ad-insertion

ESPN Digital Audio launch partner for new Abacast cloud-based ad-insertion

Friday, February 22, 2013 - 11:55am

ESPN Digital Audio is launching Abascast-powered "cloud-based ad-insertion," to target listeners of national broadcasts by device, location, age, and gender in real time.

An article in AdWeek reads, "Essentially, this means that during large radio broadcast events like last month's BCS Championship game, during which ESPN Radio hosted nearly 110,000 mobile audio streams, ESPN will be able to serve individual ads to each one of those listeners during live breaks."

The cloud-based ad-insertion can send different in-stream audio ads to different groups of listeners, like "all smartphone listeners," "all listeners in the top 20 DMAs that are on iPhones," "all male listeners in the 25-34 age range in a group of zip codes," "all listeners listening on the TuneIn player," and more.

ESPN Digital Audio senior manager Blair Cullen told Adweek: "It didn't make sense that we were targeting women with a lot of the ads that were running. Now, hundreds of thousands of people are going to get different ad breaks. You could be in the same car as your friend wearing different headsets, and you'll still be served a different ad than that person."

Last November (in RAIN here) Abacast announced it had been granted a "patent allowance" for "ad and song insertion." Earlier this month (in RAIN here) the company unveiled its "live stream song-skipping" technology.

Read more from AdWeek here. Abacast's press release is here.

Hubbard's WTOP-FM/D.C. drops ad-insertion for "full simulcast"

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 12:15pm

Hubbard Radio D.C. news outlet WTOP-FM has stopped inserting online-only ads into its web streaming, thereby duplicating its on-air programming online.

Senior Regional VP/Market Manager of Hubbard Radio's Washington, D.C. properties, Joel Oxley, explained the move as one to help Arbitron ratings: "Since WTOP is now a simulcast, those listeners can now be added to our Arbitron ratings. For WTOP even a slight move up in ratings can mean a significant rise in revenue." (quote from Inside Radio coverage)

If there are programming differences -- including ads -- between a station's on-air and its stream, Arbitron counts those audiences separately. If the programming is identical, Arbitron can combine the listening. Saga Communications announced a similar move in August (coverage here) for its streaming stations.

Abacast granted "patent allowance" for "ad and song insertion"

Friday, November 9, 2012 - 1:35pm

Online audio tech company Abacast has announced the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded it a "patent allowance" for its method of replacing content in online broadcast simulcasts with other content.

While there are several technology companies with "ad-insertion" technology, Abacast says other patents "cover only one-for-one ad replacement," and its system "is unique in that it covers the replacement of ads with ads and additional content types such as songs."

The Abacast press release explains, "The patent for the invention titled 'Content Injection System and Methodology," allows for the broadcast ad to be replaced with ads, songs, and other Internet-specific content and is inclusive of mobile devices and tablets, in addition to PCs."

A notice of patent allowance means that the Patent Office has deemed the invention "genuinely new" and intends to award the patent when necessary fees have been paid.

Saga renames PDs "brand managers" to reflect duties of a "multi-platform world"

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 11:20am

Saga Communications notified its program directors this week that their position titles have changed to "brand manager." Saga EVP Steve Goldstein wrote to these employees, "We truly live in a multi-platform world. As a Program Director, you are now spending an increased amount of your time thinking about and working with our various digital platforms. Whether it be the station website(s), social media such as Facebook, Twitter or crafting emails and texts, it’s all now a part of the PD’s day. This is in addition to managing the external marketing feel and visual aspects of the brand."

Saga is the broadcast group that recently made news for turning off the online streams for its properties in markets outside the top 100 (and limiting stream listening on the stations that are still online, so only local listeners can connect). The company also will no longer substitute "online only" content (such as online-only audio ads) when the on-air station goes to commercial break. See more here.

"We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand," Goldstein's letter continued. "And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of Program Directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital."

Saga Communications has more than 100 broadcast stations in 29 U.S. markets.

RAIN Guest Essay: "Song 2" by Andy Lipset

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 11:30am

 

 

Earlier in the year, I wrote an article for RAIN entitled "The Song Remains the Same" (here) which discussed how the noise around the subject of streaming was hurting potential dollars to come into the marketplace for all players in the space -- be it pureplay companies or broadcasters. 

Today, there is another wrinkle that has appeared in the space that could start to hamper dollar flow and that is one around technology. So, I have titled this article "Song 2," a follow up to my original article in January. ("Song 2" was also a big alternative rock hit in the 90’s and - somewhat appropriate to what’s happening in the marketplace -was recorded by the band Blur.)

I want to center on the debate whether or not broadcasters should stream separate commercials in their online versus over-the-air product.

There is a lot of discussion around this primarily because the ad breaks in the streams of many broadcasters sound terrible. Spots run over one another. Some spots don’t start on time. Some of the breaks finish when the over the air broadcast has already started, and spots may finish 20 seconds into the start of a song. While some have categorized the decision to discontinue running separate breaks as a royalty issue — at the heart of it, this is more of a product and, specifically, a technology, issue—and it’s one that will put a cap on money that flows into the market.

Personally, I do not believe that the broadcasters should pull their ability to insert ads into their streams. That said, the issue is an understandable one from the broadcaster’s perspective. To keep your current listeners engaged, and to attract new listeners, the stream has to sound good.

But rather than run away from the problem, I would rather see the broadcasters say “I need to fix it.” This is 2012, and the problem of in-stream ad-syncing should be a very addressable issue at this point of the evolution of the medium and the technology that supports it. Talk to your vendors and work with them to fix the issue. If they point to the ad network, the insertion company, the CDN, or any other vendor in the chain as being the problem, ask them all to jump on the phone together and work it out until they find the problem. If they say the issue is on your side, ask them to help you to work it out. If they can’t work it out, it may be time to look at other vendors. Your product's sound and potential revenue should not be hurt because a technology vendor cannot service and stand behind their own product.

I see advertising revenue getting hurt from several different buckets because of this issue:

  1. Advertisers who have streaming dollars to invest today pull their budgets. We know that advertisers are hesitant to invest in products that sound bad, or worse, where they are unsure of how their spots will run. If you haven’t listened to the focus groups that Edison Research did around digital advertising (in RAIN here), you should do it (here). Current streaming advertisers have a lot to say about product quality and how it relates to investment in dollars. There are several national agencies that have pulled dollars from broadcaster’s streams because of break quality issues.
     
  2. New revenue to the station gets hurt dramatically : Let’s be honest, advertisers are looking for elements in their spend such as better accountability, better targeting, tracking, geo-location, frequency capping, engagement and better post-campaign reporting. And let’s face it, most of this can’t be done with a station’s over-the-air inventory. One of the few elements that a station has in its wheelhouse that allows them to participate in the new world of advertising is the inventory in the stream. It has all of the ability to help stations take part in new dollars and make the medium more relevant and robust. The concept of killing this inventory makes very little sense for where the advertising marketplace has shifted and where advertisers will continue to look at to invest.
     
  3. The overall streaming marketplace gets hurt: If you are a pureplay company, the lack of broadcaster participation in the streaming marketplace, could actually hurt -– not help -- your revenue picture. This is because the more sellers that are in the market telling the streaming story, the faster the market actually grows. This is especially true in nascent markets, and I saw this first-hand from our early days at Ronning Lipset Radio and TargetSpot.

    Fred Wilson, one of our board members at TargetSpot, reinforced to me the point that being one of the only players in the streaming space wasn’t the best thing for the company. He believed "there could be more than one winner in the streaming space" and having more competitors on the street would actually "rise the tide" for more dollars to be driven into the market. While initially I was skeptical, he was absolutely correct. When our sales team was the only unit talking to clients about the streaming marketplace, we grew the marketplace quickly. But when players such as Pandora, Katz360, and Clear Channel entered the arena, the market grew even faster. The same is true today: the more people that are selling the concept of streaming, the more overall heat and share of voice it will get from the advertising community.

Every broadcaster -– let alone media company -– is looking to drive additional advertising dollars into their revenue mix. I am not sure why streaming would be left out of the revenue equation for a broadcaster. There are those that will say the investment of dollars into streaming infrastructure isn’t worth the effort because revenues are not there because the market is still "young." I don’t see it that way--there are many players in streaming writing significant dollars in the space. I think the real question to ask is this: are your revenues not there because the quality of the product is hurting efforts to drive additional dollars to your stations and to the marketplace?

Andy Lipset is the former Chief Revenue Officer at TargetSpot, 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 and Interep.

RAIN Guest Essay: "Song 2" by Andy Lipset

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 11:55am

Earlier in the year, I wrote an article for RAIN entitled "The Song Remains the Same" (here) which discussed how the noise around the subject of streaming was hurting potential dollars to come into the marketplace for all players in the space -- be it pureplay companies or broadcasters. 

Today, there is another wrinkle that has appeared in the space that could start to hamper dollar flow and that is one around technology. So, I have titled this article "Song 2," a follow up to my original article in January. ("Song 2" was also a big alternative rock hit in the 90’s and - somewhat appropriate to what’s happening in the marketplace -was recorded by the band Blur.)

I want to center on the debate whether or not broadcasters should stream separate commercials in their online versus over-the-air product.

There is a lot of discussion around this primarily because the ad breaks in the streams of many broadcasters sound terrible. Spots run over one another. Some spots don’t start on time. Some of the breaks finish when the over the air broadcast has already started, and spots may finish 20 seconds into the start of a song. While some have categorized the decision to discontinue running separate breaks as a royalty issue — at the heart of it, this is more of a product and, specifically, a technology, issue—and it’s one that will put a cap on money that flows into the market.

Personally, I do not believe that the broadcasters should pull their ability to insert ads into their streams. That said, the issue is an understandable one from the broadcaster’s perspective. To keep your current listeners engaged, and to attract new listeners, the stream has to sound good...

Continue reading Lipset's Guest Essay "Song 2" here.

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