RAIN 2/16: B'dcasters discuss whether the benefit of an iHeartRadio listing outweighs the cost

Michael Schmitt
February 16, 2012 - 11:00am

iHeartRadio's websiteAs a broadcaster, is joining iHeartRadio a smart move? That's the question that, for the past few weeks, broadcasters, analysts and publications have debated (RAIN coverage here and here).

Recently Inside Radio spoke to several broadcasters -- both those who have joined Clear Channel's streaming platform and others who have taken "a wait-and-see stance" -- to see what they think.

"You’re giving away a lot," said one broadcaster, worried about iHeartRadio's exclusivity requirement. "It’s just not the way our world works today," said another.

“It would limit all of the in-home and in-TV scenarios that could open up as we move down the road."

Earlier this month, Carleton College's radio station declined an offer to join iHeartRadio because it would mean the college would have to pull its streams from other aggregators, like TuneIn (more here).

Broadcasters debate iHeartRadio's valueInside Radio reports that Univision Radio and Educational Media Foundation removed their streams from aggregator TuneIn following their partnership with iHeartRadio, while Cumulus and Greater Media will soon also not be available on TuneIn. However, WNYC's deal is not exclusive.

Other broadcasters "object to what [they] consider a 'significant' amount of on-air promotion," required by Clear Channel. There's also the problem that faces any aggregator: "getting lost in the shuffle of hundreds of stations with names that don’t mean anything to non-local listeners."

Indeed, one iHeartRadio partner told Inside Radio: “I don’t think anybody has yet figured out a real consumer-friendly way of organizing the incredible multiplicity of streamed audio that’s out there."

Inside RadioHowever, other broadcasters who have added their stations to iHeartRadio (not surprisingly) defended the platform: "Clear Channel won," said one. "They’ve got the platform, and you need such massive scale to be the incumbent application on devices and in autos that it could have only been done by them or CBS Radio.”

Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey agrees. "To have a prominent position in the user interface in cars and devices, critical mass is essential. That’s what aligning behind one strong app will enable broadcasters to do.”

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As always, we want to know what you think! Is joining iHeartRadio a good idea? Share your thoughts by commenting on this story below.

Michael Schmitt
February 16, 2012 - 11:00am

RAJARUK audience measurement body RAJAR has released a statement (here, PDF) in which it aims to explain the differences between how over-the-air and web radio audiences are measured.

"RAJAR measures real people," the document argues, while online measurement potentially has some flaws. "Online measurement can’t tell how many people are listening [meaning several people could be listening to one computer]... online measurement can’t tell how old a listener is [unless the listener shared that information]," and so on.

However, RAJAR does note that its over-the-air diary-based measurement system is flawed as well: it relies on listeners' memories and unlike the web's exact measurement, "RAJAR is a survey, and like all surveys it’s subject to sample error."

RAJAR argues "neither [measurement system] is ‘wrong’, and neither is less accurate than the other primarily because they are just different measures."

RAJAR's reports on UK radio listening include over-the-air and digital data.

Hat tip to industry expert James Cridland, who linked to RAJAR's statement from his blog here.

RAJAR's language is strikingly similar to a statement released in December 2011 by Arbitron (RAIN coverage here), which stressed the differences of AM/FM and web radio measurement. Arbitron even went so far as to argue against making "direct comparisons" between over-the-air and web radio measurements. 

Paul Maloney
February 16, 2012 - 11:00am

Streaming software and services provider Abacast has unveiled what they've dubbed the "Clarity Digital Radio System," a cloud-based ad-insertion and trafficking platform.

Cloud computing generally means the necessary software and processing for clients is on a remote, centralized server, which has the benefits of reduced costs, and easier and faster maintenance, deployment and updating. Abacast CEO Rob Green said, "The use of a cloud-based platform will enable Abacast to quickly and continuously provide incremental value to our customers by focusing almost entirely on new features and functionality."

Clarity is part of a suite of Abacast online radio solutions which include ad-insertion and management, audience analytics, stream delivery, royalty reporting, and mobile and desktop players.

Michael Schmitt
February 16, 2012 - 11:00am

ExfmSince a relaunch late last year, music service Exfm has reportedly grown to 300,000 active users (up from 75,000). The company also has raised $1.5 million in new funding.

Previous to the relaunch, Exfm was a web browser extension. Now its a "full fledged web service," writes Venture Beat. The service offers various "channels," each filled with music gleaned from blogs. Like the Hype Bot, Shuffer.fm and other service, Exfm turns music blogs into an almost radio-like experience.

Venture Beat has more coverage here.