Paper attributes drop in sales of radios to growth of online/mobile radio listening

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 9:00am

Ofcom -- the UK government's counterpart to the FCC in the U.S. -- has published its third "Digital Radio Report" as it anticipates an eventual nationwide "switchover" of all radio to digital platforms.

Ofcom would like the switchover to happen in 2015 -- but they're waiting for 50% of all radio listening to be via digital platforms, and national DAB coverage to be comparable to that of FM (and local DAB to reach 90% of the population and all major roads). (DAB is the UK's digital radio system, along the same lines as, but significantly different than, HD Radio in the U.S.)

For the 12 months ending in June 2012, data from RAJAR show 29.5% "of all radio listening hours were to services delivered over a digital platform."

Listening on a DAB digital radio set was the most widely-used method, accounting for just under 65% of all digital listening hours. Digital television was almost 16%, and Internet radio accounted for over 13%. The most-listened-to "digital only" stations were BBC Radio 4 Extra, 6 Music, and Five Live Sports Extra (all with over a million average weekly listeners).

Interestingly -- and The Telegraph points this out -- just 6.7 million radio sets were sold in this time period, which is an 18.3% drop from the same period last year. The paper attributes this to "radio listening (that) is now online or via apps, and new apps such as the iPlayer and Radioplayer (that) have encouraged more users to listen via their mobiles."

Read the summary of Ofcom's report here; and coverage from The Telegraph here.

Saga renames PDs "brand managers" to reflect duties of a "multi-platform world"

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 11:20am

Saga Communications notified its program directors this week that their position titles have changed to "brand manager." Saga EVP Steve Goldstein wrote to these employees, "We truly live in a multi-platform world. As a Program Director, you are now spending an increased amount of your time thinking about and working with our various digital platforms. Whether it be the station website(s), social media such as Facebook, Twitter or crafting emails and texts, it’s all now a part of the PD’s day. This is in addition to managing the external marketing feel and visual aspects of the brand."

Saga is the broadcast group that recently made news for turning off the online streams for its properties in markets outside the top 100 (and limiting stream listening on the stations that are still online, so only local listeners can connect). The company also will no longer substitute "online only" content (such as online-only audio ads) when the on-air station goes to commercial break. See more here.

"We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand," Goldstein's letter continued. "And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of Program Directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital."

Saga Communications has more than 100 broadcast stations in 29 U.S. markets.

New Clear Channel SVP of Digital Jerrell Jimerson to oversee iHeartRadio, station websites

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 11:55am

Clear Channel has named Jerrell Jimerson Senior Vice President of Product for Digital. Jimerson will "oversee the roadmap, product definition and design" for iHeartRadio, the company's digital radio service, and all Clear Channel radio station and personality websites. He'll manage the iHeartRadio Product team, and will work with the Digital team to expand the platform and deploy new offerings.

Jimerson's more than 20 years of experience and product development background include his tenure as President/CEO of Songbird. He previously served as an "Entrepreneur in Residence" at Sigma Partners; VP/GM of Consumer, Credit, Mobile & New Ventures at PayPal; and VP of Broadband, Consumer Services and Digital Home at Yahoo! He's also held product and general management positions at Apple, Netscape, and AOL.

Jimerson will report to Brian Lakamp, President of Digital at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, effective immediately.

BIA/Kelsey forecasts a 12.1% increase in radio's digital dollars this year

Monday, October 8, 2012 - 11:25am

BIA/Kelsey forecasts radio's online and digital revenues will reach $491 million this year, a 12.1% increase over 2011, in its U.S. Local Media Forecast (2011-2016): Full Edition.

Radio's overall revenue was revised downward, however, to $14.868 billion for 2012 (which is still a 2.2% increase over 2011). Of that, $14.377 billion is expected to come from over-the-air advertising, an increase of 1.9% from last year.

Radio Ink comments that broadcasters' relatively small digital take "may support the theory that committing too many resources to digital just isn't worth it yet. Or depending on how you look at it, it may also support the theory that radio is only getting a small portion of digital because of a lackluster effort."

Read more in here and in Radio Ink here

"Pandora and Spotify" part of U.S. online ad market's 2017 surge past TV, predicts Mintel

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - 9:35am

This year, online will overtake newspapers' share of the global ad market. And in the U.S., digital ad dollars could surpass television by 2017.

Medialife Magazine reports on a new report from market research firm Mintel, writing, "Online's sharp growth curve, combined with slight declines for television, will continue to be sparked by new innovations, such as mobile advertising and increased use of online video streamed directly to television sets. The growth of online radio services, including Pandora and Spotify, will also bolster online ad sales, coming at the expense of terrestrial radio. And the continued shift in consumption of information on digital devices rather than in print will prompt many advertisers to move their money out of newspapers and magazines and put it online."

Meanwhile, media agency Carat says online will overtake newspapers in the global ad market this year (they had earlier predicted it would happen next year). Digital will account for 15.3% of all spending in 2012, second only to television. Newspapers will account for 14.4%, says Carat.

Read more on these developments from Medialife Magazine here and here.

Streaming poised to push digital music revenues past physical sales this year in U.S.

Thursday, August 16, 2012 - 1:15pm

It looks as if we'll soon hit the moment where sales of physically packaged music (CDs and vinyl) will be surpassed in the U.S. by digital sales and licensing, in the form of paid downloads, subscription services, and webcasting.

Worldwide, CDs and vinyl still dominate the industry with a 61% share of all music sold. But it's streaming services that are powering the shift in revenue, notably in the U.S.

2012 U.S. streaming revenues will grow at four times the rate of downloads, meaning online streaming and downloads account for double the share of music spending in the U.S. than globally. Strategy Analytics says worldwide streaming revenues are to increase 40% this year to account for $1.1 billion in industry revenue, while downloads will grow just 8.5% to $3.9 billion. So, while downloads still dwarf streaming services revenue, the latter "will take over as the leading revenue growth engine for the music industry in 2012."

Ed Barton, Strategy Analytics' Director of Digital Media, said, "Streaming music services such as Spotify and Pandora will be the key growth drivers over the next five years as usage and spending grow rapidly." He added, "Having stabilized long term revenue declines resulting from the downsizing of packaged music spending, the industry will be hoping that digital can rebuild the U.S. music market to something approaching its former stature."

Read more from Strategy Analytics here, Ars Technica here, and BBC News here.

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