Is NextRadio Growing…or Sinking?


From Radio Ink:

The latest statistics from Emmis regarding NextRadio show the popularity in the app is still on the rise. NextRadio allows listeners to access their favorite radio station on select Sprint phones without using data. In addition to the NextRadio app being downloaded over 240,000 times, listeners have tuned to nearly nearly 8,000 radio stations racking up over 190,000 hours of listening through the app since it was launched. In January and February of 2014, the average minutes listeners used the app jumped 62% and the average listening sessions every day was up 76%.

While this is a faithful reprinting of a news release, it’s lacking the necessary thoughtful analysis.

Let’s take a close look at the numbers.

To give NextRadio the maximum advantage, I will focus only on the most recent reporting period, which was their strongest to date: As of March 17, 2014, a total of 190,000 hours of listening were measured. That includes a record high 40,000 hours in the most recent 14 day measurement period.

Now let’s do some math.

If we divide the total number of hours listened during the period by the total number of hours available during that period, we get the average number of listeners during any given hour. For example, if there are 10 hours of listening and only 5 hours available in the listening window, that’s an average audience of 2 listeners.

Here we have 14 days, representing 336 hours (14 days x 24 hours per day). If I divide the 40,000 hours of content consumed by the total number of hours during which they were consumed (40,000 / 336), we get an average of 119 listeners during any given hour.

Let me repeat that for emphasis: After almost 7 months, the NextRadio platform currently services an average audience of 119 listeners.

Let’s be generous and guess it’s three times that during drive time: 360 listeners! Then, of course, it would drop to almost nothing overnight.

So while much of the radio industry is spending money hand over fist in the hopes of monetizing these 119 listeners, let’s all stand back for a moment.

Let’s stand back and recognize that a positive direction for the radio industry is not the same as a positive spin in a news release.

Let’s stand back and realize that the download count for any app is virtually irrelevant. Ask any VC and she will tell you that it’s engagement she’s investing in, not downloads. Engagement. As in, are consumers coming back to the platform over and over? Is the platform “sticky’? Does the platform solve a problem for consumers which needs solving repeatedly? Where are those metrics in this news release?

Let’s stand back and realize that all the big numbers and all the puffy percentages in all the world don’t matter a bit if it’s in service to an average of only 119 listeners.

I’m not against NextRadio, not by a long shot. Good luck to them! May they achieve massive popularity and success! Their hearts are certainly in the right place and their intentions are laudable.

What I am against are smoke and mirrors masquerading as progress. I’m against news releases putting positive spin ahead of positive results. These kinds of communications keep us from asking questions like “how do we attract more consumers to this platform?” because we’re too busy patting ourselves on the back and dancing as fast as we can.

Less fauxmentum, more momentum, please.

If your wedding is larger than your audience, that’s a bad thing.

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  • Steve Varholy

    Mark, there’s no way to look under their hood from the site, but I assume NextRadio is basically an implementation of RadioDNS. It’s a neat idea and UK broadcasters are doing some neat implementations of the service to serve up dynamic content across varied platforms. But I still believe it is a broadcaster driven enhancement of a product that still doesn’t address consumer needs or desires. I am not hopeful about NextRadio catching on given the poor acceptance of IBOC and the uneven implementation of RDS. If we can get to the point where consumers desire a station that they can seamlessly follow on whatever device they have, then NextRadio/RadioDNS will be gangbusters. But in the very broadly painted main, commercial broadcasters are still hollowing out the product in the interest of cutting costs. Fix the product first, then make it widely and easily available.

  • It all begins with the product, Steve, you’re right.

    Actually, it begins with consumers. And THEN it begins with the product.

  • Robin S

    Mark, They are doing it all wrong. Thee new system using our new, base technology (which was designed from the ground up to migrate radio into the digital world) has launched and we already have clients. We know exactly what we are doing and are gratefully available to assist any radio group to get up to speed with what is happening. synchronicity.co

  • Robin S

    well the consumers of radio are there, you just have to reach them 😉

  • Robin S

    Why are you rejecting my comments?

  • In the ten minutes you sent these I wasn’t there to moderate. 🙂

    Thanks Robin

    Mark Ramsey

  • Robin S

    oh, oops. used to the free-wheeling web, sry.

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  • caradioguy

    Please send any Sales people that are trying to sell NextRadio our way! PULSE 87 delivers more listening in 2 weeks than NextRadio has since last Fall! 🙂 Thanks!

  • You need to provide a phone number! 🙂

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  • I don’t think I did, Christian. You are deriving average listening from data which is not here. The data here creates an average at any given time. If that average is clustered here and there (based on total time spent listening) it doesn’t change the overall average.

    PS Sorry to post this so late. I had been gone and didn’t see your note come through.