Nielsen has announced plans to utilize the same audience panels for website measurement for measurement of Internet radio. As I have espoused for many years why would you use estimates when you can have actual audience data. That is one of the great features of Internet radio and helps advertisers have more confidence in audience data. Of course the other great attribute is an advertiser can actually know that an ad was heard unlike terrestrial radio where affidavits just reflect the fact that the ad was played but no data is available as to how many people heard the ad (other than to apply the estimated audience).
Given Nielsen’s clout they may be able to pull this off but I don’t believe its a good thing for Internet radio.
Ever since the rise of Pandora’s audience there has been an effort to try to position the service as “not radio”. I understand the defensive posture that terrestrial radio would like to take but in my view anything that competes with you is probably quite similar in nature. Consumption of audio takes many forms but in the end there are only so many hours in a day. Listening to Pandora most likely means less time spent listening to terrestrial radio (or did all of the 69.5 million active Pandora users never listen to terrestrial radio?). We can argue about which form listeners prefer. Currently terrestrial radio has the lion share of listening. Pandora’s audience seems to have peaked.
Frankly I’m surprised that Pandora has not attempted more music curation and localization (they certainly have the user data given registration). Could I choose which version I want? Time will tell.
Google has finally arrived at the Internet Radio table although I must say the name of its service, “Google Play Music All Access” leaves something to be desired. Apple will most likely follow by the end of the year. There are still a lot of unknown details especially if any free ad-supported models will be forthcoming. One thing is for sure, there are only so many hours in a day to listen so most likely everyone’s share will decrease. This includes terrestrial radio. Terrestrial radio appears too busy trying to bail out the waning AM radio service and make non interactive HD radio work to attack IP audio. CBS was an early leader but their bets did not pay off. Clear Channel has now grown an impressive Internet radio service with over 30 Million registered users. However, we have gotten to the point where Clear Channel’s future interests may not fully align with the rest of the radio industry.
We just returned from the NAB last week and while there we attended the NAB’s day long session, Digital Strategies for Broadcasters. The panels were well prepared but sadly there were only 60 people in the room (92,414 attendees at NAB). One of the better panels covered the connected car. Panelists were from the Consumer Electronics Association, Connected Vehicle Trade Association and a consultant formerly with Lexus/Toyota/Scion. One slide I wanted to highlight came from Michael Bergman from CEA. This slide illustrates what is projected to occur through 2016 in the car. Note Internet radio growth with over 80% in-car penetration by 2016. Penetration is more than twice that of HD Radio. As I have posted previously HD radio lacks full two-way interactivity, a few extra channels with no compelling advantage in content and/or audio quality cannot compete with Internet radio. The Digital Strategies session opened with a chart showing current internet listening vs. terrestrial radio. Obviously an emphasis on today rather than the future…
Social Media is a key indicator of audience engagement and what is resonating in the social media ecosphere. While there are a number of social media channels for purposes of this analysis I chose Twitter. I utilized the services of Socialping, a company that specializes in Twitter audience metrics. Socialping provides twitter analysis including monitoring key words. I decided that I would apply Socialping measurement to Internet Radio. I created watch lists for key words for the following;, iHeartradio, Pandora, TuneIn, KROQ, Rdio, WBLS and Spotify. The measurement period is for one week beginning 2/25 – 3/3.
The above data reveals several key findings;
1) Spotify is the leader in followers with almost 3x that of Pandora. This is probably due to its more international offerings. However, Pandora and Spotify have approximately the same reach.
2) iHeart radio has more followers than Pandora. However, the # of tweets is only 3% of that for Pandora (Note: iHeart’s radio audience as reported by Triton Digital is 15.9% of Pandora’s). Has Clear Channel driven people to follow but they are not engaging with the service?
3) One of the top single stations in the country, KROQ has roughly half the followers of iHeart Radio.
4) While Tunein has less than one third the number of followers as iHeart they have 3x the reach.
As discussed in my prior post the technical side of car integration for Internet radio is difficult due to the many car companies, their suppliers and in dash systems. Pandora, Tunein, NPR and iHeart radio have an amazing lead on the terrestrial radio industry for real estate on the car entertainment systems. Pandora was integrated with every car company we visited at CES and claims to be integrated with 1,000 different devices. These integrated applications appear prominently as listening options. The rest of terrestrial radio streaming is for the most part not represented except as embedded in Tunein, Aha or iHeart. This is a major factor as to why many other radio stations have agreed to be included in the Tunein and iHeart platforms as it give them access to these distribution systems which also have in car access. However, in a point I made in an earlier post they are lost in a multitude of options.
Yes there is still a radio button in the car and this will not disappear any time soon. However, it is now just one of a multitude of choices. As we know people typically have about 6 presets (their favorites) and scroll among them. How will terrestrial radio compete in a fragmented dashboard. In my view it will not be based on music but other unique and local content. Unfortunately radio has reduced its investment over the last several years in its product. Very little programming is local and unique. Competition for other information such as news and weather is readily available from other sources. Those that do invest and have a multi-pronged distribution approach will be the winners.