Commercial Radio Australia tells music streaming industry to fend for itself on measurement

Joan Warner

CRA CEO Joan Warner

Commercial Radio Australia’s (CRA) boss Joan Warner has said the radio industry does not see the inclusion of music streaming services, such as Pandora, Spotify and Rdio, in the new radio ratings system as a priority.

Speaking on the eve of the launch of the new radio ratings survey under GfK Warner told Mumbrella’s Media Metrics Masterclass yesterday that CRA’s priority would be in bedding down the new ratings system which launched today.

“I think we’ll leave the Pandoras and Rdios of the world to look after themselves for the time being,” Warner told the room.

“We survey radio usage – we don’t survey use of music streaming services. I’m not saying it is completely ruled out in the future but I think measurement of online music and streaming services is very difficult.

“We would like to get our new ratings system bedded down and everyone happy with GfK and explore electronic measurement as part of our system in the first years.”

Warner also noted current legal disputes about online music streaming which further complicated the area, as dozens of regional stations have been forced to turn off streaming services for fear they may be charged twice for royalty payments.

“We are going through a bit of a dispute at the moment over copyright, geo-blocking and how if your IP address is somewhere else (through a virtual private network) and you are based in Australia no one knows. It is an evolving area and at the moment the answer is no,” she said.

Jane Huxley

Jane Huxley

Jane Huxley managing director of music streaming site Pandora, said Australia’s streaming sites would be forced to use hybrid forms of measurement until the broader industry bodies recognise the “massive change” that music streaming was causing in the music and radio space.

“I will follow in the steps of Pandora in the US and we will look to implement hybrid measurement here until such time that we as an industry can work cooperatively in measuring this,” Huxley, who claims 1.5 million Australian registered users on her service, told Mumbrella.

“It is a matter of time. Frankly the cheese has moved and (media) agencies are going to start demanding measurement in this space in the next year or so, and then the market will move to meet that demand.”

Huxley said she was in talks with various audience measurement companies to find a way around CRA’s 2013 decision to exclude them from the new measurement system.

“We are exploring Commscore, Nielsen and even using Triton data from the US who can look at Australia and New Zealand as a territory,” she said and also expressed a willingness to look at third party auditing.

“I understand it”, said Huxley referring to the CRA’s opposition to including a digital competitor in the ratings.

“This is an issue that needs to be solved across the organisations. I can’t see a time when Commercial Radio Australia is going to go ‘awesome more streaming music players let’s all skip into the sunset together’. That didn’t happen in the US and it won’t happen here.”

The issue of including streaming services in an industry metric is a growing concern as more and more overseas services launch in Australia and also as many Australian networks such as Southern Cross Austereo and Australian Radio Network launch their own services.

Gai Le Roy director of research for the online advertisers’ industry body IAB Australia said that the issue was one the IAB would look at as part of its upcoming tender for online and mobile measurement. “This is definitely an area we are looking at and our mobile panel will look at apps, browsing and all the streaming services,” said Le Roy.

“We have quite good relationships with the radio stations and the streaming services and we are hoping to help the industry with data on that complete picture.”

Nic Christensen


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.