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It’s all about your listeners. Your people, your programming, your gear… they’re all focused on building and retaining your audience.

We don’t have to tell you about the direct link between the size and composition of your audience—as measured and reported by your ratings—and your advertising revenue. That’s why it’s vital to you that every panelist in your market is accurately measured and that every station is playing on a level field.

Introducing Voltair, designed to give you greater confidence that every listener is counted when it counts the most.


Ratings, Programming & Technical Operations

Radio ratings have been called “a game of inches,” where winners and losers are sometimes decided by the thinnest of margins. Station management teams have always carefully monitored their markets’ listener data and taken action to maximize ratings and revenue.

With changes in rating survey methodologies in recent years, many program directors report making more dramatic changes than ever before. For example, dayparts have been moved, local breaks have been reduced, and programming clocks have become more rigid in response to the hard, quarter-hour boundaries of ratings credit. Likewise, the industry has seen changes in audio processing practices, airchain device order and other station engineering procedures—all in service to optimal performance of watermark-based ratings technologies.

Because ratings performance data is provided on a delayed basis, stations lack the means to conduct real-time analysis of audience response. Programmers have had limited insight into what efforts are of benefit and why. Hence, most station efforts to optimize their performance in ratings have been trial and error, with little insight into what may or may not be effective.


Understanding The Current Ratings Ecosystem

25-Seven® has been following the deployment of watermark-based rating methodologies since they were introduced. We’ve spoken with many program directors and engineers, getting their perspectives on the overall system architecture and the results of their optimization efforts.

After researching the publicly available data on the technology, our team of broadcast and audio experts uncovered the variables that contribute to watermark integrity. More importantly, we developed Voltair to provide you with the tools you need to monitor and analyze these variables, providing you with data to inform your technical and programming decisions.


What did we find?

Audio Content—The spectral characteristics of your audio content—music, announcer voices, etc.—may negatively impact the robustness of your watermark encoding. Simply put, some audio content encodes well while other content does not.

Listener Environment—A listener’s device may not detect particular content because of their current acoustic environment. A song or voice may not, for example, decode as well in a car as it does in a bedroom.

To address these issues, we needed to account for the highly complex set of interactions among the encoding and decoding processes, the audio properties of content, and listeners’ acoustic environments. We developed a totally new set of easy-to-use tools for Voltair to analyze and help you manage the consequences of these interactions.