It’s no secret that mobile radio listening is growing in Houston and worldwide, but the rapid adoption is surprising even to those who’ve been in Radio for years. The video above shows the number of mobile listeners and the number of desktop listeners for Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s 6 Houston radio stations when listened to via iHeartRadio.com or the iHeartRadio app.
There are nearly 3 times as many people tuning in from a mobile device than are from desktop computers. It’s crazy because a couple years ago, mobile listening wasn’t eve an option…now it’s dwarfing desktop listening.
In comparison to terrestrial radio stations…a weekly cume of 186,000 (CCM+E Houston’s number of weekly mobile listeners) would rank around 24th or 25th on a Houston-Galveston 6+ ranker.
Pandora announced it’s version of AQH ratings in the top 10 U.S and other select markets for September and their results are surprising for a couple of reasons. The first surprise is that they (Pandora) are claiming that they have an audience that is similar in size to many top traditional radio stations in the markets they surveyed. I doubt that this is true in any major market. By focusing on a very broad daypart (Monday-Sunday 6a-12m) and a metric that’s hard for most people to understand (AQH rating) they are muddying the waters to make a point, but I doubt they will fool anyone in the world of marketing and media. Pandora isn’t a blip on any local market’s radar screen yet and won’t be for a long time.
The second surprise is that they have the courage to make these claims and send their salespeople out into the local market with this misleading monkey on their back. Most media buyers I know could look at Pandora’s statements and see that they are not credible. It’s just my opinion but I think that Pandora is further hurting it’s already damaged marketing product perception by opening this local market can of worms without divulging more about their real number of local market listeners.
In Houston, Pandora has made the outlandish claim that rankwise, they are comparable to heritage radio stations like KODA FM (Sunny 99.1), KTBZ FM (94.5 The Buzz), KBXX FM (97.9 The Box) and KRBE FM (104.1 FM). It looks crazy, but I am anxious to read more so I can be sure. So far, Pandora has been evasive and I beleive they will continue to be. It’s hard to be transparent when you’re purpose is to deceive.
With the audience measurement tools available today, Pandora should be able to quote their cumulative audience size, which would be a much better statement about their actual audience size. To not address their cume audience is a signal that they have a small one and that they cannot quote one that would be impressive.
In summary, while Pandora is trying to say “we are as big as real radio stations, please take us seriously at the local level”, I think the message they are sending to the marketing community is “we have a tiny audience size locally so we’re making fantastic claims in hopes that people don’t see the truth”. It’s going to be interesting watching Pandora and iHeartradio compete.
iHeartradio will win and it will be a joy to watch!