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Streaming audio ad platforms will drive revenue up

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 9:55am

This guest column is by Jennifer Lane, CEO of RAIN Enterprises. It first appeared in Audio4cast.

Programmatic buying will capture nearly 20% of the display ad spend this year, according to eMarketer, and that’s a number that is growing more quickly than anticipated. In general, display advertising is growing more quickly, thanks to increased demand for mobile ads. Advertisers are becoming more adept at using real time buying systems, attracted to the cost effectiveness and increased targeting capabilities. Meanwhile, as mobile usage continues to expand, publishers are releasing more inventory to the programmatic buying platforms. More buyers, more inventory, more revenue. 

Meanwhile Triton Digital continues to announce enhancements to their programmatic exchange for streaming audio advertising, a2x. They recently announced a partnership with Lotame to integrate its unifying data management platform (DMP) into a2x, enabling a2x publishers such as Entercom, CBS, and Univision to to collect, understand and activate audience data from any source, including online, offline and mobile.

Essentially, Triton’s a2x platform is enabling publishers to transform their largely unidentifyable inventory and transform it into units that can be targeted and sold as targetable inventory in a real time buying platform. As advertisers and their agencies become more and more interested in platforms that offer greater flexibility in targeting and real time pricing, publishers are wise to have these options in their arsenal. However, as AdAge was quick to note in this article, it’s also smart business to complement this selling strategy with one that offers custom and sponsored ads that net a higher rate.

Last week CBS Radio introduced Audio Ad Center, a self-serve platform that enables small businesses to promote and target their products and services to their online and mobile radio listeners with customized messaging and creative copy. Small business owners can visit the website to purchase ads to run on any of the online CBS Radio stations. ”Streaming audio is a very effective form of advertising and does not have to be limited to the companies with the biggest budgets,” CBS Local Media president Ezra Kucharz added. “With AUDIO ADCENTER, business owners can align themselves with the most trusted radio brands with millions of listeners between them to choose from.”

Innovative online platforms that enable advertisers to easily purchase, track and manage their ad inventory. These are the components that will drive more revenue to streaming audio platforms.

CBS leverages Radio.com to promote new television show with dedicated Net radio station

Monday, June 17, 2013 - 12:05pm

CBS Local Digital Media has created an Internet radio station based on the CBS Television series "Under the Dome."

The show premieres June 24, and is based upon the science fiction novel of the same name by Stephen King. The Internet radio station launched today on CBS's Radio.com.

CBS says the station's programming includes music "influenced by the show's characters, conversations with best-selling author and executive producer of the series Stephen King, weekly interviews with music supervisor Ann Kline, and an array of commentary surrounding each episode and how the plot is developing week to week."

Listen to the "Under the Dome" radio here.

Triton Digital releases April Internet radio ratings

Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 12:05pm

Industry leading webcaster Pandora saw its April Average Active Sessions (the online radio equivalent of Average Quarter Hour) fall 7% March to April, in the first full month of its 40-hour/month cap on free mobile listening. Meanwhile, most of the top streaming broadcast groups saw double-digit AAS growth in April.

Triton Digital's Webcast Metrics Top 20 rankers for April were released yesterday.

While Pandora's listening was down a bit, broadcast groups like Clear Channel, Cumulus, and CBS Radio all enjoyed 11%-13% AAS bumps in April. Clear Channel (which has the iHeartRadio online radio platform) is up 42% over the past twelve months, and up 21% in 2013 alone. Only Cox among the top broadcast streamers was down in April, 12%. While Cox's AAS is down 10% so far this year, it's still grown 21% since April 2012. Note that Cox recently sold several clusters in markets like Birmingham, Richmond, south Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisville, and Greenville -- and this ratings period reflects the loss of that listening.

Internet radio pureplay Slacker continues its streak, up another 11% in April (and 40% in 2013). And the online-only webcaster idobi, which seemingly came out of nowhere in November to join the ranks of the top pureplays in Webcast Metrics, also got a 10% AAS bump in April.

These numbers, by the way, all come from the 6a-12a, Monday through Sunday "Domestic" ranking (see the chart below). A former top pureplay in that ranking, Digitally Imported, is now the top pureplay and second only to Clear Channel on the "All Streams" ranker (which takes non-U.S. listening into account). (Note that Pandora is not a part of this ranking.)

Pandora instituted its listening cap to temper its sound recording royalty expenditure. Since advertisers aren't paying as much for mobile ad impressions, the webcaster monetizes ad-supported mobile listening at a significantly lower rate than on desktop computers. Listeners who hit the cap can pay 99-cents to listen for the rest of the month, or purchase the Pandora One subscription to listen commercial-free (about $36 a year).

Apparently, a good number of listeners are doing exactly this. Pandora added more than 700-thousand new subscribers to its Pandora One service in its first quarter this year, up 114% to more than two-and-a-half million (and more net new subscribers in the quarter than in all of fiscal 2013) (see RAIN here). Pandora now also has the top-grossing "non-game" app in Apple's App Store (more here).

You can see Triton Digital's full April 2013 Webcast Metrics Top 20 rankers here. RAIN's coverage of the March 2013 ratings is here.

Triton Digital: Mobile likely growing Net radio listening with more, yet shorter, sessions

Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 12:30pm

In its release yesterday of Webcast Metrics February Top 20 Ranker, Triton Digital analyzed the effect of increasing mobile listening on audience metrics.

Overall, AAS (or Average Active Sessions -- the number of listeners to a stream at the average moment in the given daypart) during Internet radio's "primetime" (M-F 6a-8p) grew 6% since January. Year-over-year, that growth is 34%.

[Let's note right here that for our own analysis of Webcast Metrics figures, we almost always use the M-Su 6a-12M daypart, and the "domestic ranker."]

Separating "desktop" listening from that on mobile devices, it's clear which is pulling this growth wagon.

While most listening is still on desktop/laptop computers, "we see impressive AAS growth of 43% in mobile listening, while desktop listening only saw an increase of 5%," Triton Digital explains.

However, as more listen on mobile devices, ATSL (Average Time Spent Listening) tends to fall. Across the board, the Webcast Metrics panel has seen ATSL drop from 46 minutes last year to 39 minutes now. (In the past year, mobile ATSL has fallen slightly, desktop ATSL has risen slightly.)

Triton concludes, "Engagement at the desktop is roughly double that of mobile devices, but the growth in listening is being driven by shorter listening sessions on mobile devices."

Looking at February's numbers, listening was generally flat comparing January to February. The lone major exception was ESPN Radio, down a bit following a January surge likely fueled by Superbowl coverage. Yet its February AAS was still higher than any month before January.

Year-over-year numbers are more heartening, especially for Internet-only webcasters (well, especially for Pandora!) The segment of the panel that's "Internet-only" is up 52% over the last year. That's nearly solely powered by Pandora's growth, which is up 55%, and despite the loss of Digitally Imported and 977Music from this list. The Internet-only segment did benefit from the introduction of Idobi Radio in November, however.

Overall, the Top 20's combined AAS is up 43% year-to-year (Again, this number is different from the overall growth figure in Triton Digital's analysis above, as we're monitoring a wider daypart, and possibly a different ranker. Growth in mobile listening may in fact be driving AAS outside the typical "business hours" daypart, thus making our M-Su 6a-12M number higher.).

Looking at the major broadcasters' streams, Clear Channel and Cox are both up significantly over February of last year (31% and 35%, respectively). CBS, however, is down 25%.

One final note: Pandora's lead over the combined online AAS of the top five streaming broadcast groups is now 71% higher than it was a year ago.

You can see one of the February rankers below. See all of the published Webcast Metrics numbers here. Our coverage of January's Webcast Metrics rankings is here.

RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson will discuss Internet radio listening trends as part of his "State of the Industry" address, and Triton Digital's president of market development John Rosso (pictured) will give a POV (point of view) address, at RAIN Summit West, this Sunday in Las Vegas.

CBS Radio, Entercom sign on to Triton Digital's a2x for digital audio ad sales

Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 12:45pm

CBS Radio and Entercom Communications have joined Triton Digital's a2x ad sales platform.

Triton's new a2x is an audience-based "programmatic buying solution" for online and mobile audio ads (we've covered it here) that allows broadcasters and webcasters to sell remnant digital audio ad space "auction-style." 

Both broadcasters rank among the largest in the U.S. CBS Radio owns more than 350 stations, Entercom more than 100.

Learn more about Triton Digital's a2x platform here.

Triton Digital's Dominick Milano will host the "Jump Start Your Revenue" Panel at RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas April 7. Entercom's Amy Van Hook will also speak at the Summit, as part of the "Dashboard Discussions" panel.

CBS gives TuneIn clearance to add its music stations to streaming directory

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 12:05pm

Streaming radio aggregator TuneIn and CBS Radio say they are "enhancing" their agreement that allows TuneIn to link to CBS Radio streams in its directory. TuneIn visitors will have access to the full roster of CBS Radio's 80 music stations, plus a selection of CBS "online-only" streams.

Recently, the broadcaster limited TuneIn to including sports, talk and news stations in its service (including its mobile apps), but kept CBS music station streams like KROQ, WCBS, and WXRT on the broadcaster's own Radio.com directory. In April of last year (here), CBS ended its refusal to let TuneIn carry any of its station streams (more here).

It's a non-exclusive agreement, and CBS Radio station streams will continue to be available online and through mobile devices via Radio.com.

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