Clear Channel and Slacker also saw strong growth, but both were dwarfed by Pandora's increase of nearly 60,000 AAS (Average Active Sessions, which is essentially equivalent to AQH — i.e., average simultaneous listeners) from September.
(The chart above shows the growth of Pandora, CBS, Clear Channel, the top 5 terrestrial radio groups and Slacker from September 2009 to October 2011. Note that Pandora's AAS numbers from December 2010 through mid-August 2011 were affected by the omission of tracking code in some of its mobile apps. Click to view in full size.)
Pandora's audience grew 8% month-to-month in the Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m daypart ranker. Its AAS, though listed at 812,337 in the October charts, is likely much higher (see our RAIN Analysis below).
Meanwhile, Clear Channel's AAS grew over 15,000 from September, a 17% increase. October was the first full month that the broadcaster's new customizable iHeartRadio service was available (RAIN coverage here).
That growth, coupled with CBS Radio's AAS decline (explained below), pushed Clear Channel into CBS Radio's long-held #2 spot in Triton's Domestic 6a-12m daypart ranker. Clear Channel also appeared in Triton's All Streams 6a-12m daypart ranker for the first time, again bumping CBS Radio down a peg to grab the #1 spot.
CBS Radio fell to #3 in the Domestic ranker after an AAS decline of over 11,000 from September (-12%). In October, AOL Radio, whose more than 350 Internet-only music channels were part of the CBS Radio online family, moved its programming to Slacker. AOL Radio also, at that time, cut its ad-load in half and introduced new personalization features (RAIN coverage here).
RAIN Analysis: Pandora's AAS is listed at 812,337 in Triton Digital's Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m daypart ranker, but it is probably much higher -- perhaps nearly 1.2 million. Triton does not measure Pandora One subscriber listening, nor listening on certain consumer electronic devices according to Pandora's Deborah Roth.
Last week RAIN's Kurt Hanson calculated that Pandora's AAS was around 1.1 million in September, based on the webcaster's reported 2.1 billion hours of listening in its fiscal third quarter (Aug.-Oct. 2011). You can find Hanson's math and analysis here.
Assuming around 7% monthly growth, that would imply Pandora's AAS of 1.1 million in September would increase to just under 1.2 million in October. -- MS, KH