8/14/13: Targeting ads to individuals makes Pandora competitive locally, it says

Paul Maloney
August 14, 2013 - 1:20pm

In local sales efforts, leading webcaster Pandora is positioning itself as the number-two radio station in the Minneapolis market (like it does in several others). Pandora regional VP Gabe Tartaglia discussed some of the webcaster's competitive strategies with Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal's John Vomhof.

But it's more than the sheer number of listeners that gives the webcaster a foothold locally, Tartaglia contends. It's its ability to target advertising not by station format, but to the listener herself.  

"We've got over 700,000 listeners in the Minneapolis DMA every month, and every week, if you take a demographic like adults between 25 and 54, we have about 400,000 listeners," Tartaglia, who's based in Chicago, said.

He characterized their ad rates as "pretty competitive," with the big value coming in targetability. Pandora registration requires the listener's age, gender, and ZIP code. This means Pandora can track users across channels.

"So, if a local advertiser wants a very custom geography or wants to reach an exact age or gender, we can provide that exact demographic with 100 percent guaranteed delivery and zero waste," Tartaglia explained.

"Think about it in terms of the individual listener, not the genre of music they're listening to or a particular artist. Most advertisers want the person. They want the consumer who can hopefully become a potential customer," he continued. "So, if a person is listening to a rock station and then changes to a country station, to us, that's one listener and we can still serve the same targeted adds to that person."

Pandora's biggest local categories and clients include automotive (about 10 different local dealers), health care, and education (University of Minnesota, Globe University).

Read the interview in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal here.

Paul Maloney
August 14, 2013 - 1:20pm

MusicRadiator is pretty cool "music discovery" web app engineers from The Echo Nest put together, that streams music from various artists by genre (In other words, it's what the vast majority of consumers and less-uptight professionals would term "radio." I know!).

All a listener need do is choose from the bewilderingly vast array of genres (really, it might be awhile before we get to "mandopop," "trapstep," and "Albanian pop") and listen. Actually, one needn't even do that: the channel "The EchoNest Discovery," a multi-genre stream of "brand-shiny-new songs that you're hearing before pretty much anybody else" launches as soon as the app loads.

It's built on Rdio's music library (Rdio is a client of The Echo Nest), so only Rdio customers hear full songs (otherwise, it's 30-second snippets). Listeners can skip forwards and backwards, and rate songs ("thumbs down" and it won't be played for you again, "thumbs up" and the song is added to your Rdio collection).

Check out MusicRadiator here. Evolver.fm covers the app here.

Paul Maloney
August 14, 2013 - 1:20pm

Pandora CFO Mike Herring told investors Wednesday he expects Apple's iTunes Radio debut to benefit, not hurt his company's audience... and, as CNet paraphraed, "accelerate the move to [digital radio] from traditional broadcast radio."

"When iHeartRadio launched a couple years ago, we had the same questions," Herring told the Canaccord Genuity Growth Conference. "We've gone from 50% market share to 70% market share, and they've stayed flat... We won't do much different."

CNet does point out, however, that Apple has a huge advantage over Pandora when it comes to global reach. Apple's direct licensing deals with labels and publishers "generally give it rights to the countries where iTunes operates, numbering above 100." Pandora currently operates only in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.

Read more in CNet here.

Paul Maloney
August 14, 2013 - 1:20pm

NPR today relaunched its NPR.org homepage with a fully "responsive design" approach to optimize the site for different device screens.

With what it calls the "Listen drawer" (pictured), NPR offers quick access to the most recent newscast and program, plus links to apps for iPhone, iPad and Android, and podcasts.

"Our online audience is engaging with NPR on a growing number of devices, from small-screen phones to big-screen TVs," said Kinsey Wilson, NPR Chief Content Officer. "With this redesign, we’re able to give the audience the optimum NPR experience no matter where they encounter us."

NPR says the new site increases connection to NPR Member stations by allowing visitors to select a favorite station, then "auto-localizing" as a default.

NPR explains more here and here.