7/23/13: Ad-insertion supporters and critics will make their case at RAIN Summit Orlando

Paul Maloney
July 23, 2013 - 11:30am

RAIN Summits has announced the roster of professionals who'll discuss ad insertion at September 17th's RAIN Summit Orlando. [Pro tip: The $99 "early bird" registration expires July 31. Register to attend (here) soon!]

Ad-insertion -- substituting online-only ads in a stream of broadcast programming -- is perhaps more controversial than ever. While ad-insertion allows stations to sell online-only ad inventory and monetize streaming audiences on top of broadcast listening, until recently Arbitron (RAIN coverage here) didn't include online listening in "total line reporting" for stations that streamed ads that weren't also broadcast. Last year broadcasters like Saga Communications (in RAIN here  and here) and Hubbard's WTOP (here) announced moves to eliminate ad-insertion in favor of full simulcast streaming.

To explain his company's position, Saga Communications EVP Steve Goldstein (pictured) will participate on the panel. He's been part of Saga management since 1986. Saga owns 88 radio stations in 23 markets.

Another broadcaster joining the panel is Greater Media Interactive SVP/GM Tom Bender. Named Regional GM of Greater Media's Detroit-based operation in 1986, in 2007 Tom moved to the new media side to lead interactive efforts company-wide. Just last month Greater Media chairman/CEO Peter Smyth restated his company's strong support for both streaming and online ad-insertion here.

Not surprisingly, Smyth and Greater Media find fans among ad sales professionals and technology providers. Adswizz CEO Alexis van der Wyer and Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino both represent companies that provide audience measurement, sales, and ad-serving tools to broadcasters and webcasters. Van der Wyer and Agovino will both return to the RAIN Summit stage to address ad-insertion's sales and technology issues.

Finally, representing the ad buying community, Natalie Swed Stone is U.S. Director of National Radio at OMD. She manages national radio investments for OMD clients like JCPenney, Lowe’s, State Farm, Visa, Wells Fargo, McDonald’s, Clorox, PepsiCo, and H&R Block. Swed Stone (pictured) provides strategic counsel within all of OMD on effective use of the radio medium, including Internet, satellite, and mobile platforms.

RAIN Summit Orlando will also feature a keynote presentation from Entercom Communications president/CEO David Field, panel discussions and presentations from some of the industry's most creative and innovative professionals, and the presentation of the fourth-annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards. RAIN Summit Orlando is an Official Partner Event of The Radio Show produced by the NAB and RAB. See the latest here.

Paul Maloney
July 23, 2013 - 11:30am

Inside Radio reports today UK-based music licensing company and performance rights organisation PPL has contacted several U.S. broadcast groups to insist they pay royalties for UK stream listening, or block the streams altogether. According to Inside Radio, Cox Media Group is one of the groups that received the letter.

Broadcasters like Clear Channel, Emmis, and CBS Radio indeed take measures to prevent non-U.S. streaming. In fact, the PPL says no U.S. radio group has approached the organization for a license. While Pandora blocks UK listening, U.S. operator Live 365 is PPL-licensed to stream to UK listeners.

According to the news source, only the largest radio groups have been contacted by PPL -- so far. PPL spokesman Jonathan Morrish did say the organization plans to send similar letters to other American broadcasters as part of a "broader PPL project."

Morrish said his group is "merely ensuring that services that are streaming in the UK are correctly licensed... Any overspill received outside the U.S. would not therefore be covered by the U.S. statutory license and instead separate licensing arrangements would need to be made."

While generally broadcasters aren't interested in streaming to foreign listeners their advertisers aren't interested in reaching, one exception Inside Radio brings up is overseas-based U.S. military audiences.

More in Inside Radio here.

Paul Maloney
July 23, 2013 - 11:30am

Swell is a new iOS mobile app (it just launched late last month) that makes podcast/spoken word listening a more radio-like, "lean-back" experience based on your preferences.

The company has now announced it's raised $5.4 million in Series A funding.

Swell has partnered with content sources like NPR, American Public Media, and ABC News. It also includes podcasts from the BBC, CBC, Comedy Central, TED Talks, and more. Tech Crunch wrote (here): "When we wrote about Stitcher’s growth last year, we said it was starting to sound like 'the Pandora of talk radio.' Stitcher, however, actually follows more of an on-demand model — you choose what you want to listen to (although there are also content recommendations). Swell, on the other hand, is closer to the Pandora experience, where you just open the app, hit play, and interesting content should immediately start streaming."

Find Swell here. TechCrunch has more, including a video walk-thru, here.