Music streaming audience measurement ‘by end of year’ as iHeart Radio releases first local data

iheart radioMusic streaming services are set to have their own audience measurement system in place by the end of the year, with interest from US data collection company Triton lifting hopes for the industry.

Jane Huxley, managing director of streaming site Pandora, said securing a measurement system is a key focus for her as the space becomes increasingly crowded and marketers demand measurable returns for their dollars.

Earlier this year Joan Warner, CEO of Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), said the inclusion of music streaming sites would not be a priority in the current radio ratings service.

The news comes on the day the Australian Radio Network’s (ARN) iHeart Radio streaming service announced its first download figures, with 308,000 downloads of the app so far and 207,000 registered users signing up.

Pandora claims 1.5m registered Australian users and Huxley says it is growing by around 30,000 listeners a week in a member get member model that has seen its audience steadily rise since it launched in December 2012, Huxley said.

With support from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and interest from Triton she expects something to be secured by December.

According the ARN the app, launched outside of the US for the first time in Australia, has also generated 7.3 million page impressions and recorded 260,000 unique visitors to its web and mobile sites. The mobile app has had 146,000 unique visitors and generated 2.2m hours of mobile streaming, as well as 1.5m hours of music streaming via the website, with 45.5m tracks streamed in Australia.

Geraint Davies, head of iHeartRadio internationally, said the figures mirror expectations of brand recognition and audience numbers in Australia and the brand’s live concerts with Kylie Minogue in Melbourne and Ed Sheeran in Sydney last month boosted registrations by 11 per cent and helped iHeart cross the threshold of 300,000 users.

“We want to continue to create as many opportunities as possible for iHeart Radio customers to physically interact with the brand, the music and artists they love,” Davies said.

In its audience research also released today shows almost two thirds of its listeners, 62 per cent, are aged 25-54 and the other third are under 25. Around eight per cent of listeners are aged 55 and over.

This comes as iHeart launched an Australian music news station in collaboration with music news site and updated its advertising services to include audio ads, which can be synchronised with digital display ads that click through to advertiser’s websites.

Huxley said Pandora has run linked audio and display ads since launch and this has been the best performing ad service on the site.

“Wherever marketers are investing money they are looking increasingly for measurable returns,” she said.

“This is what the precursor to a lot of dollars moving online was in the first place, so I think it’s inevitable that clients will demand it and it’s inevitable that we’ll end up with a solution that works. The question is just how long it will take, and it’s probably one of the things I spend more time working on right now. More than anything else, we’ve got to get it solved.”

A spokeswoman for ARN said the network “would welcome discussion on the ongoing evolution to address the ever increasing ways that audiences consume radio”.

CRA’s CEO Warner has also noted an ongoing legal dispute had complicated the area of online music streaming as regional stations were forced to turn off streaming services for fear they might be charged twice for royalty payments.

But Huxley said there has been support from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which is looking to move the issue along with the mobile tender, and interest from Triton in the US, which she said would  be able to take audience measurement a step further than GfK for music streaming sites and apps.

“The issue we have continues to be the fact we are a hybrid platform so the challenge for us is building a credible measurement that shows the full picture of the Pandora listening spectrum and it will eventually end up being a congregation and aggregate of numbers that really represents the picture best,” Huxley said.



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.