RAIN 9/4: Radio Ink's Rhoads predicts streaming "primary source of revenue" for broadcasters by 2016

Michael Schmitt
September 4, 2012 - 12:50pm

Rhoads"Radio is foolishly ignoring streams today," writes Radio Ink publisher Eric Rhoads. "Streaming will be your primary source of revenue," he tells broadcasters in a new editorial, predicting that by 2016, "your transmitter will make up only a small percentage of your listening."

Rhoads sees broadcasters tripping over the same mistakes when it comes to streaming as they did with HD Radio: allocating minimal resources and trying to do things "at the lowest possible cost" with the least effort. The results are eerily similar: content that sounds "badly programmed" and feels like an "afterthought." Is it then any wonder "why HD Radio has not been embraced" by listeners, or why streaming audiences are smaller than they might be?

This "sloppy" approach imperils radio's future, Rhoads argues. "Radio must put its best foot forward in everything it does," he writes. "You have to sound great."

But it's not just a matter of improving stream quality. As a broadcaster, you must "be everywhere your listener is, which means on every device," because "the transmitter is no longer [radio's] only form of distribution" and it could be flat-out "irrelevant" in the future.

Radio Ink

"If you’re not streaming, don’t have a mobile app, are not on aggregators like TunedIn or iHeartRadio, if you cannot be found in every possible device, you’ll dilute the impact of your brand. If people want to listen and you’re not there, they will find someone else."

Rhoads concludes, "Ignoring [streaming] is ignoring millions of listeners, and they all have other alternatives."

You can find Rhoads' full post in Radio Ink here.

RAIN Summit Dallas will include an entire panel dedicated to issues like those discussed by Rhoads. The "Online Strategies for Local Broadcasters" panel will feature members of CBS Radio, Triton Digital, Emmis Digital, TargetSpot, Marketron and more. Click here to find out more.

Paul Maloney
September 4, 2012 - 12:50pm

If you're not familiar, think of TuneIn as a directory of online radio streams from all over the world -- a single app which gives you more than 70-thousand choices of broadcast and online-only streams. (They're probably most similar to Clear Channel's iHeartRadio service, but not broadcaster-owned.)

Now CEO John Donham reveals in a paidContent interview his service will run "pre-roll" audio ads before launching a listener's chosen stream. To this point, TuneIn has only added display ads (like "banners"), never audio or video.

"We’re going to do audio adverts before the stream and have a companion display ad associated with them," he said. But only if that broadcaster or webcaster themselves isn't scheduling pre-rolls. "We don’t touch any broadcaster streams. If a broadcaster has a pre-roll in front of the stream, we won’t stomp over that. It would be a double-negative to user experience if you got multiple pre-rolls before the content."

Donham believes the "free, ad-supported" approach has far more potential for revenue than subscription/premium models. Though the TuneIn app has both a free and a premium paid version of its app (with built-in recording capability), Donham told the publication, "The number one way we monetise is advertising on the free app. We would rather you listen to the free app than the paid. We would urge you to switch.

"One of the cool things about radio is, it’s free. There are literally billions of people who consume radio every month. What a gigantic opportunity – we’re not going to get them all to subscribe to something – we’re going to get them to listen for free and monetise that."

TuneIn raised $16 million in funding this summer. Donham says the money will go to hiring experts to better develop "discovery" for listeners, such as presenting new listening options based on the listener's history. He also wants to establish his brand in the minds of consumers as the "Netflix/iTunes/Amazon" for radio.

Read more in paidContent here.

TuneIn VP/Sales & Business Development Carl Rohling will participate in "The Connected Dashboard," a panel discussion about establishing Internet audio as a simple yet powerful in-car entertainment medium at RAIN Summit Europe, October 4th in Berlin.

Michael Schmitt
September 4, 2012 - 12:50pm

Nokia MusicNokia has since last October planned to offer its Lumia Windows Phone users a free music streaming service with Pandora-like radio features (RAIN coverage here). That service has been available to European users for months, but today Nokia brings the service to the U.S.

Nokia Music is free and replicates a radio experience in at least two ways. First, it includes a line-up of more than 150 curated playlists created by a "US-based team of 'musicologists.'"

Second, users can create their own custom playlists "with a Pandora-like feature that pulls in songs based on a selected artist and plays them back in random order, without advertisements," reports Engadget (here).

Michael Schmitt
September 4, 2012 - 12:50pm

MLBA new update for the MLB At Bat 2012 iPhone app includes support for Ford's SYNC AppLink dashboards. That makes it much easier for Ford drivers to stream radio MLB coverage from around the country to their car stereos.

The Next Web reports the app has been downloaded more than 5 million times this year. Read more coverage here.