RAIN 4/23: Digital not hurting radio but adding more opportunities, says web radio sales vet Andy Lipset

Michael Schmitt
April 23, 2012 - 12:35pm

The column below was written by entrepreneur, Internet radio sales vet and co-founder of Ronning Lipset Radio Andy Lipset (pictured).

Andy LipsetI was recently at the zoo with my daughters, and upon coming into the “Mammal Section,” we saw a cage of shrews. For those not keeping up with their viewership of “Animal Planet,” the shrew is a small, mouse like animal. Most amazing about this animal is its voracious appetite, as it has to eat 80-90% of its own body weight in food daily.

There has been a ton of research released recently that points to the voracious appetite the American consumer has for media usage. In a way, we have become media shrews. With all of the options available to the consumer today, media consumption is actually growing dramatically. Last week, Arbitron Edison released the 20th edition of “The Infinite Dial” Series which demonstrated that the average consumer actually added 1 hour and 18 minutes to their usage of TV, Radio and Internet over a 10 year period from 2002-2012.

Even more dramatic was that the study showed that heavy users of TV, Radio or the Internet spent as much, or in most cases, even MORE time, with other media vehicles than the average consumer. So ultimately, while the vast media landscape expands, people are also expanding their “media day” and finding more time to consume the product. “The Infinite Dial” is not the only research piece picking up on the trend of an increase in time spent with media. Studies from eMarketer over the past several years have shown the same thing.

Music listening platforms

Data like this creates great opportunities for the sellers and buyers of audio to demonstrate why the medium is as strong as ever, and to create a new marketing message behind it. Nowhere is this pattern of increased consumption of media more dramatic than it is in the audio space.

To start, “The Infinite Dial” showed a 30% increase in listenership year over year to online radio properties, defined either as broadcast radio stations that stream their content such as CBS, Clear Channel or Entercom, or pureplay properties, such as Pandora, Slacker and AOL Radio. Over 100 million people now listen monthly to online radio, with time spent at close to 10 hours a week in 2012 vs. 6 hours a week in 2008. So not only are more people listening, there are truly engaged with this content.

But this growth has not come at the expense of other audio vehicles. Overall broadcast radio listenership has remained steady at about 93% of the total 12+ population listening weekly. AM and FM listenership by online radio listeners also remains very high at around 87% according to “The Infinite Dial.” Additionally, this study did not include on demand or music subscription services as part of Arbitron Edison’s definition to survey respondents of “online radio.” But despite not being included, the medium of online radio still grew dramatically AND we know that the category of subscription services has also grown at the same time, primarily driven by the introduction of Spotify into the US market last summer. ComScore estimates that Spotify has more than 7 million unique users in the US alone.

For years, we have heard the argument that “digital music purchases would hurt listenership to radio, be it online or broadcast.” That is simply not the case, and in fact, the data actually validates that audio entertainment and music downloads are actually complementary to one another. In NPD’s “Annual Music Study,” which was released last month, the retail researcher found that purchases from online music digital retailers such as iTunes or Amazon increased 14% from 2010 to 2011. In fact, broadcast and online radio listenership was actually cited as a primary factor for the purchase of more music by consumers. This makes sense, as more music outlets provide for the discovery of more product, it creates more demand for listeners to own it.

Andy Lipset quoteSo where is all of this additional time to consume coming from? Some research points to large increases in time spent with online media; others show that with media becoming more mobile and portable, listeners are finding time and places to consume content in ways they previously did not have. To prove this out, I asked Arbitron Edison to cross tab some data that was not released in the study for me. They found that 45% of all smartphone owners in the US listened to online radio in the last week alone. Clearly, online radio is benefiting for the mobility of the consumer today.

What does this all mean? Well, if you are a programmer, you have more opportunities to strike and capture a listener’s attention with great content. And, if you are on the sales or marketing side of the equation, you have a media vehicle in audio driven entertainment whose audience keeps growing, is engaged and spending more time with the medium more than ever.

The shrews are hungry. And even though the have a lot on their plate, they are insatiable, and have a desire for even more.

Feed them!

Andy Lipset is former TargetSpot Chief Revenue Officer, and prior to that he was Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Ronning Lipset Radio. He has also served as AOL Music's Director of Sales and VP at ValueClick.

Michael Schmitt
April 23, 2012 - 12:35pm

RAIN Summit West 2012

Last week's RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas included a new feature: POVs. Short for "Point of View," these presentations feature industry thought-leaders offering their stance on a certain topic. This year's topic for discussion was "Redefining Radio."

The first POV was delivered by Triton Digital CEO and President Neal Schore. He argued that radio and webcasters should "stop debating" and instead start focusing on better monetizing audiences. "Our space is greatly undervalued compared to other media channels that don’t provide nearly our capabilities," said Schore. He pushed radio to accommodate listeners' wants and provide services wherever and whenever the audience wants. "If you won't, someone else will," he warned.

Schore also argued Internet radio services should start asking all users for registration information. Such registration could collect age, gender, location and other information, all of which would benefit advertisers and help make the service better for users as well.

"I couldn’t agree more," writes RAIN Summits president Jennifer Lane at Audio4Cast. Registration "enables [web radio services] to offer highly targeted ads and content that is more interesting to the listeners and more valuable to advertisers. It expands the time that listeners are willing to spend with a station, and it raises the likelihood that they’ll interact with an ad because that ad is specifically targeted." You can find Lane's coverage in Audio4Cast here.

Stay tuned for more coverage of RAIN Summit West, including videos of the panels and presentations!

Michael Schmitt
April 23, 2012 - 12:35pm

Livio Connect APILivio Radio has launched its Livio Connect API website for developers and hardware manufacturers at LivioConnect.com.

Livio launched the Livio Connect API itself last year. It enables apps and hardware devices to communicate and interoperate. This eliminates the need for each app to integrate individually with hardware, and app-specific maintenance and support.

Just as an example, hardware manufacturers can work directly with Livio and include code for Livio Connect in the devices they make. When that device is approved, any Livio Connect-enable app will work with the hardware.

"The Livio Connect protocol is installed on hardware devices to send and receive information about app controls," Livio explains on the new site. "The protocol is also added to third-party apps, allowing them to communicate with enabled devices. The apps receive an unlock key through Livio's authentication server."

Livio also makes branded tabletop Internet radios (for Pandora and NPR), and the Bluetooth Internet Radio Car Kit (which connects smartphone apps to car stereo systems).

Paul Maloney
April 23, 2012 - 12:35pm

A group of developers claiming to be part of Anonymous have built Anontune, a social music platform that aggregates streams from various Internet sources (e.g. YouTube) to build shareable playlists.

The developers wanted a music player like YouTube, but better organized, and with more obscure music... combining "music websites like Myspace, Yahoo, YouTube and others."

Users register (anonymously, naturally), and set up an account. They can then craft playlists by supplying titles of songs they want to hear, or Anontune can browse a user's iTunes collection. Anontune then finds the songs on the web using the web browser. According to Wired, most of the tracks come from YouTube and SoundCloud, but developers are adding Yahoo Music, Myspace Music, Bandcamp and others.

The service simply finds music already online, and is thus more similar to a search engine or torrent tracker. According to a video released about the project, "Anontune will never host any copyrighted music at any time, nor will it be streaming music. It will not offer for download any copyrighted music or even encourage it... This time, the law will be on our side...

"The state of online music has been sabotaged by the fat hands of corporate involvement..." set on "steal(ing) your freedom and safe-guard(ing) their profits." 

You can read Wired's coverage and see the video here. You can read a whitepaper on it here and get more tech details here.