbitron makes a bid in this field, it’s all we have to work with.

To summarize, Pandora lost a little ground (due to a Pandora error in omitting code required to track listeners from ALL of its platforms); Katz Network had a slight uptick; CBS and Clear Channel were flat.

  “When concentrating on broadcasters’ streams, it seems, the amount of domestic listening is very high.”  

Remove Katz and Pandora, and you see the CBS and Clear Channel standing with more clarity.

The top pure-plays, sans Pandora, see Digitally Imported gaining to a larger degree than the others.

Second tier broadcasters – those in the 15,000-50,000 “Average Active Sessions” – are being drilled by Citadel, but all remain flat through the last couple months.

We’ll spend a few minutes with this today: 1) where I’m willing to admit being wrong, and 2) that listening isn’t just happening at work anymore.

First let’s talk about where “I’m wrong.”

Though I am confident the reason why will become obvious, let me correct myself with one statement made here repeatedly: “Nearly 30% of online radio’s audience will come from outside the United States.”

That is a broad-brush comment which includes pure-play radio stations. When concentrating on broadcasters’ streams, it seems the amount of domestic listening is very high.

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I’ll give these reasons for the above, starting with the decision by CBS to prohibit listening to its streams by anyone outside the United States. (The move makes great fiscal sense.) CBS delivers to advertisers a nationwide US audience, and it doesn’t have to worry about all the streaming copyright rules and fees governing other countries.

My guess (and that’s all it is, a guess) is that the other radio industry players have restricted their streams to US listeners, too. Which explains why nearly all of them are in the 90% domestic listeners range. Pure-plays show a much higher level of international audience; Digitally Imported has 79.2% from outside the US; AccuRadio is at 45.9%; and 977 Music plays to an international crowd that makes up 84.9% of its total audience.

If I were to place the experience I have had looking at logs from hundreds of pure-play radio stations, I’d stick with the claim that at least 30% of a station’s audience comes from outside the US. After this analysis, though, I’ll change my tune when America’s radio industry streamers are in the mix.

The other reason we see a high level of domestic listenership, for our US based radio industry, is that very few of the stations rank highly on search engines. If you can’t be found through search, where most listeners go to find new stations, you aren’t going to end up on the radar screen of people living outside the United States. You are primarily being driven to a station’s stream through hearing mentions of it on the air, in your local market.

The other topic needing a brief mention is in the percentage of listening that occurs on the weekends.

Since webcasting made its debut, the cry has been it’s an “at work” audience. While the percentage for that crowd is still high, look at how much of these groups’ total listening is done on the weekend.

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Don’t need to go much deeper on this. You can look at the full Triton Digital Webcast Metrics here.

One last observation. As you go through the loosely knit numbers on the charts, think about how much easier it is to understand what these numbers say when they appear in graphs. Then, begin to translate this way of interpreting what’s happening in the radio industry to what you could be producing for a client who is now looking for a better definition of what their money has bought.

While the radio industry flocks to each Webcast Metrics when it’s displayed, why is it this same group of executives cannot provide for their clients a similar data rundown of how an ad campaign is performing? It’s still the best way to explain the where and when of an online radio audience.

If you want to go one step farther, you can also create similar ways of explaining on-air campaigns. That’s something we’ll talk more about in the coming weeks.

–Ken Dardis, President, Audio Graphics, Inc. [email protected] 440-564-7437. Among other things, Audio Graphics does analytics, metrics, radio industry ROI strategy, as well as online radio audience poll surveys with support of Borrell Associates.