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There have been a number of articles and speeches recently where people are questioning Pandora’s self reported audience. Is it 8.06% or 4%? While I do believe we need third-party measurement, that already exists with Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics. From the rumor mill I also understand Triton is going to be measuring individual markets which will include Pandora.
Why is audience measurement important? Audience measurement is used as a planning tool. It is especially useful where audience metrics are utilized to determine delivery of an advertising campaign. Pandora and Internet radio have not such problem. With Internet radio you know how many people heard your ad. It is not an estimate unlike terrestrial radio. This is perhaps why most agencies buying Internet radio are not as hot under the collar as terrestrial radio in attacking Pandora’s audience estimates.
Trulia’s radio spot, destined for Pandora and iHeart Radio, will drive listeners insane before the year is up, with a voiceover relentlessly rapping on the word Trulia: cruelia, foolia, youlia, carpoolia, toolia.
The RAB just released 2013 radio industry revenue information which reflected no growth over 2013 in total. However, while spot radio was down 3%, digital revenue increased 18% over 2012. The percentage of digital revenue is still small, only 5%. Digital represents the greatest hope for increasing radio revenue.
We need better information on the components of digital revenue as there are many;
- Website advertising (banners and pre rolls)
- Streaming audio ads (desktop and mobile/ banners and pre rolls)
- Other destination sites (separate URL – local community news, events, etc.)
- Reselling other tools to advertisers (reputation management, SEO/SEM, social media, etc)
- Some radio groups understand the need to be competitive for digital revenue and are forming digital agencies.
- As the percentage of digital revenue increases we need additional data to understand what areas are gaining the most traction.
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Last week we closed on an investment in Closely. Closely has brought a number of local merchant marketing tools together in one platform.
The Company has just launched Perch 2.0 which brings reviews, social posts and promotions for you and your competition, all in one place. A significant change in this new version is the new Home screen where activity of all watched businesses is shown in a live stream. Popular posts are highlighted, so it’s really easy to understand which activity is most popular with consumers.
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…