The great SA internet radio stats debacle explained

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In the world of South African internet radio, all eyes were recently on NetDynamix, the audio streaming provider that services online radio stations such as 2OceansVibe Radio and Ballz Radio.

Richard Hardiman from 2OceansVibe radio claims that the internet radio station attracts an average listenership of 35 000 [an hour], while Ballz co-founder Darren Scott, a former national DJ, recently told media news site Media Update that “weekly statistics for May show an average hourly listenership of just over 51 000 between 12:00 and 18:00″. Shaun Dewberry an IT specialist from Pretoria, called the numbers reported by the radio stations into question.

The radio stations pointed to NetDynamix, saying that they are only reporting the numbers as provided by the audio streaming provider. If they are doing just that, they might have misinterpreted NetDynamix’s figures.

In a press release, NetDynamix gives the following explanation of the numbers given through to the radio stations.

“NetDynamix, on request, provide their clients with numbers based on “sessions”. A session is defined as a connection to the server(s) in order to receive the audio/video stream. This does not take into account that a listener could change devices or lose their connection to the server, at which point it needs to be reestablished, or the change in IP address of that connection or change in route from point of connection to breakout onto the internet; to name just a few examples of multiple sessions being initiated to the service. It would not be in the interest of NetDynamix to give their clients any information other than the raw numbers generated by these “sessions”.

The figures reported to the radio stations are sessions and not unique listeners and it is the responsibility of the radio stations to report the numbers as such.

For example, NetDynamix states that on a random day in May of this year, Ballz Radio initiated a total number of 59 764 sessions during the hour of 2PM to NetDynamix’s servers.

It’s quite clear then. Since we are counting sessions, it would be remiss to say that Ballz Radio had 59 764 total listeners during the hour. If I connected to the radio station, lost my internet connection and reconnected, I would create two sessions. Yet, I am only one listener.

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  • Paul

    That’s probably not the main issue here — tha would reduce the number of listeners by only a small factor, whereas we’re talking close to a factor of 100. The main issue is that the Shoutcast server that has been providing the service is only reporting a few hundred active SESSIONS at any time — and in fact is capped to never be able to serve more than a few thousand simultaneous SESSIONS.

    And that’s why Dewberry calls the statistics “lies” rather than just mistaken terminology.

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  • Dunce

    Ballz and 2oceansvibe don’t seem to be misinterpreting anything if they have already published (and Netdynamix admitted fault) how they get the numbers which were given as listeners, not sessions.

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  • R Hardiman

    I think we stated, proved and delivered verified proof that Netdynamix were offering both 2ov.fm and Ballz radio “Listeners” not “Sessions” as figures in their reports to us.

    Sessions were never requested by us nor Ballz. The very word was only put into this arena post the “scandal”. We wanted listener figures from our service provider and were provided with reports from them reflecting this.

    For NetDynamix to retroactively say that “sessions” were requested is disingenuous and quite frankly not remotely true – we have ample proof of this.

    The numbers we quoted were also never quoted as unique nor concurrent but simply “listeners” coming in and out of the stream through an hour.

    There was and could not be any misinterpretation of the numbers that were provided as they were labelled “listeners” and when questioned and pushed, remained so. As a company they had ample opportunity to correct us, take us aside and suggest using alternative phrasing or terminology. They never once did.

    R Hardiman

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