You’re About To Get Credit For Headphone Listening


    Starting with the October PPM reports Nielsen will adjust its estimates to account for headphone listening to encoded AM, FM and HD-multicast streams. The ratings firm says the change will increase radio’s AQH by 2-5%.

    In a webinar Tuesday Nielsen admitted that consumer use of wireless headphones is growing and the Portable People Meter device is not compatible with that technology. And, panelists may not always use the PPM headphone adapter when listening to radio stations with wired headphones. “We believe that the headphone adjustment will better account for the variety of ways panelists hear radio station streams whether out loud via radio speaker, computer speaker, or privately via wired or wireless headphones.

    The radio industry has been complaining for years that it has not been receiving proper credit for headphone listening, especially in light of the explosive growth in consumer use of wireless headphone in recent years.

    Nielsen says it will not adjust Cume estimates and since the headphone adjustment will increase market totals, AQH share estimates may be affected for all stations, whether or not they have an encoded AM/FM stream.

    Nielsen also says, in some cases, stations may experience an unusual increase in ratings based on a single panelist or home with very heavy listening that contributes more than half of a station’s audience and that will be addressed in a new process they are calling “Outlier Mitigation.”


    1. Really?
      When will radio executives understand that by comparison, they are in the horse and buggy industry. Everyday fewer and fewer of buggy’s are sold. Horses are no longer the standard or only form of transportation.
      Ask ANY random person (not in your family it industry under 30) how often they listen to a radio.
      Radio is now like the yellow pages and newspaper. Serving a much older crowd and is fast fading in to antique memory.

      • Yawn.

        It’s mystifying to me how much time is spent on radio websites and commenting on the industry by those who continue to predict its demise.

        • wake up..
          Just because laughing man reads a radio trade pub on-line (that used to be print only), doesn’t make him wrong. Radio may not be dead yet, but hospice care is around the corner.

          I know, this truth is a hard pill to swallow. Now drink your Ensure and move along.

    2. Why Nielsen can’t get up with the times and use cell phones as a way to measure and increase their sample size is beyond me. One person who is a heavy listener of one station should not dramatically affect a station’s ratings. I can’t understand why this is still acceptable. Nielsen’s methodology is outdated and inaccurate in so many ways…and the radio industry continues to take it.


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