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Stats: how Absolute Radio is consumed online

Posted on Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 at 2:43 pm. #

Absolute Software's taxi

Before we begin
You might be wondering why I blog a fair amount about Absolute Radio’s figures. Indeed, a few days ago, I was chatting to one programme director who was particularly irritated at the amount of press Absolute Radio gets. His station’s almost as big, and he was annoyed that Absolute seem to have a particularly high profile in the industry.

Here’s the reason: Absolute release this stuff. I’m on their list. (Here’s my details). No other commercial radio station releases this data. Some grumble under their breath about Absolute’s relentless press release schedule; others moan that, since Absolute doesn’t geo-lock their streams and only quote global figures, they’re not comparable to stations that have made the choice to geo-lock their streams.

However, the BBC and Absolute Radio do release this stuff (here’s the BBC’s figures). They deliberately use the same methodology: you’re not a listener unless you listen for longer than 6 seconds, and figures quoted are total monthly listening hours (and some more technical things too). I’d be keen to understand why other broadcasters don’t release their online figures. Should Absolute release UK-only figures, perhaps, to aid comparison? Is that the only sticking point to get Global, GMG, Bauer, et al, to the party?

Anyway, hot on the heels of today’s RAJAR release about new platforms, here’s Absolute Radio’s their released stats, with my commentary in italics…

- Mobile listening is up 305% year on ear
- Online live streamed hours up 40.2% year on year
- In total The Absolute Radio Network serviced 11.1million hours of online audio content in November

Absolute Radio has posted its highest ever figure for mobile listening with 353,000 hours streamed via a mobile platform in November. This is up a massive 305% year on year from 87,000 in November 2009. Mobile listening now accounts for 4% of all of the networks streamed hours compared to 1% last year.

(Out of all the shouting about listening on mobiles, and notwithstanding Absolute’s excellent apps – 20 of them – on all mobile platforms, it just accounts for 4% of streaming hours – or, alternatively, mobile internet accounts for 0.4% of all Absolute’s radio listening (82,000 hours a week vs 18.1m total hours in RAJAR). Given that Absolute claim 1.5 million app downloads, this would tend to suggest that they are outperforming many other radio owners. Is radio on your mobile really the future? Or is this Emperor’s New Clothes time?)

- In total, The Absolute Radio Network (Absolute Radio, Absolute Classic Rock, Absolute 80s, Absolute Radio 90s and Absolute Radio extra) streamed an all time high of 9.4million hours of live online streamed hours in November. This figure is up 40.2% year on year.

(The Absolute Radio Network does 18,192,000 hours a week across all platforms, according to RAJAR. These figures would tend to suggest a maximum of 12% of their total hours (2.2m a week) is done on the internet – though their streaming figures are global and thus over-estimate. “We don’t yet publish a UK-only streaming figure”, said a spokeswoman for the station after I enquired after one on your behalf, dear reader. Note the ‘yet’.)

- In November the Absolute Radio Network serviced a total of 1.8 million on-demand hours via IP connected devices. This on-demand figure consists of all audio and video content available online through downloaded podcasts, audio clips, live sessions and videos both on www.absoluteradio.co.uk and third party sites.

(In other words, just 16% of their streaming is on-demand, even if they lump video in there. The BBC achieves twice this percentage, though, of course, the editorial offer is quite different. “Non-interactive” live radio – stuff that’s lean-back, not lean-forward – is still the most interesting to consumers.)

Absolute’s figures are impressive: but mobile’s consumption, as 0.4% of total listening to the network, isn’t yet delivering anything near the numbers that all the industry hype would suggest. Would you agree?


commenting at December 15th, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Heh…. ‘year on ear.’

James Cridland
commenting at December 15th, 2010 at 10:12 pm

That’s how it came from Absolute. Funny how neither of us noticed that…

Will 2011 be the year that internet radio will pass traditional radio? - Quora
commenting at January 5th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

[...] for streaming & mobile listening produced in the UK by the Absolute Network and analysed at http://james.cridland.net/blog/s…)Insert a dynamic date hereCannot add comment at this [...]

Elsewhere: Will 2011 be the year that internet radio will pass traditional radio? — curnow.org
commenting at January 6th, 2011 at 10:39 am

[...] (There are some interesting figures for streaming & mobile listening produced in the UK by the Absolute Network and analysed at James Cridland’s blog.) [...]

LTE for radio? No thanks - James Cridland
commenting at March 30th, 2011 at 5:12 pm

[...] amount of radio listening – Absolute Radio’s multitude of apps is responsible for 0.4% of their total radio listening, as an example. A large Norwegian station told me a few weeks ago, [...]

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