Does Radio Really Want Arbitron To Launch Online Ratings?
May 18, 2012 at 3:49 AM (PT)
Although ARBITRON revealed in a recent RAC conference call (NET NEWS 5/10) that it's in the process of building prototypes of an online radio ratings system, ARBITRON EVP/COO SEAN CREAMER intimated that its over-the-air radio partners aren't especially keen to see it launched. RAIN reports that CREAMER admitted as much at the JP MORGAN GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY, MEDIA AND TELECOM CONFERENCE in BOSTON.
"We can do it today," CREAMER said, referring to ARBITRON's online audience measurement service, which will be soon be tested in unnamed local markets. But ARBITRON "can't launch the service" yet because "We have not reached a point where there is a critical mass of customers providing the digital log file data."
Speculation abounds as to why radio seems hesitant to provide the data necessary to create online ratings. While the ratings would shine a light on radio's expanded audience well beyond its over-the-air signal, that would also be put in contrast to PANDORA's and SPOTIFY's audiences, which would likely dwarf radio's online listenership.
For ARBITRON's part, "There’s no objection on our part to measuring whoever is defined as being radio," CREAMER said.
MEDIAPOST reports that CREAMER also used the conference to cite a long-standing challenge facing the ratings service: recruiting more people who have dropped landlines to join its 70,000-person panel -- especially those in the 18-34 demo. ARBITRON is investing about $18 million this year for cell phone and in-person recruitment.
But even that won't make ARBITRON's effort to create a cross-media panel any easier, let alone with an acceptable amount of mobile phone-only types. "Would they agree to download a meter and something onto their cell phone, I think the likelihood of that is very close to zero," CREAMER said.