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Monday, January 7, 2013
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Webcast Metrics - A Radio Industry Bemused


Triton Digital released its November Webcast Metrics Report.

Average Active Sessions are a mixed bag. Session starts show a flat-to-falling trajectory. Average Time Spent Listening appears to have stopped dropping, though 18 of the top-20 reported show lower TSL when compared to November 2011 (the 19th is exactly the same, and the 20th is no longer being ranked).

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We'll not be digging too deep into these reports anymore because, as I've often stated, they mean nothing except if you're trying to compare each of these companies. (If you do want to compare, subscribe to our free breakout and you will receive updated numbers with each release.)

"I do the breakout for you, and show what the radio industry is doing online in more detail than is available from any other source." Here is what I'd like to discuss today, and it has much to do with how everyone in the radio industry appears so enamoured with the release of these "ratings." This buzz, created with each release, is demonstrative of how radio's focus has long been spent on the wrong items in digital; while the important elements that digital delivers are being used to make radio less relevant.

The caveat is that what Triton Digital delivers is valid, hard-line numbers that each of its client companies can use to improve. They just have no bearing on radio's digital universe.

There are so many top players not being reported that anyone trying to create a vision of the online radio universe by dissecting what's provided, in the Webcast Metrics report, is wasting time.

Another aspect of this befuddlement comes from understanding exactly what it is that these reports tell you. It's my belief that the vast majority of radio industry executives simply don't know what they are looking at - and this statement can be carried over to the majority of radio industry trades reporting on these releases.

To demonstrate, let's look at three of the top four companies. We'll leave Pandora out because it's so far out in front of everyone else. But, what about the variations between the three remaining: Katz Online Network, Clear Channel, and CBS Radio. Study this graph. Isolate these three in your view, and let's talk about what it represents.

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Katz Online Network is comprised of 12 of the 20 reported companies. It reports 408,121 Average Active Sessions, with 161,416,482 Session Starts. But, let's remove the 274,235 Average Active Sessions, and 121,482,424 Session Starts that are provided by network member Clear Channel.

Without CCE&M's contribution, of the top twenty (plus any of its network members not making it into the top-20), Katz Online Network is relegated to delivering 133,886 Average Active Sessions with only 39,934,058 Session Starts which are delivered by its remaining clients. These are amounts that pale in comparison to what Pandora is reporting (1,608,615 AAS & 774,539,354 SS, respectively).

To exemplify this, consider what the many companies not subscribing to Triton's Webcast Metrics are delivering - having been on the inside of a few of these, I can say they also make the Katz numbers appear slight. I'm not even sure if Triton Digital's own "AudioRealm" grouping of stations is included, or any of these below.

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My objective is not to denegrate the Triton Digital service. It provides solid numbers for its "client stations." What I am out to do is to drive home the point that using these reports to arrive at any conclusion on the state of the online radio industry is a foolish errand.

If you still want to digest these numbers, subscribe to our free breakout and you’ll see graphs for each of the top companies charted in ways unavailable to you from any other source.

Click here to receive a FREE breakout of this report sent to you for each month it is published. The Audio Graphics compiled numbers includes all groups in the publicly-released Triton Digital Ranker.

The capacity to produce numbers is only one side of the digital equation. Understanding exactly what you are not receiving, though, is more important - and this is an explanation you will not see with radio industry trade publications that are trying to make people believe radio is in hot pursuit of a new digital landscape. It's radio's way of keeping the uninformed bemused.


Note: For caveats pertaining to this month's release, please view the bottom of Triton Digital's report.










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