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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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