Last week, we discussed the fact that the Edison Infinite Dial Report numbers show 50% of the U.S. population acknowledges listening to Internet radio weekly and 57% on a monthly basis. That is the report from the demand side of the equation. Triton Digital was a sponsor of the Infinite Dial, but they also have their own report which aggregates actual listening data reported by the supply side – the audio publishers. Triton’s Webcast Metrics Top 20 Ranker for December shows a 13.3% rise in average active Internet radio listening sessions in 2015.
Of course, you can see in the chart that this is a January to December analysis. If we match this up to a true year-over-year December 2014 to December 2015 analysis, the annual rise looks closer to 7.3% (we will come back to this). Granted, there are two important data differences that you must account for in this analysis. The December 2014 list didn’t include Spotify because they weren’t tracked until January 2015 when it entered the list at number two. Similarly, the December 2015 data doesn’t include Slacker which held the number three spot the previous year. If you remove both of these and work with the remaining 19 audio publishers, you get the 7.3% rise. This is where we need another data point to account for differences driven by Spotify which has experience rapid growth in the United States.
RAIN News broke this data out further to reveal that the 2015 listening growth was driven by the top three market share leaders in 2015. Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio had respectively 10%, 46% and 25% average active session (AAS) growth in 2015.
If we create a Spotify adjustment and estimate its December numbers and replace Slacker, you find that the actual rise in AAS December to December was 16.6%. We will call this adjusted AAS. This is very close to the RAIN News estimate of 16% year-over-year growth so we have a corroborating data point.
Comparing Triton to Edison
Comparing data from the Top 20 Ranker and The Infinite Dial reports is an apples-to-oranges exercise given that they present supply and demand side analyses, respectively. In addition, Triton’s Top 20 Ranker only reports the activity of 20 audio publishers while Edison’s Infinite Dial attempts to capture user behavior across all audio publishers. However, there are some interesting conclusions.
First, the monthly listening population according to The Infinite Dial grew 7.5% while adjusted AAS grew at more than twice that rate. This means that average active listening sessions must have climbed at a faster rate than audience growth. The implication is that people are using Internet radio more frequently than in the past. This finding is corroborated by the 11% rise in people that identified themselves as weekly listeners of Internet radio compared to last year. In other words, Internet radio is becoming a habit more than an occasional activity.
Second, according to the Triton data, the weighted average for a listening session fell by 8% to 35 minutes. Combined with the other findings we can conclude that more people are accessing Internet radio more often, but for slightly shorter periods of time.
What does this mean for advertisers? There is a consensus among the leading market studies that Internet radio represents a large and growing audience that provides frequent opportunities for exposure to advertising. Advertisers can meet their reach and frequency goals through the channel. They can also meet their engagement and conversion goals if they also adopt interactive audio ads with prompted response voice engagement as their preferred advertising format.
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