broadcasters

New company adds video to radio stations' web streams

Monday, August 27, 2012 - 1:10pm

VadioPortland-based company Vadio creates video channels out of a radio stations' audio streams. The service plays the music video (from YouTube of Vevo) of the song currently playing on a radio station. And during commercials, stations can display logos and positioning statements. Vadio can also incorporate in-studio webcams and is aiming to add more video ads, including pre-rolls, reports RadioInfo.

All said, it provides online users the option to "watch" radio instead of just listening.

Vadio already has two stations using its service (Seattle's Hot AC Star 101.5 KPLZ-FM and 99.9 Real Country WHFB-FM in South Bend, IN) with "many more" set to go live in the new few weeks, says Vadio's Bryce Clemmer. KPLZ PD Kent Phillips tells RadioInfo page views have increased eight-fold and time spent on the site is up 30% since adding Vadio. 

You can find more coverage from RadioInfo here.

Radio online software provider Social Radio unveils new player design and interactive demo

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - 11:35am

Social Radio, which designs software for radio designed to improve online engagement, has unveiled a new player design and interactive software demo.

Steve Allaway, Social Radio CEO, said, "The Social Radio platform is the first of its kind to blend what listeners truly love about radio, the great content and local personalities that connect with them, with the kind of choice, control and personalization that is native to online and mobile media consumers."

Social Radio offers broadcasters "SoundExchange compliant" streaming with features like "Personalized Local Radio, Listener Choice and Control, Song Skipping, Song Rating, Sharing Radio to Facebook, Advertising Accountability, Targeted Advertising for Radio, Multiple Channels for Online Radio Stations, Social Radio Listener Experience, Social Radio Advertiser Experience, and more."

The new demo is available here. Read Social Radio's entire press release here

Local content hubs earned top rankings in January, according to comScore

Monday, March 12, 2012 - 11:35am

CBS Radio's Philadelphia web portalCBS Radio has found success with its 30 local web portals: comScore ranked them as some of the top local websites online in January. Now the broadcaster plans to take what it's learned and remake its music radio station websites.

CBS began launching local website hubs in 2010, aggregating content from local TV stations, sports radio stations and talk/news stations (RAIN coverage here; see an example portal for Philadelphia here).

"While some radio companies are doubling down on streaming or daily deals, CBS has opted for a more diversified digital business model," writes Inside Radio. "The diversification strategy is paying off."

In January, the network ranked first in Time Spent among regional local media sites, according to comScore. CBS' portals also ranked second in page views, fifth in unique visitosr and visits. "The rankings are especially noteworthy in light of the fact that CBS Local operates in just 30 markets compared to many of its competitors [AOL Patch, MSN Local, Yelp, Yahoo Local and CityGrid], which operate in as many as 150-200 markets," observes Inside Radio.

CBS says unique visitors grew 43% last year ("the fastest growth in our entire peer group," according to CEO Les Moonves). The local hubs are also generating new revenue for CBS, tapping into daily deals, online directories, ecommerce, affinity clubs, performance advertising and other services. "There are real dollars we’re going to start seeing," said Moonves.

CBS Radio's 97.1 new website

Now CBS is "taking a lot of the best practices and strategies we learned... from CBS Local Digital Media and applying them to the music business," according to CBS Local Digital Media president Ezra Kucharz. Specifically, its music radio station websites.

CBS moved its music radio stations to the Local Digital Media division in December, away from CBS Interactive Music Group. Last week CBS began rennovating its music radio station websites -- starting with CHR stations -- looking to add a unified design, social media integration, video, improved advertising and tie-ins with Last.fm, Local Offers and Metro Lyrics.

Inside Radio points to 97.1 KAMP (here and pictured left) as an example of the new website design: archived video interviews, embedded Twitter feeds and easy access to either buy songs recently played on-air or build custom Last.fm stations.

You can subscribe to Inside Radio's daily newsletters here.

RAIN Analysis: Industry's future is as much broadcasters' as Pandora's

Friday, March 9, 2012 - 11:30am

The last few days have been rather rough for Pandora. Its stock slid after its reported earnings failed to meet its own or analysts' expectations. Even soaring revenues and monumental growth couldn't overcome its expenses that are rising even faster. And while words like "gleeful" spring to mind, suffice it to say that for many broadcasters (and trade journalists), these last days weren't as rough as they were for Pandora stockholders.

At this point in the development of this next generation of radio, it can be argued that Pandora is the online radio industry. Its usage and revenue dwarf the combined achievements of the rest of the industry so far (including broadcasters' online efforts), it's had a successful IPO, it's a player in the automotive- and home-entertainment industries, and so on. For better or for worse, at this point Pandora is the Internet radio industry.

And that's why it's important to share with you a thought (or, at least, remind you of this thought). It's not an original thought. It'll be familiar to anyone who's read Jerry del Colliano or Mark Ramsey. And anyone who's listened to RAIN's Kurt Hanson deliver his "State of the Industry" address at a RAIN Summit has heard it. And anyone who's read an interview with Pandora founder Tim Westergren or CEO Joe Kennedy has heard it too.

First, take a look what financial ratings agency Fitch Ratings said today in a new report called "Broadcast Radio Industry Assessment: Near-Term Declines, Digital Potential" (MarketWatch coverage here). Radio's advertising revenue (aside from "digital") will decline each year. People will spend less time with traditional radio. Internet radio, meanwhile, will continue to grow its audiences, fueled by growing mobile use. But given all that, here's the punch line:

Digital initiatives by terrestrial broadcasters, although in early stages, could provide an opportunity to capture a sizeable portion of digital listening over the next few years. Terrestrial broadcasters' established, high-margin businesses will allow them to fund digital initiatives and provide room to absorb near-term revenue declines before any digital revenue becomes material. 

Stated another way: Internet radio is radio's future -- a future which broadcasters are uniquely-suited to dominate.

Now, if Pandora is (at this point in time) Internet radio, and broadcasters's future is Internet radio, doesn't that mean...

Let's let Mark Ramsey (left) say it: "Pandora is, by a broad definition, radio – whether you like it or not, buster. They are radio and you are Pandora – if you choose to be," he writes today (here).

See, Pandora's two significant disadvantages compared to AM/FM -- low monetization of its mobile audience and unreasonably high royalties on music -- aren't going to last. Regarding the first, Ramsey writes, "Do I really need to remind anyone... that quite a lot of traditional radio’s advertising occurs on mobile devices – namely, the mobile devices that sit in your driveway? Indeed, one of the key advantages of mobile advertising on Pandora is that it’s utterly familiar to any advertiser who has ever placed a radio ad!" As for royalties, let's hear from Jerry del Colliano (right), who writes today (subscribe here):

Pandora will not die from this disease called record industry greed because if Pandora goes under, the record industry loses its number one source of music royalty income stream. So the labels will have to relent over time and give Pandora more reasonable rates. Radio on the other hand is facing a new performance royalty that their own NAB CEO is pushing so while Pandora is likely to get royalty relief down the road, radio is about to get saddled with more royalty fees. Bet on it. 

But, the flipside of that is this: Pandora doesn't necessarily have any distinct advantage over broadcasters. There's nothing Pandora -- or Internet radio -- does, that broadcasters can't do just as well, if they put the resources behind the effort.

So, back to that thought to share: Radio's future is digital. It's online, and it's mobile. Pandora's already doing it (as are many smaller, energetic, and innovative groups). And consumers are already headed there. But Pandora needn't "own" it. Broadcasters are still in the best position to stake their claim.

Del Colliano says, "Follow the consumer and you will never go wrong."

We'll give the last word to Ramsey: "Broadcasters enjoy magnificent scale and marvelous relationships with consumers and advertisers alike. Don’t trash Pandora, learn from them. My advice: Don’t get bitter, get busy."

Read MarketWatch's coverage of the Fitch Ratings report here. Read Mark Ramsey's blog here. Subscribe to Jerry del Colliano's Inside Music Media newsletter here.

Broadcast execs fear direct comparison with pureplays, but agencies clamoring for such a service

Monday, December 19, 2011 - 11:00am

ArbitronInside Radio reported earlier in December that some broadcasters feared Arbitron's coming all-in-one measurement service would "siphon off radio ad dollars" to pureplay online radio sites like Pandora (RAIN coverage here).

Now more broadcast radio executives are speaking out against an "apples-to-apples comparison" between pureplay webcasters and AM/FM radio, but agencies are reportedly clamoring for such a service.

Cumlus Media COO John Dickey worries Arbitron’s coming service will give Pandora Arbitron's "good housekeeping stamp of approval." Hubbard Radio EVP/COO Drew Horowitz reportedly said: "Taking a totally different business model and saying it’s the same as our model would be a very frightening approach." 

Arbitron EVP/COO Sean Creamer acknowledged broadcasters' fears, stating that “there is a level of concern on the part of over-the-air broadcasters about this increasing the threat to their pot of money from the pureplays and how they will fit into the service offerings.”

Meanwhile, "both buyers and sellers say universal audio measurement is needed to drive more dollars into the streaming audio marketplace," reports Inside Radio.

Inside Radio

Fraser's Vivian Silverman says an all-in-one ratings platform would help "explain to a client in simple terms how they work together or how one might be more efficient for them in one of their buys." Former TargetSpot chief revenue officer Andy Lipset argued "It would be a game-changer in how media buyers and planners look at streaming."

“Not having [a cross-platform measurement] will hold us back from embracing some of the steaming elements on any large scale," said Maribeth Papuga, Mediavest EVP and director of local investment and activation.

But Inside Radio reports that broadcasters' fears may delay Arbitron's Total Audience Measurement service from launching, as it relies on server-side log files from broadcasters.

"We’d be hard pressed to provide" Arbitron with the necessary data for Total Audience Measurement, Dickey reportedly said. "We’re very skeptical."

Arbitron's Total Audience Measurement service would combine radio's over-the-air, web and mobile listening, with the addition of listening from pureplay webcasters (RAIN coverage here and here). It is unclear when the service will launch; Arbitron has previously stated the service will launch in 2012, but now reportedly says it "isn’t able to say whether its web ratings will go live in 2012."

Currently, the sole ratings service for the U.S. Internet radio industry is Triton Digital Media’s Webcast Metrics (formerly known as Ando Media).

You can subscribe to Inside Radio here.

Triton Digital: Music stations absent from AM/FM streams' September Top 10

Monday, November 28, 2011 - 11:15am

Triton Digital's Top 10 AM/FM station streams for September 2011According to Triton Digital, news/talk and sports AM/FM stations dominated other formats of online radio simulcasts in September. "Not a single [broadcast] music station was among the top ten most popular individual station streams in September [Domestic streams, Mon-Fri, 6am-8pm], according to Triton Digital data," writes Inside Radio.

The top ten list (at right) includes stations like New York's "The Fan" WFAN, WEEI in Boston and Chicago's WBEZ. Why no music stations in the list? Inside Radio says that broadcasters are pointing to competition from webcasters that let users customize the music they hear.

Spoken word stations, however, offer unique content and a "high level of engagement," said Entercom VP Tim Murphy. “People are starting to realize that this is about the brand, not internet radio,” he said. “Strong brands with great content are consumed voraciously by their fans in any way they can get it.”

The popularity of the news/talk format online has attracted advertisers, writes Inside Radio. For example, Cox Media Group's WSB "gets one of every three ad dollars spent on digital radio in Atlanta, according to Miller Kaplan data. That’s considerably higher than its share of on-air spot revenue...about 25% of WSB's digital revenue comes from in-stream audio ads."

You can read more by subscribing to the Inside Radio newsletter here.

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