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The Fast-changing Media Landscape
To compete with the likes of Nielsen in the multi-screen sphere, analysts agree that Arbitron will have to strengthen its Internet measurement capabilities and to a lesser degree, mobile. For Arbitron, we have started to see the measurement evolution for radio starting with its purchase of Zokem, a mobile audience measurement and analytics firm, and then shortly afterwards in October 2011, the announcement of a partnership with AdsWizz. The idea behind it was to tap into the streaming audio measurement business. The objective was to collect streaming audio listening data by using server-based metrics and process the server-based streaming log file for its planned digital radio service.
Three years prior, Arbitron quietly got out of the streaming radio ratings business and ended its relationship with comScore. AdsWizz, the new contender in the United States, will be processing for radio broadcast and digital music service customers' server-based streaming log files for digital radio services and provide standard reporting metrics for over the air and digital streaming audiences. Once Arbitron has enough streaming data to work with, it will be better informed to make decisions about combining Web listening with radio PPM and diary data.
The new mantra is cross-platform data. Cross-platform solutions provide an opportunity to develop a second significant revenue stream. Both stations and advertisers want cross-platform measurement in order to measure and reach all listeners using all devices. According to Paul Krasinski, Arbitron SVP of digital media and analytics, "It's all about audio consumption, not just radio versus digital." He cited at a recent Arbitron customer conference that some 89 percent of those who listen online also listen to over-the-air radio.
The industry is gearing up for better approaches to measuring the increasing Internet radio consumption especially with the increase of usage across several industry verticals (automotive, smart appliances, consumer electronics, etc.). For instance, just within the last two years, the Internet era and in-vehicle connectivity concepts have made their way to Internet radio. Pandora and Last.fm are some of the Internet radio providers who have been prominent players in this area. Similarly, due to the popularity of smartphones, service providers are providing radio as smartphone apps. According to Frost and Sullivan, Pandora has 100 million registered users and 36 million active monthly users. Partnerships with Ford, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Scion have pulled Pandora out of its box and into spotlight and there is no turning back.
AdsWizz President Alexis van de Wyer agrees that while next gen audio technologies are enhancing and personalizing the radio experience, next gen ad serving and measurement technologies are enabling advertisers to reach their target demographics more effectively through personalizing the ads as well. Nowadays, Web radio audiences consume through Internet-enabled devices and have created new opportunities for broadcasters, agencies and advertising networks to monetize their online radio audiences.
Companies are beginning to tap into how they can better monetize their audiences, give advertisers new powerful ways to interact with consumers and provide more effective ad strategies to reach multi-platform consumers. ESPN for instance had Arbitron create custom measurement of all listening and viewing on all platforms. Arbitron is using online measurement with AdsWizz. According to Glenn Enoch, vice president of Integrated Research for ESPN, "We want to know how many people listen and view ESPN, how often they do so and for how long. The more key audio listening data we can gather, the better."
Slacker Radio, rivaling Pandora with its highly personalized radio services, gives us another example of a leading company looking to further monetize its audience through video advertising partnered with ad manager YuMe. Slacker Radio will use an ad serving platform to insert ads across multiple devices and will sell its own ads. Today banner ads appear on Slacker, which also operates a free of charge model as well as a fully loaded subscription model. With video cost per mile running strong against premium content and a large audience that creates a great monetizing opportunity, video ads are a natural for Slacker as long as it can balance user experience considerations.
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