Nielsen on total audio measurement: “We feel good about progress”

nielsen canvasNielsen held its quarterly earning call for Q1 yesterday. While much of the reporting pertained to non-audio products and initiatives, CEO Mitch Barns answered questions about audio measurement, and the progress of Nielsen’s stream measurement initiative.

“We made good progress on digital audio, where we’re working with more than 30 players across the industry to implement our SDK in their apps and players,” Barns told investors.

“We are right where we thought we would be.” –Mitch Barns Nielsen CEO

The SDK (software Development Kit) is how Nielsen’s stream ratings technology is packaged, requiring client-side implementation — that means webcasters integrate Nielsen’s software with the player that listeners use to consume audio streams. In the most publicized instances, technology vendors that provide streaming solutions to broadcasters and Internet stations have bundled in Nielsen’s SDK — including Triton Digital, WO Streaming, TuneGenie, and jācapps mobile apps.

mitch barnsBarns updated the scale of Nielsen’s incremental movement into the digital ratings market. “We now are working with more than 30 of the players in the marketplace with their Apps and with their audio players that work browsers,” he said during the call. “They implement our SDK, so that we can measure the audiences for their digital streaming service. That’s a great sign of progress.”

Moving incrementally into the digital ratings market, client-by-client, allows Nielsen to put its technology in play without confronting the question of how a holistic picture of analog and digital ratings will eventually be presented to the buy side — advertisers and agencies. Barns said that audio is moving toward that answer similarly to “total audience” measurement on the TV/video side.

“What’s going to happen in the audio world is very similar to the video world. The digital players and the industrial players, as well as the media agencies that sit between need to come together and agree on how those audience metrics will be recorded, as we bring together the terrestrial and digital parts of that market. That is still a work progress. It is in fact progressing, but it is not across the line yet. On audio we are right where we thought we would be, we feel very good about that progress and we look forward to seeing it continuing to unfold.”

On the financial side, Nielsen reported 2% growth of the Nielsen Audio business. “The radio industry has always had an opportunity to tell a story more effectively about the return on investing in advertising on the radio,” Barns said. “Nielsen is helping in this issue by bringing our analytic capabilities and showing what that return is, and in fact it’s better than many people expected. So we’ll continue to see a gradual build in our business with audio clients.”


Brad Hill