Randy Kabrich Takes Shazam For A Spin
July 22, 2016 at 5:42 AM (PT)
YESTERDAY (NET NEWS 7/21), ALL ACCESS reported iHEARTMEDIA, CUMULUS, ENTERCOM, COX, and SUN BROADCAST GROUP have entered a strategic alliance with SHAZAM for an audio audience measurement solution in the U.S. that will deliver market- and station-level audience metrics across all radio formats. This new measurement solution for broadcast and digital audio brings together these companies’ proprietary data assets and measurement capabilities. Utilizing the audio recognition technology available and information from specific geographic markets, it will leverage information collected from tens of millions of devices to produce the accurate, stable, cross-platform audience metrics that the industry has been waiting for.
Consultant RANDY KABRICH checked in with ALL ACCESS with some thoughts about the announcement, writing, "In the 2009-2010 area, ARBITRON's CAROL HANLEY filled myself and BOB NEIL in about a project ARBITRON was working on using audio identification/fingerprint technology to identify station listenership. This came out because of a Hispanic group pulling the PPM CBet Encoders.
"CAROL called the results 'very promising' and promised to share more info and testing with us. One thing led to another, UNIVISION subscribed to ARBITRON and re-installed PPM Encoders, and not much else was said about it.
"When the entire VOLTAIR controversy started in early 2015, one of the first things I did was to circle around to ARBITRON people that were aware of the project and get info on what happened to it. Turns out it worked -- but not as well as the detecting the 8bit CBet code. As thus, listening was missed -- and numbers were lower. Could it have been improved? Probably. But when the Hispanic stations started encoding again, the project was put on ARBITRON's back burner. As of late last year (which was the last time I checked), NIELSEN still had no plans to take it off the back burner or work on it."
Given the SHAZAM announcement, KABRICH said he, "experimented with SHAZAM for over two-plus hours yesterday." He:
- Purchased the Ad Free Version of SHAZAM "Encore" for $6.99 so ads would not impact numbers
- Turned on Automatic (always) listening/detecting
- Turned off any other app that would use data
- Turned on a MUSIC CHOICE channel on TV and let it run
"In the Automatic mode (and again, no ad version), SHAZAM appeared to use about 1.5MB per hour over a two-hour test, which would translate to about 250MB per week ... or over 1G per month," explained KABRICH. "VERIZON's smallest data bucket is 1GB (though it was just increased in new plans last week to 2GB, because 1GB is a very low threshold). This alone would put you over that 1GB level. Then you are on the hook for an additional 1GB at $10-$15 extra. How long would respondents deal with that?" KABRICH noted:
- Missed a 2010 MAROON 5 song while audio averaging 45db
- Misidentified "Suit and Tie" by JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE as another version
KABRICH then, "flipped over to NBC-TV where SEAL was doing 'Kiss From a Rose' live, and it could not identify that. How about where stations have an artist in studio doing acoustic or live versions? Special programming. How does it get captured with no fingerprint? SHAZAM used to be able to identify NBC-TV programming; that does not work any longer. No surprise, but under 50db average, with no other louder noise in the room, it takes a good while to detect. Does much better when source is above 60db." He asks:
- How does a live personality (or any personality) get detected with no "fingerprint" to compare sample to?
- How do locally produced spots (and all spots) get detected and assigned for a station without fingerprints?
- Bowtie Spotsets at same time -- multiple stations play agency spot -- how does SHAZAM determine which station gets credit?
- And most importantly, demographics. How do you determine the demo of the user? Many parents let their kids play with smartphones/tablets to keep them occupied. Who's listening?
KABRICH concluded the system has, "a lot of potential -- but a lot of questions that need to be addressed."