Arbitron To Offer Webcast Measuring Service

Audience measurement outfit Arbitron, Inc. calls them “streamies,” otherwise known as people who dial up or request audio or video streams over the Internet.

They’re also called desirable demos, early-adopter media consumers with higher than usual incomes and education levels — just the disposable cash that advertisers want to reach.

Now, Arbitron has unveiled a Webcast Audience Profile service designed to tell advertisers and Webcasters even more about those “streamies.”

The subscription-based Webcast Audience Profile service was built around the results of a pilot program that Arbitron and NetRadio conducted in March and April of this year.

About 4,000 NetRadio listeners took part in the pop-up pilot surveys. The results showed that for the most part, the audience is well-educated and Internet-savvy, said Arbitron. For example, nearly three quarters (73 percent) of the survey said they held undergraduate or post-graduate degrees and close to one-fifth of the survey respondents reported annual incomes above $100,000.

In addition, the survey found that 72 percent of the respondents reported spending $100 or more online in the past year and that NetRadio’s audience uses the Internet for an average of three hours per day and more than half tune in while at work.

The number of streaming media and consumers tuning into radio online is growing very rapidly, added Bill Rose, general manager and vice president of Arbitron’s new service. “That number has gone from 6 percent of the total US population to about 20 percent within the past two years.”

So while the number of “streamies” is still paltry compared to 98 percent of Americans who watch television and the 95 percent who listen to traditional radio, Webcasters and advertisers still see lots of value in reaching this audience, and knowing who it is, he said.

“Sellers, planners and buyers have told us that Webcasting’s ability to deliver a targeted message to an upscale, Internet savvy audience is the medium’s most compelling benefit for advertisers today,” said Rose. “Therefore, it is crucial for Webcasters to have demographic, socio-economic and Internet usage profiles of their streaming media audience.”

Stephen Holderman, executive vice president of NetRadio, said the ability to offer advertisers an audience profile from an objective, third-party source is vital to the growth of the streaming media industry in general.

Rose likened Arbitron’s emerging effort to offer advertisers and Webcasters information about a small but highly-attractive demographic very similar to the early days of the cable industry. The audience was small on early cable channels, but programmers began to sell ads based not on volume, but special demographics.

“We’re pretty much at the same stage with (with streaming media channels),” he said. “We’re starting to see the beginning of Internet-only broadcasters, with content meant exclusively for those online.”

The service launch also is expected to help boost Arbritron’s efforts to evolve from its traditional media audience measurement base and to grow revenues by helping clients understand evolving Internet and Web media.

And as the number of online broadcasters proliferates — there’s now an estimated 5,000 online radio stations, for example — Rose said the possibilities with measuring those audiences, quantitatively as well as quantitatively, are endless.

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