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RAIN 11/9: Industry reacts to Ando Media's new metrics

Posted on: 11/09/2009


Late last week, Ando Media released not only their Internet Audio Top 20 ratings for May through September, but debuted a new set of measurement metrics, a domestic listening-only ratings chart and incorporated Pandora’s listenership (RAIN coverage here). These changes were previewed to attendees of the RAIN Summit East in September by Ando Media’s Patrick Reynolds.

“They may have hit on something that radio should consider,” writes Mel Phillips (here) in regards to Session Starts, Average Active Sessions and Average Time Spent Listening — Ando Media’s new audience measurement standards. “With the average length of terrestrial radio listening changing so quickly, does it still make sense to measure it by Average Quarter Hour?

Not everyone saw the changes as progress, however. “I’m horrified,” said Priscilla Fladger, network radio supervisor for Boston ad agency Mullen, reports MediaWeek. “We are trying to advance this industry and they [Ando] reversed it by 10 years. It’s like 1999 again.” MediaWeek also reports (here) that “although Ando said it made the decision to change the metrics after meeting with publishers and agencies…not a single agency or advertiser was involved in the meetings,” according to “several sources.”

Jennifer Lane of Audio4Cast found fault with the new domestic rankings for September. “Unfortunately, the domestic ranker is missing lots of stations because online brands such as Digitally Imported, AccuRadio, and others are not able to provide the data in the form necessary for them to identify IP locations, according to Patrick Reynolds, Sr. VP at Ando. He says they are working to resolve it,” Lane writes (here). “Until they do, a domestic ranker won’t be a true representation of domestic listening.”

To industry researcher Mark Ramsey, the big news was not new measurement techniques, but Pandora’s debut at the #2 spot just behind CBS and ahead of Clear Channel. “Pandora is a handful of streams away from being the leading source of online radio in the U.S.,” Ramsey notes at his Hear 2.0 blog (here). “Your station — our industry — need not be the leading players or even significant players in this world unless we specifically set out to do so.”

RAIN ANALYSIS: Our belief here at RAIN is that “AQH audience” is a term that has decades of history behind it and has simply become a synonym for “average audience” — i.e., the average number of concurrent listeners during a stated daypart. Since Ando’s “AAS” is supposedly within 1% of their AQH number anyway, we suggest that Ando keep the well-known term “AQH” and simply footnote that it’s calculated slightly different (better) than Arbitron calculates it. (Also, we’ve argued that the term “AAS” may look good in print but is infelicitous when said out loud — e.g., “Our AAS is bigger this month than last month, but your AAS is still bigger than ours.”)

As for losing cume ratings from the reports, Ando’s Paul Krasinski explains that past estimates have understated actual station cume persons by up to 40%, because Ando is currently measuring IP addresses, not consumers. (Thus, if 100 listeners at Bank of America are listening from the same I.P. address, they were being counted as one cumer.) Our recommended solution: Bring back cume (or, to use the Internet term, “unique listeners”), but weight the numbers up by 40%, noting that they’re an estimate and explaining the reasoning in a footnote (with a link to the underlying supporting data). — KH


iPhone users can now tune in to HD radio broadcasts through a new free application and $80 receiver accessory. Headphones are also required, as they act as the antenna. The Wall Street Journal reports that iBiquity’s chief executive Bob Struble reasoned that people would pay $80 for the HD radio accessory to listen to radio where Internet radio apps don’t work. “HD radio relies on digital signals, which can also have spotty coverage,” points out WSJ (here). “Users may find that carrying around the small receiver clip, attached to the iPhone with a wire, is more cumbersome than download-and-go Internet radio apps such as Pandora.”


We got a glimpse of Sonos’ all-in-one music system, the ZonePlayer S5, earlier in October (RAIN coverage here), but PC World has taken a up-close look at the device now that it’s shipping to customers. The S5 appears to be only a speaker or iPod dock, but it can connect to the web and stream music from Last.fm, Napster, Pandora, Rhapsody, Sirius and networked music collections. That music can be played in different rooms with additional Sonos speakers.

Users can only control the system via a desktop application, through Sonos’ $350 CR200 Controller or with a free iPhone/iPod Touch application. “Now matter how you tell the S5 what you want it to play, you won’t be disappointed by its sound,” observes PC World (here). “The Sonos system provides an exceptional wealth of listening options…you’ll be hard-pressed to find an all-in-one system that sounds better or is more versatile.” The Sonos ZonePlayer S5 is shipping for $400.

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