Clear Channel

TargetSpot, SiriusXM name new CEOs; HuffPo exec joins CCE digital team

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 11:50am

TargetSpot's Eyal Goldwerger (pictured) has stepped down as CEO as part of what's being called a "planned reorganization." He will continue to advise the company's board, and he remains a shareholder.

TargetSpot is the largest online audio sales network. Goldwerger delivered a "POV" address at RAIN Summit West earlier this month in Las Vegas (coverage of his speech, and audio, is in RAIN here). Goldwerger joined TargetSpot as CEO in 2009. CRO Mitch Kline and CTO Leigh Newsome will serve as "co-CEOs" to replace him.

News also broke this morning that satellite broadcaster SiriusXM Radio has named interim CEO James Meyer as Mel Karmazin's fulltime replacement as CEO, effective immediately.

Finally, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has brought on former Huffington Post executive Brian Kaminsky as EVP of operations for the digital division.

Mobile ad sales not lagging, stresses Summit panel, they're coming along nicely

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 1:40pm

The professionals on the RAIN Summit West "Profiting from Mobile" panel all agreed that mobile's ad sales outlook has, and continues to, significantly improve.

Even moderator Michael Theodore (Interactive Advertising Bureau VP) questioned whether the premise of "how do we fix mobile?" was correct. He said, "Those who feel mobile isn’t generating enough dollars are way too impatient." He illustrated his point by comparing the 2010 $1 billion mobile ad spend with television's $105 million in 1950. By 1952, TV's ad revenue had tripled, and Theodore is expecting the same for mobile when the 2012 numbers come out.

Pandora SVP/Ad sales Steven Kritzman quickly summed it up for his company: "Mobile is 65% of our revenue." What's more, mobile revenue growth has caught up to mobile listening growth, and is now outpacing it for the leading webcaster.

Clear Channel Media SVP/Local Digital Sales Michelle Savoy (left) said it's even time to ratchet up CPMs (ad rates). She credits an improved, richer, and more engaging mobile experience. Kritzman said much the same, saying mobile Pandora listeners tend to interact with the app much more than desktop users (for a station created by Pandora for an advertiser, for instance, Pandora sees 10 to 12 times the adoption on mobile). He's looking for the ad industry to improve its "engagement metrics" to better measure that interaction, and for marketers to improve ad creative.

If you're a webcaster or broadcaster, you absolutely need to have a mobile presence, stressed Abacast Director of Sales and Revenue Michael Dalfonzo. Already with 60-70% of his clients' listeners coming in via mobile, you need to get a branded mobile app, and to be available on the large aggregators (TuneIn, iHeartRadio). Oh, and build an alarm clock into it, so you can tune your listeners in the moment they wake up.

One key for the future he suggested will be the ability to target ad to individuals by the device they're using to listen. "you can reach them right when they're ready to make a purchase."

ESPN Audio Senior Director of Distribution & Business Strategy Patrick Polking said his company's main mobile challenge now is in distribution, that is, new partners and platforms to distribute ESPN content beyond SiriusXM, TuneIn, and Slacker. "Scale is going to be very valuable," he said.

Look for more recaps of the panels, presentations, and speeches from Sunday's RAIN Summit West.

Clear Channel and Wind-Up Records strike royalties deal

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 2:15pm

There's now yet another "marketplace" deal between Clear Channel and a record label -- this time, Wind-Up Records -- that will have the broadcaster pay a share of ad revenue for its broadcast of the label's music. In exchange, Clear Channel gets a discount on its royalty obligation when it streams the same music.

One reason deals like this are significant is broadcasters in the U.S. are not compelled to pay copyright owners or performers for the broadcast use of copyright sound recordings. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, however, requires payment for the digital use (e.g. webcasting, satellite radio, cable radio) of this material. While the music industry has long bemoaned broadcasters' free over-the-air use of its intellectual property, Internet radio and other digital services have chafed under royalty obligations that can amount to half (or more) of revenues.

Such agreements could be a sign that broadcasters like Clear Channel understand the broadcast royalty exemption may not last forever, and what's more, online delivery of content is becoming more and more vital to radio. On the other side, labels like Wind-Up perhaps see that webcasting in their future too.

Industry legal expert and authority on royalties David Oxenford has written that these deals could be pivotal in upcoming government deliberations on setting a statutory U.S. webcasting royalty rate. Without actual marketplace royalty agreements, Copyright Royalty Board judges have so far been compelled to use the "willing buyer willing seller" standard and set royalties where they think a hypothetical market players would settle. And so far, all of those determinations have been wildly in the record companies' favor.

When Clear Channel's "royalty swap" agreement with the Big Machine Label Group was announced, Oxenford wrote, "the pro-record company outcome of the CRB proceedings may well be changed if these deals can be shown to be representative of the real value of the public performance of the sound recording." (Read more in RAIN here.)

Oxenford moderated "The Song Plays On," a panel discussion concerning webcast royalties, Sunday at RAIN Summit West.

Clear Channel has struck similar deals with Glassnote Entertainment Group, Dualtone, DashGo, rpm Entertainment, Robbins Entertainment, and Naxos.

Wind-up Records launched a number of multi-platinum rock artists, including Evanescence, Creed, Finger Eleven, and Seether, and has brought on Five for Fighting, O.A.R. and The Darkness, among others.

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.

RAIN Summit West panel will examine how webcasters can make money from growing mobile listening

Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 12:30pm

Triton Digital's Webcast Metrics report (see today's coverage) includes analysis that indicates growing Internet radio listening is being driven by listening on mobile devices.

Now, there are special concerns and issues when it comes to monetizing this listening (compared to over-the-air or desktop streaming). This Sunday at RAIN Summit West, our panel "Profiting from Mobile" will address the question "What are the critical elements to making money with mobile?"

Contributing to the panel is Michael Dalfonzo, director of sales and revenue for Abacast, a software/services provider for online radio. Abacast recently launched cloud-based ad-insertion with partner ESPN (see RAIN here), and technology that allows song-skipping on live broadcast streams (more here and here). Dalfonzo (pictured right) is a broadcast radio programming vet, and an experienced consultant and researcher. He was also VP/Sales at Spacial Audio Solutions.

Speaking of ESPN, senior director of distribution & business strategy with ESPN Audio Patrick Polking joins us as well. ESPN Radio is the most-listened-to single live stream of any AM/FM broadcaster in the world, and mobile is an increasingly important component to that audience. ESPN SVP of production/pusiness divisions Traug Keller delivered the RAIN Summit West keynote last year (here), and took the occasion to preview the newly-updated ESPNRadio mobile app. Polking (pictured left) is a former financial analyst and led business development at Found, Inc.

Special thanks to Clear Channel SVP/local digital sales Michelle Savoy, pinch-hitting on the panel for Clear Channel's Rick Song. Before joining Clear Channel in November, Savoy spent over twelve years with Gannett Digital, specializing in revenue building, business development, and ad operations. The company announced today iHeartRadio's "Perfect For" feature and alarm clock function (which were added in January) are now available on the iHeartRadio Android app.

Moderating our "Profiting from Mobile" panel will be the IAB's Michael Theodore. Also speaking, Pandora's Steven Kritzman (more details here).

RAIN Summit West is this Sunday at the LVH Hotel in Las Vegas. The annual full-day Internet radio conference is a co-located education program of the NAB Show. Now in its 12th year, the Summit focuses on the intersection of radio and the Internet. Keynoting the even will be RAB president and CEO Erica Farber (more in RAIN here

) and Rhapsody International president Jon Irwin (more here

). Very limited space is still available. Links to register are on our RAIN Summit West page.

iHeartRadio Music Festival scheduled for 9/20-21 in Vegas

Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 12:45pm

Clear Channel has set the dates for its third-annual iHeartRadio Music Festival. The fest will be September 20th and 21st, returning to Las Vegas's MGM Grand Hotel. Clear Channel will announce the line-up in summer.

The festival began in 2011 as a "relaunch" event to promote Clear Channel's online radio service iHeartRadio. Last year, over 17 million people listened and viewed the festival performances, which Clear Channel says generated over a billion "social impressions" and more than 50 million text-to-win contest entries.

Clear Channel is also bringing back the "Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Star" contest, where the winning artist or group will perform at the festival.

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