Pandora founder Tim Westergren, speaking to advertising executives last week, stressed the need for a "universal metric" to measure listening to both traditional, broadcast radio and Internet radio services like his own.
"It's really absurd there's not an apples-to-apples" comparison, he told a group of advertising professionals at agency Horizon Media.
Pandora reported $176 million in ad revenues for its fiscal year ending July 31. Advertisers spent $17 billion on AM/FM radio advertising last year; and as Pandora says it now owns 4% of radio listening in the U.S., the webcaster obviously feels a bigger slice of that pie.
In fact, this sounds like exactly what audience metrics firm Arbitron is working towards now. Over the past few months, Arbitron has revealed some of its plans for an integrated over-the-air and Internet radio measurement system (in RAIN here and also here). Towards these efforts, the company acquired Finnish mobile audience measurement and analytics firm Zokem Oy (see RAIN here) in July, then partnered with Belgian ad tech firm AdSwizz last month (in RAIN here). Arbitron EVP/COO Sean Creamer explained AdSwizz will, in fact, convert server-based streaming radio data (such as from webcasters) into traditional broadcast radio metrics like Average Quarter Hour, Time Spent Listening, and Cumulative Audience.
Without a platform-agnostic metric, Chief Revenue Officer John Trimble explained Pandora sales efforts involve "doing manual calculations to turn unique visitors and time spent into traditional-radio metrics such as average quarterly hour," reports. Read more here.