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The Truth Behind Streaming Internet Radio in South Africa

Not everything is as it seems. But if you read this research report on the growth of Internet Radio in South Africa, I’ll take you behind the smoke and mirrors and allow you to experience some of the stink.

Put it this way, there’s a lot of nonsense being spread, and I cut through to the truth.


Update: I have been served with legal papers requesting me to take down this post by around 20:30. Here’s where you can see them.

84 replies on “The Truth Behind Streaming Internet Radio in South Africa”

Thank you Shaun for having a balanced look at the “phenomenal” growth in Internet radio. At the moment terrestrial radio still means that you don’t have to go around with a USB stuck up your arse. But unfortunately traditional radio has gone the opposite way and does nothing but rely on the net for the absolute rubbish they relay from ‘entertainment’ sites in a concerted effort to make original thought extinct…

I heard the guys @ Net Prophet boast about their numbers and was also sceptical. We are making progress in SA, but 60k?

I also had respect for Darren and felt sorry for the guy after the K incident and reading about him in YOU magazine, however that interview was really disgusting… sorry Darren I dont approve.

Good luck, the worst thing for any company to do is call their lawyers, it makes them look guilty. They should get an American PR consultant to explain this to them. The only way for them to come out looking good is to show their raw data, their method of collecting it and how they arrived at their conclusions – and how you sucked at arriving at yours.

Since there are lawyers involved, you should probably enlist the help of the Freedom of Expression Institute. They should be able to help without bankrupting you.

I hardly ever agree with the figures that media houses claim as readership/listenership, but at the same time, I think your assessment technique might be wrong?

Firstly, I have 1 ADSL line to my flat, but I share it with my neighbours. So there are about 6 people using my 1 line. So much for ‘only 800 000 lines’ meaning only ‘800 000’ adsl users.

Secondly, I don’t use twitter, so I see no correlation between 2 Oceans Vibe’s number of twitter users and their actual radio stats.

After these two immediate contradictions, I gave up reading the article.

However, I am sure the radio stations can, unlike traditional radio, actually track their listenership, so am sure the real numbers will be out sooner of later.

@jackson – I implore you to continue reading, those first points merely illustrate how I got to my suspicions, but I don’t base my argument on that.

You’re absolutely right, the truth must out.

I’m interested in how this will play out. Stats are very important to determine whether you are waisting your time, or making the right strategic decisions. If you are treated like a mushroom by your streaming provider you’re in trouble.

Let’s hope we see some transparent detail reports backing up the claims made by everybody.

Good luck Shaun

I look forward to Netdynamix expanding on this:

“We do not agree with the basis and method that Mr Shaun Dewberry has used to arrive at his findings simply because he does not have full and unhindered access to our entire network, nor does he have an understanding of the methods that we employ to manage our network and it’s resources. We are further aggrieved that 1) we were not invited to engage with Mr Shaun Dewberry during his process of researching his article at which time we would have been able to illustrate to him that his view was not holistic, and 2) the defamatory nature of his article towards NetDynamix following the release of his article.”

from here –

I was also looking at that.
So does that mean if I connect, disconnect and reconnect 5 times, I’m counted as 5 listeners?

Well, I dont claim to know what NetDynamix mean when they refer to “sessions” but from their response and I quote:

“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 seem that they are implying that what you say is correct.

Why they would give their clients a report reflecting this number of “sessions” and label it as “listeners” is beyond me.

Hi Shaun

Really interesting debate. I am a part time blogger and have been sued before so I know just how you are feeling about now. Do yourself a favour get a lawyer because if what you are saying is the truth the only weapon they have against you is money and that means lawyers. Phone a friend who will do pro bono work.

When this story broke yesterday, I am no techie, I figured this would come down to words, symantics call it what you like. Basically this just lawyer spin. NetDynamix response to me is just an admission of guilt. Darren Scott, what a wanker, and a few people have asked why does twitter followers, facebook likes, youtube downloads etc matter. Anybody that asks that doesn’t understand social media. People that engage with Jacaranda media do so via the “wireless”. People who engage with 2Oceans do so via the net. It stands to reason that they have access to the net, are computer savvy, good chance they have a facebook account, therefore facebook likes, twitter followers become relevant BECAUSE it relevant to that market. It is totally irrelevant to Jacaranda. BUT it doesn’t follow that because you have 4000 twitter followers you will have 4000 listeners Darren, but it does seem odd and therefore questions are asked. This is however not the basis of the argument, and by looking at this you totally missing the point, or the facts.

Good luck Shaun!

A great expose! It must be said, however, that your argument could be strengthened by more succinct and rigorous writing. The use of rhetoric leaves much to be desired, and your citations are somewhat thin. You are getting nailed on the shaky parts (i.e. social media connotation), not the presented “facts”, which will relegate you as a quack in some circles (e.g. Darren’s attack). You’d think this doesn’t matter, as the “facts” will always back you up – wrong. Rhetoric and style in public debate and media scrutiny are equally important facets in argumentation. Ask an editor, preferably an academic one, to rewrite your report to better support and evidence the primary facts.

This is an excellent piece of research. Having read the whole report I think you make a convincing argument.
As an editor of an investigative reporting team we get lawyers letters like the one you received all the time.
I wouldn’t sweat their threats as you have powerful defences:
1. Public interest;
2. Defence of truth;
3. Your arguments are clearly indicated as an opinion not as factual reportage (although nicely documented with strong facts) which is an important distinction if they attempt to act on their threats;
4. Freedom of speech;
Good for you and stand firm!

Having access to a large amount of IP space is certainly useful, since that allows one to check on “load balancer claims”

Funny, how NetDynamics only started claiming loadbalancers when LetsTalk mentioned it is a possibility — post they MyBroadband article.

I’ll do some more digging tonight, but from my basic checking, there is certainly no loadbalancing going on. If there were, then the /24 I just used to test, would have yielded different ShoutCast servers, with differing stats (depending on which balanced host was being hit), and differing server ID’s during my basic poking.

I would like to invite Holes and Goodluck back to the discussion (they are probably the same person).

What do you have to say now?

Could you not write a script to connect to the streaming site with multiple sessions to inflate numbers?

OR go through multiple proxies to “fake” sessions?

They admit that 4 sessions could be one person, surely it’s not hard to simulate this ?

Any feedback?

@Danielv You probably could, but it would make more sense to run a script on the server side to inflate numbers, rather on the client side I would imagine.

Why does bookings to Computicket fall flat? Is it 50k people fighting for only 45k seats per minute, is it routers, bank interfaces, what banks (the one with the adds on the radio, not ballz, radio radio), no way in hell will your interweb radio serve 50k people a minute, it cant even do simple booking with its loadbalacers and webfarms for lady GaGa. Dream on SA, dream on. U2 bookings followed the same trend, pattern. Now u are streaming to the millions…..

Personally, I have dealt with ND and these guys really have weird business practices. They have no issues overcharging and stabbing their clients in the back. So I will not put it past them to fudge their stats deliberately. If they where honest they should have corrected their clients at the first sign of trouble with their stats.

Anyway I have a number of years experience in both FM radio and Shoutcast streaming technology. There is no way any streaming station in SA has more than 4000 concurrent listeners with the current cost of bandwidth in SA.

If anyone should be taking legal action it should be the advertisers who advertise with these radio stations.


This story was definitely the MOST EXCITING one for me to read…

The video showing that live-call by D Scott on air to Shaun was a debacle of note…

D Scott should have remained professional, not over-power Shaun or anyone because he is the one closest to breathing into the microphone. I also find it disturbing that D Scott has these weird facial expressions when he interviews Shaun. Also find it odd that D Scott keeps rummaging through a few sheets of paper…it’s not like it’s a script to read off:

Q1: interrogate Shaun

Q2: make sure you laugh and pretend everything is ok
Q3: quote about youtube video which has zero to do with online radio …WHO CARES about youtube?

shifting to another platform that has zero to do with the said topic
Q4: Raising his voice mystifies me…

Towards the end of the interview, D Scott filters in some stupid audio from a song – why? This was a serious interview…why mute out Shaun because of the song?

People were listening more intently to the live interview than bother with some random song that they could listen to at any other time.

I think D Scott should seriously delete that live video – it is very disturbing.

Even if Shaun or anyone else were wrong – RESPECT IS SHOWN ALWAYS until you are GUILTY OF A CRIME.

I’m interested to see how this turns out.

I don’t really know about internet radio, nor do I have the inclination to do the same research.

But I am curious to know how much traffic is now coming through to Shaun’s website – especially unique visitors.

Can you publish those stats please? Maybe you can have some advertisers sponsoring this page of yours?

I am WAY late catching up on this saga.

However, good on you Shaun for digging for the truth! Hang in there boet. I agree with other posts RE legal threats. This is typical knee-jerk reaction of “big boys” to try and scare you into submission (and for them to hide the truth)

Ballz to the rest who are not interested in the facts. Their ships will sink in one (or 2) oceans!

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