Analytics: How does the Station Analytics System create On Demand (Audio Download) Reports?

We frequently get questions about how we generate the On-Demand Audio reports within the Station Analytics System. This article dives into some of that technical information. If you're looking for information on troubleshooting low numbers, or want to get started with on-demand audio metrics, these articles may also be helpful:

Troubleshooting Missing On-Demand Audio Data
Setting up On-Demand Audio Tracking by Program


The NPR Station Analytics System On-demand Audio Dashboard provides high-level metrics on on-demand audience and downloads, as well as detailed report on programs and episodes.

The On-demand dashboards use data  from on-demand log files that are generated by your webserver.

The log contains the following information about your on-demand audio files for each time each of your audio files was accessed by a user:
  • audio link accessed
  • media download domain
  • device used to access the file
  • IP addresses
Translating logs into meaningful data

NPR uses a parser to translate your raw log files into a format the SAS On-Demand dashboards can understand.

For example, the raw data that comes to us in your log file would look something like this for a single audio listen:

2017-05-03 23:31:03 GET / 206 6844300 1489 "-" "AppleCoreMedia/ (iPad; U; CPU OS 10_3_1 like Mac OS X; en_us)" "-" 6843979 0-6843978 1"

The log entry contains information for each audio file request including the name of the file that was downloaded. In order to associate individual files with a program or podcast we need additional information.

Matching Your Audio File to Your Program

Rather than asking users to submit data to manually classify files into programs or podcasts. The program data is automatically pulled from the podcast RSS feeds stations provide in NPR Station Connect

Each podcast feed contains information that allows our system to match individual audio files to the programs they belong to using data provided within the feed, including program/podcast name, audio file link (.mp3), and episode title, etc. Using this RSS feed gives us an easy to roll up individual files into podcasts, categories or specific programs.

The NPR on-demand system refreshes your podcast RSS feeds every night to grab the latest episode information, and compares the audio links in your feeds to the audio links in your server logs. When the system finds a match, it knows that audio file belongs to a particular show and should be added program reports.

If you do not see a link to view your on-demand dashboards when you log in to SAS, your station may not be set up yet. More information on how to get started is available here.

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