RAIN 8/22: Apple granted patent for replacing content in radio, TV broadcasts with user's media

Michael Schmitt
August 22, 2012 - 12:50pm

iPhone musicApple has been granted a patent for a system that would let users replace ads (or other content) in audio or video broadcasts with their own content.

Apple Insider thinks the patent hints "at technology headed to the battle for the living room... the system could be tweaked for cable which would lend itself nicely to the set-top box Apple is rumored to be shopping around to U.S. providers." Just try a Google search for "Apple TV rumors" to see the level buzz in this area.

But the patent also singles out radio, whether it be AM, FM or streaming. It's actually titled, "Seamless switching between radio and local media."

Basically, it would work like this: A device using Apple's system could "determine when an upcoming broadcast segment or media item is not of interest to the user," whether it be an annoying song, a talk radio segment the user doesn't like or an ad. "When such an event is detected," writes Apple Insider, "the device will seamlessly switch to stored media until the unwanted content is completed." Stored media in this case could mean an mp3 song or podcast stored locally on the device.

The system would determine what users like and don't like using a rating system, "much like the system in place with apps like Pandora."

In other words, picture a TiVo where you can watch a short clip of a favorite show instead of an ad break.

Apple Insider goes into much more detail on Apple's new patent here.

Apple's radio app from 2010 patentThe patent is interesting as it could potentially make non-customizable radio (or TV) broadcasts much more relevant to individual listeners. Apple notes, "because the user has no control over the media broadcast, the user can typically only tune to a different media broadcast, or listen to or consume the broadcast content that is not of interest." With its system in place, a user wouldn't have to listen to such content anymore.

It could also potentially mean Apple could "strip out all the ads on your radio station," notes James Cridland in Media UK (here).

Of course, it could also mean absolutely nothing. It's just a patent for now.

In 2010, Apple submitted a patent for a native radio mobile app for AM, FM and satellite stations (RAIN coverage here; pictured left). We're all still waiting for that one. Same goes for Apple's "lifestyle companion app." Or that iPad optical stylus. For every smart cover or pinch-to-zoom patent, there's a smart bike or hybrid touchscreen desktop computer.

Point being: Apple patents hardly indicate when or even if such products or features will reach consumers’ hands. But we can't wait to find out! -- MS

Michael Schmitt
August 22, 2012 - 12:50pm

Manolo EspinosaWeb service SoundCloud is aiming to be the "YouTube of audio" and for most users who have come across the service, that means music. But SoundCloud Head of Audio Manolo Espinosa (and RAIN Summit Dallas panelist, more here) sees potential in spoken word content too.

For example, there's opportunities for journalists. And not just radio folks used to dealing in audio content. Espinosa points to Supreme Court coverage as being primarily audio and "encourages journalists to use SoundCloud like they use Twitter, to broadcast stray thoughts or to include interview clips or other sound content left on the cutting-room floor."

Beyond SoundCloud's usefulness for broadcasters and other journalists, Espinosa hopes to convince "audiences that sharing and preserving sound is as worthy an endeavor for everyday people as it is for musicians, podcasters and radio stations," writes Fast Company (here).

Manolo Espinosa will join us for RAIN Summit Dallas in September, speaking on the "Social Radio" panel alongside Triton Digital's Jim Kerr and Jelli's Mike Doughterty. You can find out more about the Summit and register to attend here.

Paul Maloney
August 22, 2012 - 12:50pm

Streaming provider StreamGuys has announced a partnership with ad-serving and audience measurement firm AdsWizz. The companies will provide webcasters "mobile-friendly, multi-platform streaming solutions with targeted, rich media advertising capabilities."

The two companies have developed a system that inserts "pre-roll" and "mid-roll" audio ads into podcasts. The companies will offer include audio and video instream ad-insertion, which can be targeted to listeners of specific gender, other demographic, geographic data. The StreamGuys/AdsWizz solution supports Flash and Icecast streaming for MP3 and HE-AAC audio formats; as well as Flash and iOS for video.

Read more in the press release here.

AdsWizz VP/Sales & Marketing Patrick Roger will moderate the "Targeted Advertising & Listener Registration" panel at RAIN Summit Europe in Berlin, October 5th. AdsWizz Product Manager Erik Barraud will speak on the Measurement Options for Streaming Audio panel as well.

Paul Maloney
August 22, 2012 - 12:50pm

ShoutOut Radio wants to launch an app it's developed for the Apple mobile platform that allows users to pick a song and send a sample of it to a Facebook friend along with a text message -- sort of an update to the time-honored radio tradition of song "dedications" (except no one else hears it).

Evolver.fm reports "the app will be able to build an instant radio station around any song you 'ShoutOut,' or the ones that are sent to you, and those will consist of full songs."

The 16-grand ShoutOut is trying to raise on Kickstarter will be for marketing the app for iOS, building an Android version, and adding some new features (for which another full-time app developer will be added).

See ShoutOut Radio's Kickstarter page here, and read more in Evolver.fm here.