SAG-AFTRA union approves new contracts covering commercials for TV, radio, and the Internet

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 12:10pm

In a national vote, Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists members have approved new, three-year contracts with the advertising industry to cover commercials produced for -- and repurposed for -- television, radio, and "the Internet and new media." (An example of this could be when a spot voiced or produced by SAG-AFTRA for radio is streamed online.) The new contracts go into effect immediately, retroactive to April 1, 2013, and remain in force until June 30, 2016.

According to a press release, the new contracts result in "wage increases and other payments totaling $238 million for all categories of performers, improvements in cable use fees, increases in payments for work on the Internet and new media platforms, an increase in the late payment fee, and an increase in contributions to the health and pension/retirement plans."

Read the press release here.

iHeartRadio custom stations to remain commercial-free "until April"

Monday, October 22, 2012 - 12:55pm

The Pandora-like custom music service of Clear Channel's iHeartRadio will stay ad-free at least until spring.

Inside Radio reports that listeners are hearing promos calling the service "commercial-free until April."

Clear Channel "has enticed more than 18 million users to register for the service by making that a requirement to use the custom feature. Collecting ZIP code, gender and age data from registered users will enable iHeart to serve more targeted advertising," wrote Inside Radio.

"If it was easy to stick ads in between songs on a CD, labels would have done it long ago," president of digital Brian Lakamp commented. "We'll make an announcement when we've struck the right balance between the consumer expectation and the advertising opportunity."

RAIN Analysis: Kassof neatly answers "Is Pandora radio?" question. Answer: "It doesn't matter"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 12:05pm

PandoraMedia researcher Mark Kassof today published results of a recent survey he took of adult (18-64) Pandora listeners. In a nutshell, he asked these listeners to score various music experiences on a "1-to-5" scale on how similar or different they were from Pandora (these included Clear Channel's iHeartRadio Internet radio service, the on-demand Spotify service, SiriusXM satellite radio, iPod/mp3 listening, FM radio, compact discs, and YouTube).

Of the nearly 1,200 Pandora listeners in the survey, 95% of them had an opinion when it came to Pandora vs. FM radio. Of that group, nearly half (49%) scored the difference as a "1" or a "2" (a "1" means "totally different").

So, we're at about 548 Pandora listeners now -- all of whom perceive a significant difference between Pandora and FM radio. Kasof asked them, "In what way or ways is FM radio different than Pandora?" By far, the most popular responses (besides "Other" which Kasof said was 30%) were "Not as much choice in listening" (31%) and "More/too many commercials" (26%). No other response scored higher than 8%, most were about 4%.

So, Pandora listeners say the significant differences between the service and FM is "choice" (select genre, choose artists, skip songs, etc.) and spot load. Surprise, right? Naturally, these differences -- perceived as negative -- made a majority of these Pandora listeners regard FM radio as "worse to listen to" than Pandora. Again, no big surprise. (Actually, only 76% said these differences made FM radio worse... 11% said these differences made FM radio better! Wha?)

Nevertheless, most of FM’s differences are clearly negative for these Pandora listeners (we are talking to Pandora listeners, after all).

Here we want to point to Kassof's conclusion:

"They think FM is either totally different or very different. They represent nearly half of Pandora listeners. They overwhelmingly think Pandora is better.

"So, Pandora may not be radio, but that doesn’t make it any less of a challenge to radio. "The question is: How does radio meet this challenge?"

So there it is. Call Pandora "radio," call it a "soulless celestial jukebox/playlist generator," call it a "ham sandwich." It doesn't matter. If it's a rival station, a new online service, or a small white rectangle in your pocket that radio is now competing against for listeners, radio needs to address it. Listeners certainly aren't concerned whether Pandora is "radio" or not.

Read Mark Kassof's blog post here.

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