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Arbitron Releases December Webcast Ratings

Arbitron released its InfoStream Webcast ratings for December 1999. The top three stations in terms of total listeners are TexasRebelRadio,com, from Austin, Texas (57,800 cumulative listeners), KPIG.com, an adult alternative station from Monterey, California. (56,600 listeners) and CD93.com from Monterey, California (46,600).

This is Arbitron's second month of ratings of webcast radio stations. Both KPIG and CD93 were also in the top three for November 1999.

In terms of time spent listening, the top three sites were WGMS.com from Washington, D.C. (with 7 hours and 53 minutes average time spent tuning), KPLA.com from Columbia, Missouri (six hours and 31 minutes) and SmoothJazz1059.com. from Washington, D.C. (5 hours and 23 minutes).

The biggest surprise in these ratings is that the total audience listening for December was slightly lower than that of November and October. However, the top webcasters have the same slots for total monthly listeners and average time spent tuning in.

Arbitron attributes the decline in reported listenership to experimentation. "As the popularity of streaming media stations increase, it is reasonable to expect a slight decline in online listenership for individual Internet channels since the audience is prone to experiment with various sites," said Joan FitzGerald, director of marketing, Arbitron Internet Information Services. "However, the average time spent tuning to individual Webcast channels have remained basically the same, showing that people are continuing to log onto their favorite sites and these streaming media channels are building audience loyalty."

The decline can also be attributed to listeners tuning in to non-participating stations. That's because Arbitron only captures listener information on companies that elect (and pay) to be part of the Arbitron study. Unfortunately, big streaming radio providers like Yahoo! Broadcast and WebRadio.com aren't a part of Arbitron's service and are therefore not counted.

Arbitron gets its ratings by installing server-side software that monitors the visitors and length of time of "Internet tuning sessions of unique players" to participating stations. The December ratings compiled listening estimates for approximately 850,000 unique listeners and 290 channels of audio programming. The participating streaming media services including Activate.net, INTERVU, NextVenue, Evoke, ZDTV Radio, The Broadcastweb Network, eYada and Woodstock Broadcasting Network.

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