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Thursday, January 8, 2015

iHeartMedia Responds. "Edison Doesn't Understand Consumers"


Yesterday we linked to a blog written by Edison Research President Larry Rosin who questioned the growth of the iHeartMedia app. That didn't sit well with the folks at iHeartMedia. The company responded by sending Radio Ink a statement to Rosin concluding that "the stagnation of iHeartRadio cannot be blamed on lack of growth in the space. Pandora has grown 32% in the 16 months since iHeart?s peak. The closest thing to a possible clue is that most all of the sites that are geared (or mostly geared) to the streams of AM/FM Radio stations are flat or down since May of 2013." iHeartMedia says Edison simply doesn't understand consumers.

Here's the full statement from the company...

"The blog you posted today about Edison?s take on iHeartRadio?s growth shows one thing in particular:  That Edison simply doesn?t understand consumers.  For consumers, digital listening isn?t a discrete or different activity; the smartphone is just a portable radio to be used along with the car radio, the kitchen radio, the clock radio and the office radio.  We don?t think of the office radio as its own unique listening ? and nor should we for the smartphone. What makes more sense to discuss is ?total listening,? which would combine total digital listening with broadcast radio listening to represent all platforms consumers are using."

"And on the digital front, objective third-party measurement makes clear that iHeartMedia continues to expand its strong digital presence.  Digital monthly uniques for the iHeartMedia Digital Network grew 61% year to date, which is even more impressive given that 92% of listening in America happens on AM/FM broadcast radio ? and digital listening is additive for us.   And in reality, a metric like ?Average Active Sessions? is not useful -- for the simple reason that nobody knows whether the length of the session is 5 seconds or 5 minutes, or the reasons behind starting a new session.  More station starts could simply mean less consumer satisfaction -- or lower quality due to technical problems."

"When discussing consumer listening, it?s helpful to have a full understanding of consumers? actual audio behavior."

(1/7/2015 5:39:29 AM)
If iHeart wants to say Nielsen's sample is more accurate than Ando's actual, wooo, go for it - and say buh bye to any credibility. The hard truth is in these #s: In April '13, iHeart Radio had 332,756 "average active sessions" Aug '14: 332,263 Spin that. Or better yet, change strategy, this one isn't working.
(1/7/2015 5:33:19 AM)
What's the one compelling & unique attribute of the iHeart app? Aside from expanded distribution of A/F stations, the app offers a subpar version of Pandora & Songza & loads of on-demand content. But as far as one unique and defining characteristic (such as Pandora's "personalized radio"), it's not there. That's why iHeart is far behind Pandora, iTunes Radio, Spotify and SoundCloud.

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