An agreement between NPR and Triton Digital, a provider of digital services to radio stations, will give NPR stations a new option for measuring and monetizing online audiences while also allowing the network to access analytics and metrics for all participating stations.
The master agreement between NPR and Triton, announced March 27, provides two services to stations: Webcast Metrics, which measures listening to live streams, and Ad Injector, a system that replaces on-air underwriting credits with online sponsorship credits.
“They’re independent products, but the idea is that they can work hand in hand,” says Bob Kempf, v.p. of NPR Digital Services. By more thoroughly measuring online listening, stations expect to raise more revenue through selling local sponsorships of their online streams.
Measurement of listening to web streams is uneven throughout the system, Kempf says. Some stations already use Triton, others measure pageviews of the web pages where links to their streams reside and still others aren’t measuring at all. “More stations have not been measuring consistently than those that have been,” he says.
As a result, public radio is missing opportunities for online sponsorship sales.
National Public Media, which sells underwriting for NPR and PBS, estimates that stations are already streaming about $12 million worth of credits over their web streams.
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NPR Digital Services answers questions about Triton’s Webcast Metrics system for measuring streaming audio.
“There’s an opportunity there that we’re not ready for, and we want to put the infrastructure in place for that,” Kempf says. Stations can use Ad Injector to stream sponsorship credits sold specifically for online play or, using Webcast Metrics, can aggregate on-air and online listening data and sell the same airtime to sponsors at a higher value.
“This may be easier for some stations, and there’s also an open question of which of these two models may win the day in the marketplace,” wrote Bryan Moffett, v.p. of digital strategy/ad operations for National Public Media, in an email.
Under the master agreement with Triton, stations will pay at a lower rate for streaming services than what they could negotiate individually with the vendor. Each station will have a login and access to their listening data via a web-based interface.
Meanwhile, NPR Digital Services will be able to observe all the data, comparing statistics and looking for overall trends. Triton can also break down listening by platform, such as web, iPhone, Android and other devices.
Four stations are now piloting the Ad Injector feature, which requires on-air credits to be marked with metadata so that Ad Injector can identify and replace them.