Erosion in Online Radio TSL Continues
You've probably read about the explosion in listening to radio online. We have an entire radio industry caught up in banter on how people are shifting listening to digital streams. Notice I'm not saying "moving away from" terrestrial radio, but the April Triton Digital Webcast Metrics shows a nearly across-the-board increase in Average Active Sessions and Session Starts between March and April 2013.
While you can read "that's good" into this, taking a look at "Percentage of Average Active Sessions Resulting from Stream Starts" shows an equally steady decline in a more important metric. Study further the Time Spent Listening and you'll see a nearly across-the-board drop there, too. What's happening?
"Other data...(like Average Active Sessions and 'Session Starts') is dependent on variables not revealed; such as, are increases due to more people or because a group added more stations to their stream?"
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Yes, people are moving through online radio stations with more frequency. But data also shows they aren't sticking around to be counted as an "active listener." Nor, on average, does it appear they stick around as long as before when they become "active listeners."
Before getting to the TSL, look at the "Percentage of Average Active Sessions Resulting from Stream Starts
." I pointed out a few months ago that if your intent is to tell the health of radio online, PAASRSS and Time Spent Listening were the only data holding meaning.
Other data, the numbers trumpeted about in radio industry trades (like Average Active Sessions and "Session Starts"), is dependent on variables not revealed; such as, are increases due to more people listening to a single station or because a group added more stations to their stream? It reveals nothing of importance relative to the online radio industry.
First, compare Katz Network with Pandora. Both show decline in Percentage of Average Active Sessions Resulting from Stream Starts
Next it's broadcasters, online. Emmis, Clear Channel, Cox, and Radio One were flat at (respectively) 0.10%, 0.11%, 0.17% 0.21% March-to-April. EMF, Hubbard, and Townsquare Media were up 0.01%.
Year-2-year for broadcasters, only Entercom and Townsquare showed flat PAASRSS. All others dropped. Salem went 0.64% to 0.19%, the worst of reported stations.
Pureplays show a slight uptick in the same metric, at double the percentage.
The above charts show what percentage of people who begin a stream hang around for a long enough time to be counted as a "listener" (stream starts vs. active listener). In percentage form this metric won't deviate, regardless of the numbers of stations a group has streaming.
Now, take a look at "Time Spent Listening" from individual stations or groups. These represent "Month-2-Month," "Year-2-Year," and compared with what was reported for November 11, 2011. Expressed as a monthly "average," this is another metric that gives room for credible analysis. Red in the right column indicates a drop in TSL.
Month-2-Month: March 2013 vs April 2013
Year-2-Year: April 2012 vs April 2013
April 2013 "Time Spent Listening" compared to November 2011
In some cases, considerable loss is shown in the average amount of time a person spends listening to a stream. Do we attribute this to an ADD society? An audience's need for faster moving programming? The increase in audio options? Or, how about poor programming? More data is needed to identify the cause, but data representing the sympton is in - TSL is shrinking.
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