digital

NPR makes Triton's Webcast Metrics, Ad Injector available to member stations

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 11:25am

Through their recently-announced partnership with Triton Digital, NPR Digital Services will offer member stations use of Triton's Webcast Metrics (for online listening measurement) and Ad Injector (for corporate sponsorship management).

"This is an exciting next step in our ongoing effort to embrace and leverage digital media platforms,” commented Bob Kempf, Vice President of NPR Digital Services, in a press release.

Read the press release online here.

CBS launches "Your Day" iPad app to leverage audience gains for combined local media

Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 12:15pm

CBS yesterday announced it's created and launched the new "Your Day" iPad app, which aggregates content from its local radio, television, and online properties. The app adds content from CBS-owned properties like CNet, CBSSports.com, and Chow.com as well.

The "Your Day" app is free and available for 24 of the top U.S. markets.

MediaPost reports, "One of the key strategies has been to consolidate separate Web properties in a given market into one local online hub. In New York, for example, different sites for WCBS-TV (Channel 2), WFAN, 1010 WINS and WCBS 880 were combined into one property -- CBSNewYork.com -- leading to traffic gains beyond the total of the combined audiences for the four properties." CBS is now duplicating that strategy in 25 markets.

ComScore data shows total listening hours for local CBS radio streams are up 20% 2010-2011, and total listening hours per session are up 18% (interestingly, Triton's Webcast Metrics has shown steady decline in Average Active Sessions for CBS from late 2009 through January 2012 -- you can see that here, and our coverage of the latest Webcast Metrics ratings is here).

According to a recent BIA/Kelsey forecast, local online ad revenue across the country will grow from $21.2 billion this year to $38.5 billion by 2016. The growth in the digital segment will offset slower than anticipated growth in total local media advertising revenues, the company says.

Read MediaPost's coverage of the Your Day app here.

NPR SVP of Marketing: "Public radio is actually expanding"

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 11:50am

NPR News on the iPadAccording to the Pew Research Center, NPR's average weekly over-the-air audience declined slightly in 2011. But digital is where the growth is, says NPR CEO Gary Knell. "Our digital growth is exploding," he told the Nieman Journalism Lab.

Average weekly listening to NPR programming dipped 1.45% from 2010 to 2011, according to Pew's "State of the News Media 2012" report (RAIN coverage here). 

"Our view is that radio isn’t in decline; public radio is actually expanding," said NPR SVP of Marketing Dana Davis Rehm. 

CEO Knell recently stated, “Radio isn’t going away, it's going everywhere... We need to reach audience in ways convenient and accessible to them in emerging and traditional platforms."

Pew points to a few of NPR's digital achievements:

  • Traffic to NPR's website grew over 29% in 2011 (compared to 2010), reaching 17.7 million unique visitors according to Pew. 
  • NPR launched its Pandora-like Infinite Player in 2011 (RAIN coverage here).
  • NPR's apps were downloaded nearly 6 million times by the end of 2011.
  • Monthly downloads of NPR's podcasts grew 20% from 2010.
  • NPR's Facebook page was ranked #3 among the Top 10 fastest-growing news pages.

NPR also earlier this year partnered with Ford for dashboard integration of the NPR News app (RAIN coverage here).

NPR CEO Gary Knell

"NPR’s gotta be on there," Knell (pictured left) said of next-generation car dashboards. "Public radio’s gotta be a player. If we’re not on these platforms, we’re dead. This isn’t a choice of whether -- it’s really a choice of how."

SVP Rehm says NPR is working with member stations to measure streaming listening. This may or may not refer to NPR's addition of Triton Digital's Webcast Metrics to its Digital Services' suite of analytics offerings last week (NPR offers member stations an introduction to Webcast Metrics here).

Pew writes, "If NPR can attract new audiences to its projects across nontraditional platforms and continue to get funding to cover associated start-up costs, it could make up for the loss of terrestrial listeners."

The Nieman Jouranlism Lab points out (here) that weekly listening to NPR stations (in contrast to NPR programming) grew from 2010 to 2011.

"Still, the data in Pew’s report portends near-term challenges for radio," writes the Nieman Lab. The Pew report noted that "there is also evidence in the data that people listen to AM/FM out convenience rather than out of deeper appreciation for the content."

Pew published much more data on radio and Internet radio as a whole. The report includes figures on the growth of listening to online-only radio services (while listening to AM/FM web streams remains flat), and on the projected growth of digital radio revenues. You can find more from Pew 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.

Univision brings on former Clear Channel Radio and AOL Radio exec Evan Harrison

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 11:55am

Former Clear Channel Radio and AOL Music/AOL Radio exec Evan Harrison has been hired as EVP/Content & Entertainment for Univision Radio.

Harrison served as both EVP of Clear Channel Radio and president of Clear Channel Radio's digital division during his seven years with the company. His tenure included the launch of iheartradio. While there, he also served as CEO of A.P.E. (Artist Personal Experience) Radio, which provided a platform for artists like the Eagles and Christina Aguilera to produce online radio shows.

Prior to that, he was VP/GM of AOL Music and the AOL Radio Network. While in that capacity, Harrison keynoted one of the very first RAIN Summit events (flashback here).

Last September Clear Channel and Univision Radio announced a partnership to stream Univision station programming on the iHeartRadio platform (see RAIN coverage here).

NPR management shift includes a promotion for Kinsey Wilson

Friday, February 24, 2012 - 11:00am

NPR's new executive structure, designed as "a unified and strategic approach... in radio and in digital and in the Web — and in all the mobile applications where NPR finds its content," includes naming Kinsey Wilson EVP/Chief Content Officer.

NPR President and CEO Gary Knell announced Kinsey's promotion today (those are his words quoted above), along with naming Margaret Low Smith SVP/News on a permanent basis. Wilson (pictured), as GM of NPR Digital Media, was the RAIN Summit West keynote speaker in 2010 (announced here).

"Radio is not going away, radio is going everywhere," said Knell, who replaced Vivian Schiller as NPR CEO in December, following her March 2011 departure.

Read more here.

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