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Pandora shares tactics for successfully adding video ads to service

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 10:50am

"Two years after introducing video ads to its primarily audio-centric platform, Pandora believes it has found the right balance between user experience and brand objectives," reads a recent article in ClickZ.com. "And no video ad product would be complete today without an eye toward mobile and cross-platform distribution."

The news source suggests Pandora might provide a model for Facebook (and perhaps others) to follow when introducing video ads.

Pandora SVP Heidi Browning revealed that delivering video ads in an "unexpected" place, yet at a "natural break," (when the user engages with the player, like skipping a song or changing channels) was key for the webcaster. She says ad "completion rates" are "well above industry standard."

Read more of Pandora's insights on video advertising in ClickZ here.

MRC online audio ad standards at least a year away

Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 12:25pm

The Media Rating Council has begun the process of establishing standards of measuring impressions for streaming audio advertising, including that which takes place on Internet radio, according to MRC president George Ivie.

The MRC sets standards and conducts audits to validate audience measurement data. The group has already formulated standards for 15 other forms of digital advertising, and expects this project to take at least a year, according to coverage in Inside Radio.

"The MRC has so far accredited Triton Digital's reports that measure the volume of streaming and share reports. But its audience measurement figures aren't accredited, and Ivie says standards need to be built for the audience demographic data," says the news source.

Read more in Inside Radio here.

McDonald's, Nissan, Pepsi among inaugural iTunes Radio ad partners

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 1:10pm

AdAge reported late yesterday that Apple's iTunes Radio webcast service will launch to the public next month, with a host of top-name advertisers to support it.

Several sources last week reported Apple will unveil its next iPhone at a special event on September 10, so it's possible the radio service will go live then (or shortly thereafter) as well.

Listeners who don't subscribe to iTunes Match can expect to hear ad campaigns from McDonald's, Nissan, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, and more. (iTunes Match subscribers will get ad-free streams.) AdAge says some advertisers will also have curated streams with fewer ads.

The service will run audio and video interstitials (videos will run when the user interacts with the player), and "slate" ads, which AdAge says are "interactive display ads that will take over whatever screen the consumer is using." Audio ads will come every 15 minutes of listening, video ads once an hour (when the user interacts with the player).

RadioInk wrote in its reader e-mail: "Imagine you are about to launch a new format -- and advertisers were falling all over themselves to be a part of it. Dream on. For radio, it's typically the opposite. Prove people listen first, then we'll buy. That's because radio is not Apple. Without any history of success or understanding of whether consumers will accept the new product, it appears several major advertisers are ready to roll out with iTunes Radio when the new platform launches this fall."

Indeed, AdAge reports the launch deals fall between "the high single-digit millions of dollars to tens of millions of dollars and include a 12 month advertising campaign..."

Read AdAge's coverage here.

Pandora sales VP explains local ad strategy to Twin Cities business journal

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - 1:20pm

In local sales efforts, leading webcaster Pandora is positioning itself as the number-two radio station in the Minneapolis market (like it does in several others). Pandora regional VP Gabe Tartaglia discussed some of the webcaster's competitive strategies with Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal's John Vomhof.

But it's more than the sheer number of listeners that gives the webcaster a foothold locally, Tartaglia contends. It's its ability to target advertising not by station format, but to the listener herself.  

"We've got over 700,000 listeners in the Minneapolis DMA every month, and every week, if you take a demographic like adults between 25 and 54, we have about 400,000 listeners," Tartaglia, who's based in Chicago, said.

He characterized their ad rates as "pretty competitive," with the big value coming in targetability. Pandora registration requires the listener's age, gender, and ZIP code. This means Pandora can track users across channels.

"So, if a local advertiser wants a very custom geography or wants to reach an exact age or gender, we can provide that exact demographic with 100 percent guaranteed delivery and zero waste," Tartaglia explained.

"Think about it in terms of the individual listener, not the genre of music they're listening to or a particular artist. Most advertisers want the person. They want the consumer who can hopefully become a potential customer," he continued. "So, if a person is listening to a rock station and then changes to a country station, to us, that's one listener and we can still serve the same targeted adds to that person."

Pandora's biggest local categories and clients include automotive (about 10 different local dealers), health care, and education (University of Minnesota, Globe University).

Read the interview in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal here.

Katz 360, Marketron, Intertech execs on board for September 17 Summit

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - 12:50pm

Katz360's Mort Greenberg, Marketron's Martin Kristiseter, and Intertech Media's Al Pervin will join us at RAIN Summit Orlando to discuss strategies for staffing an effective digital sales team.

The "Building a Top Digital Sales Team" panelists will teach you what to look for when hiring, the best practices for digital sales training, and how to furnish your staff with the best tools to optimize inventory.

RAIN Summit Orlando is September 17, and leads off The Radio Show produced by the NAB and RAB. We'll present fourth-annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards, and conclude with the RAIN Reader cocktail party.

Greenberg (top left photo) took the president's position at Katz360 (which is being rebranded as PROXi Digital) in October, to oversee the monetization of Katz 360’s affiliates and develop the company's "location ad" products (his previous position was as global head of ad sales for Nokia's Location & Commerce division). Greenberg led the transformation of NBC Universal's integrated broadcast and digital ad sales.

Joining Greenberg, Marketron's Martin Kristiseter was founder and president of mSnap, a leading mobile advertising solution provider and the largest broadcast-based mobile ad network. Since its acquisition by Marketron, Kristiseter (middle photo) has served as VP/mobile solutions. He's responsible for the product direction and sales of the Marketron Mobile solution, used by broadcasters like Saga Communications.

Intertech Media director of sales Al Pervin (bottom left) has been a TV anchor and radio talk show host, and was VP/GM of legendary Detroit alternative rock station 89X. Intertech provides web content management, website development, streaming, geo-targeted ad insertion, database marketing, mobile applications, and more to over 1,200 radio and television stations.

We'll soon announce more industry experts who'll speaker at RAIN Summit Orlando. The event will also feature a keynote presentation from Entercom Communications president/CEO David Field, and the presentation of the fourth-annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards. RAIN Summit Orlando is an Official Partner Event of The Radio Show produced by the NAB and RAB. See the latest here. Register for the Summit here.

Streaming audio still hotter with listeners than with marketers, and that's an opportunity, says Forrester report

Monday, August 12, 2013 - 1:00pm

A new Forrester Research report touts "in-stream audio" as a powerful and still under-utilized advertising vehicle. Report author Anthony Mullen encourages marketers to take advantage of the "unique user experience, targeted reach, and guaranteed impressions" that services like Internet radio afford.

The growing popularity of mobile usage actually enhances this advantage. Display ads won't work as well on mobile's small screen, but an audio ad delivered to a mobile device (and through headphones) is (at least) as functional as through computer speakers. Even more, audio ads come one at a time, and avoid the cluttering of visual advertising.

Internet radio (and other ad-supported online audio) fell victim to being neither a purely traditional nor purely digital medium -- and often didn't get a share of campaign budgets divvied up in this way. As such, even today, advertising growth hasn't kept pace with consumers' embrace of the medium, and the full opportunity for markets remains unmet.

The report, called "In-Stream Audio Advertising," describes the maturing of the ad-delivery technology segment, including ad exchanged and real-time bidding platforms.

Inside Radio, which covered the report, wrote: "The Forrester report may not break any new ground in the minds of broadcasters. But as an objective research firm coming to many of the same conclusions as radio has presented to advertisers, it’s sure to help convince some brands to take a second look at in-stream audio ads."

Report author Anthony Mullen blogged about the report here. Purchase the report here, and read Inside Radio's coverage here.

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