RAIN 10/11: iHeartRadio coming to Australia and New Zealand

Paul Maloney
October 11, 2012 - 11:20am

Clear Channel's online radio platform, iHeartRadio, will launch in Australia and New Zealand, the broadcaster announced today.

The Australian Radio Network (ARN -- which is a joint venture between APN News & Media and Clear Channel International) will launch the service -- and add its own stations to the iHeartRadio range of listening options. The service will launch in Australia and New Zealand next year.

ARN has a "dual brand" strategy - a MixFM and Classic Hits music stream in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. ARN reaches over 4 million listeners, and is one of the leading broadcasters in the 25–54 demographic in Australia.

Paul Maloney
October 11, 2012 - 11:20am

Advertisers know that today's technology affords them greater accountability of the results of their ad buys. They've come to expect measurement tools and data that enables them to assess the effectiveness of various media platforms in their campaigns. They can very closely track how many people were exposed to their messages, see how consumers respond, adjust their offers or targeting, and assess the campaigns effectiveness in real time. (We recommend you listen to the "Identifying Opportunities for Advertisers in Internet Radio" panel from our recent RAIN Summit Dallas here for more on this.)

This obviously seems like something of a short-coming for a one-way, broadcast medium like AM/FM in this regard. Inside Radio reports today, "until the rollout of people meter-based ratings, radio’s quarterly diary ratings data put the medium at a disadvantage." The spread of PPM to more and more markets will help broadcasters (and, to that end, so will making this data available to "media modelers," as Arbitron is reportedly doing). But what broadcast radio is lacking is the trackability of the Internet -- a fact which underscores the need for broadcasters to more urgently embrace Internet technology.

But as the news source reports, radio's lack of "trackability" has indeed cost them advertising dollars from ZipCar, the short-term car rental service located in urban markets across the country, even as evidence shows its radio ads were effective. "ZipCar spent about $2 million on radio ads during the second quarter," and "revenue jumped 16% and consumer awareness of their unique rental model also increased," reports Inside Radio. Yet, they're discontinuing AM/FM advertising.

"The biggest challenge for anyone, not just Zipcar, with radio, first of all, terrestrials are really hard to track," Inside Radio quotes ZipCar CEO Scott Griffith telling investors. "You can track a little better on streaming but even at that, getting attribution directly to radio is hard — and so we faced that same issue... It doesn’t mean we wouldn’t go back to it someday, but we wouldn’t do it the same way and we want a better way to attribute the results more directly to where radio came in."

You can read Inside Radio free today here.

Paul Maloney
October 11, 2012 - 11:20am

Saga Communications notified its program directors this week that their position titles have changed to "brand manager." Saga EVP Steve Goldstein wrote to these employees, "We truly live in a multi-platform world. As a Program Director, you are now spending an increased amount of your time thinking about and working with our various digital platforms. Whether it be the station website(s), social media such as Facebook, Twitter or crafting emails and texts, it’s all now a part of the PD’s day. This is in addition to managing the external marketing feel and visual aspects of the brand."

Saga is the broadcast group that recently made news for turning off the online streams for its properties in markets outside the top 100 (and limiting stream listening on the stations that are still online, so only local listeners can connect). The company also will no longer substitute "online only" content (such as online-only audio ads) when the on-air station goes to commercial break. See more here.

"We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand," Goldstein's letter continued. "And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of Program Directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital."

Saga Communications has more than 100 broadcast stations in 29 U.S. markets.

Paul Maloney
October 11, 2012 - 11:20am

The Echo Nest is making public some of the "Taste Profile Attributes" it uses to create its "music intelligence" database.

Taste Profiles "allow us to maintain a detailed understanding of someone’s music activity - not only what they’re listening to, but also their likes, dislikes, skips, and bans. We apply Taste Profiles to help streaming services, social networks, and app developers craft the best experience for each of their users," the company explained in its blog. The "Taste Profile Attributes" are the actual scores and summaries that are the building blocks of the "Taste Profiles" for a music fan.

The Echo Nest has assembled a database of the musical characterists of more than 30 million songs. It's this information that allows its clients like Spotify, iHeartRadio, Rdio and more to "associate" music for their listeners -- the intelligence behind creating custom streaming channels, for instance, or the knowledge that allows them to know "if this listener likes artist A or song B, they'll like artist C and song D."

The attributes The Echo Nest is making public are:

"Diversity: Measures the overall diversity of a fan’s listening by mapping the distance across the musical styles enjoyed by the listener.

"Mainstreamness: Measures the overall familiarity of a user’s listening activity to determine preference for either mainstream or more obscure music.

"Freshness: Measures listening habits to determine how much a user cares about new album releases vs. sticking with older music.

"Adventurousness: Measures a listener’s openness to music outside their comfort zone.

"We use these attributes to paint a detailed picture of each user. So far, we have only used them internally. Today, The Echo Nest offers early access to our Taste Profile Attributes for our customers and app developers," says The Echo Nest. In the blog, they go on to offer some ideas for how services could use these attributes. For instance:

"Use the 'mainstreamness' attribute to find fans who spend most of their time listening to deep tracks. Instead of showing devout hipsters the new Billboard hot 100 every time they visit your New Releases section, show them what’s just starting to surface on the Hype Machine or Pitchfork."

Access to Taste Profile Attributes is via The Echo Nest's developer site. Read The Echo Nest blog announcement here.