'Pandora, Is Anybody There?' Asks Mary Beth Garber
August 9, 2011 at 4:00 AM (PT)
KATZ RADIO GROUP EVP/Radio Analysis and Insights MARY BETH GARBER has released her third blog regarding PANDORA. She previously wrote "Telling The Truth About Radio's Relationship With 18-34s," (NET NEWS 8/4), and "Conflicted Concepts -- Drilling Down on PANDORA's Selling Propositions," (NET NEWS 8/1). Her latest is called, "PANDORA -- Is Anybody There?"
This is a series of challenges to the often illogical, sometimes mathematically impossible and largely unsubstantiated claims and positions put forward by PANDORA and by bloggers or reporters on their behalf.
It's obvious that many of the people who registered on Panndora either have duplicate (or triplicate, or quadruplicate) registrations, or that 2/3 of the people who register for Pandora must not like what they hear, because they don't use the service even
Nobody's a bigger fan of research than I am, but PANDORA's refusal to divulge the methodology used to create their "ratings" leaves many critical -- and factual questions unanswered. One big absence? Information on the way they counted their IP addresses. PANDORA does not disclose how they treat people who may turn on their player and then leave the computer. With radio, ARBITRON's PPM does not pick up the audio codes if the audio is on mute or the meter is too far away from the audio source to hear the content. Since PANDORA has no such rules, someone can turn their computer on and walk away, yet still be credited as "listening."
It's obvious that many of the people who registered on PANDORA either have duplicate (or triplicate, or quadruplicate) registrations, or that 2/3 of the people who register for PANDORA must not like what they hear, because they don't use the service even once a month. Before anyone gets excited about the latest "total number of registrations" for the service, ask how many of them are actually unique individuals and then ask why so many of them don't bother to come back.
Registrations don't make an internet music service successful. The internet is littered with the bodies of internet companies like PLAYLIST.COM, a failed music service that claimed to have about 70 million registrations right before it crashed. Regular usage is what makes an internet site successful, and regular usage is what radio has. Virtually all of Radio’s 242 million listeners use Radio at least once a week. About 75% to 80% of them use it daily. As PANDORA has admitted, only about 8% to 10% of their registrants actually use the site in a week.
We challenge PANDORA to prove that everyone they claim is listening is really there -- and that they're individual listeners, not just a few people who have signed up multiple times. And while they're at it, maybe they can explain why so few of their registrants return to the site on even a monthly basis.
Mary Beth Garber
KATZ RADIO GROUP
EVP/Radio Analysis and Insights