Pandora and Spotify duel over ad audience sizes and time spent on new Nielsen numbers

PandoraThe major music services Spotify and Pandora have issued competing statements pushing their digital audience numbers under the new combined mobile/desktop Nielsen numbers.

SpotifyPandora is touting its leadership in the time spent per person at 2 hours and 36 minutes, well above its rival on 2 hours and 4 minutes, while Spotify is touting its supremacy in unique audience with 2.222m, according to the new numbers – well above Pandora on 880,000.

For the first time, Pandora also shone a light on the size of Australian free-advertiser-driven service with Pandora revealing 95% of subscribers in Australia are on the ad-supported model, putting their advertising-based audience at somewhere in the order of 836,000 people.

Rick Gleave, director – business development ANZ, acknowledged Spotify’s larger unique audience but argued that advertisers should focus on engagement, saying: “Time spent is a true measure of engagement for advertisers and we’re seeing listeners spend more time with Pandora compared with other players in the industry.”

“It is even more important when you consider that, unlike our competitors, around 95% of Pandora’s audiences are engaged via our ad-supported model.”

Spotify would not be drawn on the precise Australian breakdown of its paid subscribers versus free-ad-supported subscribers, but noted global statements which put the breakdown at 25% paid and 75% ad-funded which would put Spotify’s ad-funded audience at 1.6m Australian.

“We have a significant music streaming service lead in terms of the amount of users listening to Spotify locally. Even from the Nielsen data, Spotify’s listening minutes are double that of the nearest competitor,” said a Spotify spokesman.

Spotify also said engagement is an important metric, claiming music streaming had a better engagement than radio.

“Unlike radio, our users actively curate their listening experience. Over 45% of streams on Spotify are user initiated by a user. When we consider engagement, how active our users are within the app is just as important as minutes listened,” said the spokesman.

The radio industry has long refused to acknowledge the music streaming sector as a legitimate competitor, with Commercial Radio Australia arguing that the two are a different listening experience. 

iHeart Radio, which is owned by radio operator ARN, had a unique audience of 300,000 Australians and a time spent per person of 2 hours and 3 minutes.

The Nielsen numbers are also interesting to compare with numbers put out by rival Commscore back in February, which put the unique monthly visitors for Spotify at 2.985m and Pandora at 976,000.

Commscore does not have a human mobile panel in Australia.

Nic Christensen 


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