While perhaps well intentioned, the Public Radio Podcast Measurement Guidelines document released Feb. 3 by the public radio coalition is fraught with measurement shortfalls and an inflammatory statement that threatens to undermine the credibility of podcasting and podcast measurement. RawVoice / Blubrry takes serious exception to the characterization of the podcasting industry in the first line:
“Measurement of podcast usage is, at best, the Wild West. There has been no standard or even informal consensus around how to count downloads, listeners, or time spent listening.”
For the past 11 years, RawVoice / Blubrry and other leading companies in the podcasting space have worked tirelessly to provide accurate reporting to podcasters and media buyers. The “Wild West” statement in the document is so egregiously false that RawVoice / Blubrry is asking the coalition to retract the language, and publicly recognize those who have successfully championed meticulous, rigorous and precise podcast reporting.
RawVoice / Blubrry is a podcast service provider that offers a full line of services, including podcast hosting, statistics and podcast advertising opportunities. Today 35,000 active podcasters and many major podcast networks use RawVoice / Blubrry Podcast Statistics.
“Since the introduction of our podcast statistics platform in 2005, we have strived to offer precise podcast metrics to our customers, and provide accurate media reporting metrics to the hundreds of media buyers with whom we have done business,” explains Todd Cochrane, RawVoice CEO. “Our customers and the podcast community know we have been tireless in championing accuracy in reporting and providing precise, reliable media statistics.”
In 2008, RawVoice CIO Angelo Mandato led the former Association of Downloadable Media to develop the industry’s first podcast measurement standards. These standards are the foundation of the RawVoice / Blubrry podcast metrics system today. RawVoice / Blubrry is also a member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and actively participates in ongoing podcast measurement committee work: Mandato has been instrumental in shaping the language in the forthcoming IAB podcast measurement guidelines document.
Upon reviewing the Public Radio Podcast Measurement Guidelines document, the RawVoice / Blubrry team determined that it follows many established protocols. Several protocols and standards mentioned in the document were established by RawVoice / Blubrry and other industry leaders. CIO Angelo Mandato stressed that RawVoice / Blubrry meets and exceeds these standards in areas where the coalition’s analysis falls short, and the RawVoice / Blubrry metrics system will hold true to the toughest scrutiny in the industry.
“The measurement guidelines from public radio at face value look great, but are flawed,” said Mandato, who for more than 11 years has overseen the development of podcast measurement services at Blubrry. “The public radio guidelines do not address situations where the user agent could be spoofed, which is a major concern that we (Blubrry) addressed early on in 2006 in our podcast measurement system. The public radio guidelines are missing key ingredients to prevent fraud.”
Cochrane said the RawVoice / Blubrry teams will continue to work closely with the IAB podcast measurement committee, which will later this year publish podcast measurement guidelines.
“This should address any shortfalls in the public radio measurement guidelines and set the gold standard,” Cochrane said. “In the meantime, we encourage the public radio coalition to re-engage with the IAB, and collectively we can, as one, stand behind a set of standards that serves the entire podcasting space.”
Those Media Buyers / Reporters / Podcaster looking to get a deep understanding podcast measurement are encouraged to review a recently deep dive into podcast measurement that the RawVoice / Blubrry team produced.