Here it is: Shoutcast Ballz and 2Oceansvibe listener figures

MyBroadband has crunched the Shoutcast log files provided by NetDynamix to bring you the number of listeners for Ballz and 2Oceansvibe radio

July 1, 2012
Ballz-2Oceansvibe

After days of uncertainty, legal threats, backwards and forwards allegations and conflicting claims by the main parties, MyBroadband can finally provide the listener figures for Ballz Visual Radio and 2Oceansvibe Radio based on the Shoutcast log files provided to us by NetDynamix.

After the shocking report by IT expert Shaun Dewberry, which claimed that online radio listener statistics by online radio stations are massively inflated, MyBroadband asked for a meeting with NetDynamix to gain access to the raw log files for their streaming media server.

NetDynamix agreed to this meeting, and provided MyBroadband with the log files for its Shoutcast servers for both Ballz Visual Radio and 2Oceansvibe Radio.  NetDynamix CEO Chris Grant confirmed that these were the same log files used to provide the two online radio stations with audited statistics.

However, Grant highlighted that they are not statisticians and that they made a mistake to provide session data as listeners. Grant added that they will gladly apologize if their figures are wrong.

Although NetDynamix was unable to provide a way (like Shoutcast server access) to verify the authenticity of the logs and to ensure that they were not tampered with, MyBroadband accepted the monthly log files for May 2012 in good faith.

According to Dewberry, NetDynamix used only Shoutcast servers for each radio station, and to date there is no evidence to suggest that this is not the case (see the article regarding the servers and web applets used by NetDynamix).

To ensure accuracy MyBroadband used the services of the European based TouchCast SA which delivers software solutions to help broadcasters improve their understanding of their audiences.  Touchcast SA has specialized software, called Casterstats, which is used specifically for creating online radio listener statistics from server log files.

A TouchCast SA representative was provided with the log files, and they provided MyBroadband with a range of audience measurements about Ballz Visual Radio and 2Oceansvibe Radio for May 2012.  This includes the unique listeners per hour, unique listeners and the popular online streaming measure AQH (Average Quarter Hour).

TouchCast SA used accepted industry standards to produce statistics around the bounce rate, contact rates and sessions.

To ensure that the statistics from these Shoutcast logs are accurate, MyBroadband called on local IT experts (Neology director) Roelf Diedericks and Tim Haak to also analyze the Shoutcast logs and produce listenership figures.  Their findings were in line with the reports provided by TouchCast SA.

Ballz Visual Radio

Ballz Visual Radio founder Darren Scott said in early June their “weekly statistics for May show an average hourly listenership of just over 51,000 between 12:00 and 18:00″.

When quizzed about their statistics Ballz Visual Radio was entirely transparent, and provided MyBroadband with any information required to assist us in the investigation and reporting.

It was clear that Scott and Ballz Visual Radio trusted on the statistics provided by NetDynamix to provide listener figures. These reports, which Scott sent to MyBroadband without hesitation, showed that the station’s total hourly listeners peaked at around 60,000.

The following graphs show the statistics provided by TouchCast SA for the May 2012 Shoutcast log files for Ballz Visual Radio provided by NetDynamix. All the stats are produced on hourly intervals to eliminate confusion.

  • AQH for weekdays from 6am to 6pm for May 2012 (Average Quarter Hour is the total number of users who listened or viewed your channel for at least 5 minutes every 15 minute period averaged out over an hour)
  • Peaks for May 2012 (the number of concurrent users during a selected time)
  • Unique users per hour

Listener graphs for Ballz Visual Radio:

Ballz Visual Radio AQH for May 2012

Ballz Visual Radio AQH for May 2012

Ballz Visual Radio peaks for May 2012

Ballz Visual Radio peaks for May 2012

Ballz Visual Radio hourly unique users for May 2012

Ballz Visual Radio hourly unique users for May 2012

These graphs show that Ballz Visual Radio typically has between 200 and 300 listeners when the show is live (hence not off-peak hours when the listenership drops significantly).

This is a far cry from the claimed listenership of over 50,000 per hour based on NetDynamix’s reports.  There are however good reasons to believe that a listenership of between 200 and 300 per hour is accurate (discussed at the end of this article).

2Oceansvibe Radio

2OceansVibe Radio co-founder Richard Hardiman said at a recent conference that their “current listenership over an hour – people coming in and people coming out – rates at about 60,000 an hour”.

2OceansVibe recently posted the listenership statistics for a “random day in May 2012”, showing a peak hourly listenership of 59,764.

The following graphs show the statistics provided by TouchCast SA for the May 2012 Shoutcast log files for 2Oceansvibe Radio provided by NetDynamix. All the stats are produced on hourly intervals to eliminate confusion.

  • AQH for weekdays from 6am to 6pm for May 2012 (Average Quarter Hour is the total number of users who listened or viewed your channel for at least 5 minutes every 15 minute period averaged out over an hour)
  • Peaks for May 2012 (the number of concurrent users during a selected time)
  • Unique users per hour

Listener graphs for 2Oceansvibe Radio:

2Oceansvibe Radio AQH May 2012

2Oceansvibe Radio AQH May 2012

2Oceansvibe Radio peaks for May 2012

2Oceansvibe Radio peaks for May 2012

2Oceansvibe radio hourly unique users for May 2012

2Oceansvibe radio hourly unique users for May 2012

These graphs show that 2OceansVibe Radio typically had around 200 listeners when the show is live (hence not off-peak hours when the listenership drops significantly).

This is a far cry from the claimed listenership of around 60,000 per hour based on NetDynamix’s reports.

Substantiating evidence

With such a massive difference between the claimed listenership and the listenership based on the Shoutcast log files provided by NetDynamix, it is prudent to cross reference with other sources which should show similar trends.

For the cross referencing MyBroadband selected Ballz Visual Radio, because we had full access to the Ballz.co.za website statistics, its streaming audio web applet Apache server files (which are used to listen to Ballz Visual Radio) and the NetDynamix stats provided to them by NetDynamix.

A further benefit of Ballz Visual Radio is that they also have a video stream where the statistics are publically available.

Ballz Video stream

When looking at Ballz Visual Radio’s video feed, which is provided to them by Ustream, the average active viewers ranged between 10 and 50 (peaking at around 50 during Darren Scott’s show).

Ballz Ustream video stream on 26 June at 12:06

Ballz Ustream video stream on 26 June at 12:06

It can be further deduced from the Ustream Ballz Visual Radio page that the channel receives, on average, a few hundred total views per day.

Web stats

The web stats for Ballz Visual Radio further substantiate both the video channel and audio only (radio) listenership.

Visitors to the Ballz Visual Radio website click on the ‘Listen/Watch Live’ button to view the video feed or listen to the audio feed. The video and audio feeds are then embedded in the page.

Ballz Visual Radio uses Google Analytics (GA) to track visitors, and it is therefore easy to see how many times these pages are accessed per day.

According to the Ballz Visual Radio GA statistics their main streaming page (http://www.ballz.co.za/listen-watch.php), which is accessed by both audio and video users, was visited  a total of 1,328 times per day (on 27 June 2012 – the busiest day for Ballz visual radio).

The ‘listen-live’ page (http://www.ballz.co.za/listen-live.php), which is used for only audio streaming, received 704 page views.

Ballz website page views

Ballz website page views

Using some basic arithmetic, and making room for page views which do not result in active views, it is clear that these website statistics are in line with the other listenership and viewership statistics.

There can now be an argument that that many people may use methods other than the Ballz website to listen to the streams, but NetDynamix has already indicated that 90% of users make use of the web based Windows Media player and Flash media player to listen to the Ballz show.

NetDynamix further confirmed that all other methods (other than their Flash media player) use their Shoutcast servers for streaming.  This means that the Shoutcast log files are an accurate reflection for these listeners.

But let’s go even further to make entirely certain the figures add up.  The Ballz listen-live page received 704 views, which means that the NetDynamix streaming audio applets (which are hosted on a NetDynamix server at MWEB and embedded in an iFrame on the Ballz listen/watch live pages), should roughly correspond to this number.

MyBroadband was provided with the Apache log files for the server, and unsurprisingly the main source for requests for these files is the Ballz.co.za website.  It further showed that the total number of applets served were 826 – slightly higher than the number of page views.

The higher number of applet views may be because of many factors, including the fact that people can use a direct link to the applet to listen to the station and that Google Analytics is known to provide lower page view stats than the raw Apache logs.

Since NetDynamix CEO Chris Grant confirmed that they used exactly the same methodology to produce 2Oceansvibe’s statistics and Ballz Visual Radio’s statistics, it is fair to assume that the problem with inflated numbers (which seems to be in the region of 20,000% and 30,000%) should be of concern to both stations.

Also see the following articles

The technical details about the server logs and changes to the network infrastructure

The importance of respected and verifiable statistics

Related articles

Legal threats over shocking online radio claims

Shocking claims about online radio in SA

True online radio listener stats in SA

NetDynamix hits back in online radio debacle

Bizarre twist in online radio stats debacle

Tags: Casterstats, Chris Grant, Darren Scott, Headline, Neology, NetDynamix, Roelf Diedericks, Shaun Dewberry, Tim Haak, Touchcast SA

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