Massive revelations in online radio battle

Shaun Dewberry’s report called “The Truth Behind Streaming Internet Radio in South Africa” has culminated in an investigation where the results support Dewberry’s shocking claims that the local online radio listenership stats from Ballz Visual Radio and 2Oceansvibe Radio are massively inflated.

Dewberry’s report caused a stir in the South African online media space after it was published on Monday 25 June, with many people backing the author’s claims.

Ballz Visual Radio and 2Oceansvibe Radio were critical of Dewberry’s report, highlighting that they base their quoted listenership on regular reports from their streaming provider NetDynamix.

NetDynamix slated DewBerry’s report, and served him with a legal letter trying to force him to remove the report and apologize for ‘defamatory comments’.

This report, and the subsequent legal threat, saw the South African Internet environment come alive with many high level IT experts joining the fight to find the truth.  This included the respected IT expert and Neology director Roelf Diedericks and Let’s Talk Network founder Tim Haak.

What emerged was not a pretty picture, with accusations that NetDynamix tried to mislead their clients with inflated numbers and changing their network infrastructure to obfuscate the real figures.

As the evidence against NetDynamix mounted, MyBroadband called for a meeting with the company to gain clarity on the various accusations. Diedericks was asked to assist because of his in-depth knowledge of the IT market and his experience in the telecoms and Internet space.

NetDyanmix CEO Chris Grant urged MyBroadband to communicate its findings from the information shared at the meeting, adding that they welcome any audited stats to get accurate listenership figures for their clients and put this issue to bed.

Grant further highlighted that they will gladly apologise if the listener figures are incorrect, explaining that they made a mistake by providing session data. Grant added that they are a streaming provider, and that they are definitely not well versed regarding calculating listener statistics.

The findings

What emerged from the week long investigation and the information shared at the meeting with NetDynamix is that there is overwhelming evidence to support Dewberry’s accusations.

The information NetDynamix provided to MyBroadband shows that both Ballz Visual Radio and 2Oceansvibe Radio have an hourly listenership of between 200 and 300, well below their claims of 60,000 hourly listeners.

There is also strong evidence to suggest that there have been changes to the NetDynamix streaming network subsequent to Dewberry’s report which may have been aimed at obfuscating the real listenership of the company’s clients.

Because of the technical nature and wide scope of the investigation, we could not publish everything in a single article. Instead, we published two articles which summarized the findings and the methodology used.

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

The listenership of 2Oceansvibe and Ballz Visual Radio from log files provided by NetDynamix

The importance of respected and verifiable statistics

Important articles and links

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

NetDynamics threats: In defense of Dewberry

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Massive revelations in online radio battle