Top-notch coverage of yesterday's RAIN Summit

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 12:40pm

After we recover from the rush of yesterday's successful RAIN Summit Orlando event (and today's iTunes Radio launch), we'll get cracking on our own coverage of the Summit. In the meantime, our colleagues at news sources like Tom Taylor Now, Inside Radio, Radio Ink, and AllAccess were at the event, and all have published coverage of their own.

One of yesterday's most compelling Summit panel discussions addressed the contentious issue of online "simulcasting" versus the use of ad-insertion technology (Taylor, Inside Radio, and Radio Ink all led their coverage with it). The panel consisted of Saga's Steve Goldstein, Triton Digital's Mike Agovino, OMD's Natalie Swed Stone, AdsWizz's Alexis Van de Wyer, and Greater Media's Tom Bender.

The speakers on the panel -- broadcasters included -- acknowledged the attraction of customizable pureplay webcasts with few (or no) commericals, and agreed that broadcasters need to offer more than "an extension of the tower."

At least as "buzz-worthy," judging by the coverage, was Entercom president and CEO David Field's keynote address. A few contentious points may have been expected, what with a broadcast group head keynoting such a conference. Field, as you can read, insisted that the audio consumption "pie is growing," and that's for broadcast radio too. More controversially, he challenged the veracity of Pandora's self-described 7% share of overall U.S. radio listening, and contended that the webcaster's granular ad-targeting actually makes them a less efficient advertising vehicle. He says radio gets the "bonus weight" of delivering ad messages to non-targeted demos.

A research presentation from GroupM Next caught industry journalists' attention -- notably their finding that nearly half of Pandora and iHeartRadio users say they plan to switch to Apple's iTunes Radio product when it launches today -- even before testing it. Also making news was the strong the desire for a "connected-dashboard" car among younger demos. Newly-appointed RAIN managing editor Brad Hill moderated a discussion panel on this very topic. Read his coverage of "The Race to the Dashboard" here.

Also, please see our coverage of the 2013 RAIN Internet Radio Awards here.

Thanks to our colleagues for their coverage of RAIN Summit Orlando. Read more from Tom Taylor Now here, Radio Ink here and here, in AllAccess here, and at here.

Triton COO Agovino sets out to "debunk" the wisdom behind online simulcasting

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 2:15pm

Introducing a five-part series today on his company's website, Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino has set out to "debunk" the advantages broadcasters hope to gain by simulcasting online.

In this application, online simulcasting means streaming exactly the same content online, at the same time, that's broadcast on the air. Most importantly, it means the same ads run online that are on the AM/FM signal, and not replaced with (potentially-) targeted, online only commercials.

"Up until now, (broadcasters' online ad inventory) has been very difficult to sell locally, and national/aggregation plays have failed to deliver real value back to the broadcaster," Agovino (pictured) concedes.

But instead of innovating and trying to remedy the challenges of selling digital locally, "broadcasters are in retreat," he says.

Triton Digital is a leading vendor of ad-insertion technologies to the radio and webcasting inudstries. You can read Part 1 of Agovino's "Simulcasting Debunked" here.

Agovino will make his case on "The Ad Insertion Panel" discussion at RAIN Summit Orlando on September 17. RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson will moderate the panel, which will also feature Saga Communications EVP Steve Goldstein, Greater Media Interactive's Tom Bender, Adswizz CEO Alexis van der Wyer, and OMD's Natalie Swed Stone (read more about "The Ad Insertion Panel" here). Full details and registration for RAIN Summit Orlando is available here.

PodcastOne to use Abacast software for ad-insertion, audience metrics

Thursday, August 15, 2013 - 11:20am

Podcast network PodcastOne has announced it will use Abacast's Clarity Digital Radio system for ad insertion, managing ad campaigns, audience measurement, and live and on-demand program delivery.

PodcastOne launched earlier this year as a division of Courtside Entertainment Group. It hosts nearly 200 podcasts from Radio Lab, Adam Carolla, 60 Minutes, Freakonomics Radio, Dr. Drew, CBS News, and more.

Under new Arbitron policy, station TLR streams need only be 100% simulcasts in home Metro/DMA

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 12:50pm

Arbitron alerted its clients today that, at the request of the radio advisory council, it is eliminating the "simulcast" requirement for streaming outside a station's home Metro and DMA for those stations that include streaming audience in "total line reporting" (TLR).

The new rule says a station need only stream a 100% simulcast (all content, including commercials) in its home Metro and DMA. The new policy allows the station to stream any content it likes outside its home Metro/DMA.

Previously, Arbitron required stations that wanted to include streaming listeners in TLR audience to stream exactly what went out over the air, including local advertising. This meant a potential waste of ad inventory that could have been used more effectively. A listener three states away would hear the same ad for Pete's Pizza on 10th and Main a local listener heard.

Beginning last month Arbitron began allowing stations to substitute ads to streaming listeners outside a station's metro, but only with ads from the same advertiser, and still be eligible for TLR (see RAIN here). While this may have worked for national advertisers, it usually didn't help stations still airing ads that only made sense for local listeners.

This news will likely change the dynamic of the debate amongst broadcasters whether to simulcast streams, or take advantage of ad-insertion technology to increase ad inventory (or, for that matter, whether to stream at all).

Arbitron's new rule goes into effect with the July PPM period and Summer diary survey.

mDialog introduces targeted ad-insertion product for local radio

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 12:50pm

Fast Company reports on the launch of "Radio Stream," a new product designed to allow local AM/FM broadcasters to insert targeted ads into their online and mobile streams, along with online couponing and social media integration.

The new product, which uses Apple's HTTP Live Streaming Protocol, is intended for "local radio stations wishing to air Pandora- and Spotify-style targeted ads," says Fast Company.

Radio Stream is made by mDialog, which has (so far) specialized in video advertising.

Fast Company's coverage is here.

For Smyth, technology-driven change "is the real definition of our competitive landscape"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 12:30pm

Greater Media chairman and CEO Peter Smyth has long been known as one of the more forward thinking group heads, embracing new media technology and looking beyond the traditional modes and methods of the radio business. Yesterday he answered some of his colleagues' reluctance to to make a real commitment to streaming.

Putting it in terms of the "short game" versus "long game," Smyth acknowleged that online streaming is not yet where it needs to be for broadcasters looking to shore up every cost and squeeze every penny of revenue out of their assets. But streaming's low revenue and technological imperfections are merely today's "growing pains" through which the industry will need to persevere.

Greater Media owns more than 20 stations total in the markets of Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, New Jersey, Philadelphia -- as well as several weekly newspapers in New Jersey.

Smyth insists his company's dedication to streaming, ad-insertion, and an expanding online presence isn't the easy road, but it's the right one: "There is a greater goal to be attained and that is to keep our local brands viable and relevant to rapidly changing audience habits," he wrote.

"We no longer have the luxury of regulated competition within a defined piece of real estate; we have to make every effort to entertain and deliver to advertisers as many highly targeted listeners as possible, wherever we can acquire them," he continued. "Platforms, geography, delivery, media-buying and media usage are all changing and we have to keep pace. This is the real definition of our competitive landscape."

Read Smyth's "From the Corner Office" column here.

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