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RAIN 1/22: With mobile streams now counted, Pandora adds to ratings lead

Posted on: 01/22/2010


Top-rated Pandora buttressed its lead over the competition in December as Ando Media for the first time included the webcaster’s mobile listening in its audience measurements. Ando Media yesterday released its Internet radio “Top 20 Ranker” for December 2009.

Pandora’s “Average Active Sessions” (metrics are defined below) rose 40% in December to 261,714 from 187,149 in November in Ando’s 6a-12M Monday-Sunday “Domestic Ranker” (as a U.S.-only service, Pandora is not ranked in the “All Streams” chart). Its nearly 151 million “Session Starts” in December (same daypart) was 43% higher than its November number, which was under 106 million.

Overall, the Domestic rankings themselves changed very little from November’s order. CBS Radio (which includes AOL Radio and Yahoo LaunchCast) and Clear Channel maintained their (distant) #2 and #3 to Pandora’s lead. AccuRadio (affiliated with RAIN) remained the second-most-listened-to measured Internet pureplay (again, after Pandora).

The All Streams rankings did change a bit. While CBS kept the top spot, Digitally Imported leapt from #4 to #2 6a-12M Monday-Sunday, more than doubling its AAS (19,590-50,233) as Ando included listening from DI’s sister webcasters JazzRadio and Sky.FM for the first time. Internet-only 977Music.com and 1.fm remained in the top 5, and AccuRadio climbed two slots with a 33% hike in AAS, likely due to the popularity of seasonal music. (Clear Channel and Citadel, like Pandora, are not included in the “All Streams” chart.)

In fact, many outlets enjoyed a holiday bump in listening. Broadcasters and webcasters with popular online Christmas music streams typically see a swell of listening in December, and 2009 was no exception to that. Holiday format streams, according to Ando, “accounted for an AAS of 46,841 during the 6a-8p daypart across all publishers.”

Time off from work for the actual holidays and the resulting reduction in in-office listening, however, brought audience levels down towards month’s end (as it was last month with Thanksgiving).

Ando Media will host a web conference to discuss the December Ranker today at 3pm EST/2pm CST. Register for the conference here to register.

“Session Starts” (SS): “the number of streams of one minute or more that are started within a time period” [note: think of this number as similar to “cume”]
“Average Active Sessions” (AAS): “the average number of streams of one minute or more that are active within a time period” [think of this number as “AQH”]
“Average Time Spent Listening” (ATSL): “the average duration, in hours, for each session lasting more than one minute within a time period”

Ando creates two rankings, “Domestic” and “All Streams.” The Domestic Ranker reflects U.S. listening (based on station log files); the All Streams Ranker reflects all measurable listening. Domestic and All Streams rankings are presented with both 6a-12M Monday-Sunday and 6a-8p Monday-Friday dayparts.

See the complete charts here.


On the heels of the company’s breakthrough to profitability in the last quarter (see RAIN here), Pandora has promoted Doug Sterne (pictured) to VP of audio sales.

Pandora CTO Tom Conrad and founder Tim Westergren both revealed last week Pandora profited in Q4 2009. The company said Sterne’s department brought in more than 80 new advertising accounts, including the likes of GM, Office Depot, JC Penney, Whole Foods, Ace Hardware, and TurboTax. Said John Trimble, chief revenue officer, “In Q4 of 2009 alone, we saw audio revenue rise higher than all three previous quarters combined.” Before joing Pandora as director of audio sales last year, Sterne was VP/Sales at Clear Channel Online Music and Radio in San Francisco. He was also SVP Market Manager at CBS Radio and Director of Sales for ABC Radio.

The company also announced the hire of Tim Leedom to the newly-created position of director of national accounts, and the promotion of three senior sales execs to director of sales positions, Priscilla Valls, Rob Thiel, and Meaghan Kessman.


Sirius XM Radio added 257,000 subscribers in last year’s fourth quarter. The company revealed this week it finished the year with nearly 19 million subscribers, making it the second consecutive quarter of net growth for the satellite company.

Last week Sirius (see RAIN coverage here) pointed to an Arbitron study that shows the satcaster has more than 35 million adult listeners to its non-music channels (which carry ads), and that 32 million of them tune in at least weekly. Read more on the Sirius XM subscriber growth from ABC News here.


Amazon will release software development tools for its Kindle e-reader that will enable developers to create their own Kindle apps, much like publishers create apps for mobile phone devices. Third-party apps reportedly won’t hit the Kindle Store until later this year. A limited beta release of the software tools is scheduled for next month.

It’s not yet clear (at least to us) whether the Kindle could become a viable Internet radio device, given its processing power and the way it operates. Read more in MediaPost here.

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