NextRadio-equipped Sprint phones hit stores Friday

Thursday, August 15, 2013 - 11:20am

Sprint's new HTC One comes preloaded with NextRadio, the Emmis-developed app that tunes in radio via FM. The new phone will be available Friday, accordint to GigaOm.

NextRadio uses the phone's FM receiver chip to tune in local FM radio (not streaming data) -- which is far more power- and data-efficient.

The app does use some data, however, as it displays a "now playing" visual, allows listeners to browse artist and album info, purchase music, and share song links.

Sprint HTC One owners can also download the app free from Google Play (it'll also work on the HTC EVO 4G LTE). Sprint reportedly will make the app available on other devices in the future.

Read more in GigaOm here.


Emmis to launch analog FM and HD Radio mobile app

Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 1:10pm

Emmis Communications says it will introduce a smartphone app that enables listening to local analog FM and HD Radio stations on mobile devices, saving data consumption and battery life (as opposed to streaming).

The app, to launch next year, will be called NextRadio. Emmis Communications CTO Paul Brenner says the app combines "the efficiency and scalability of over-the-air radio" plus the ability to "deliver an interactive artist and advertiser experience" via the data channel, reports Radio World.

Emmis plans to add other features including "enhanced synchronous ad modes" (SMS integration and couponing), song tagging capabilities, and social media integration. Brenner and other broadcast industry executives hope that by building compelling apps centered on analog broadcast radio, device manufacturers will see the value of including FM (and HD) chips in more of their devices. 

Read more in Radio World here.

Marketron buys Emmis Interactive

Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 12:15am

Marketron announced today its purchase of Emmis Interactive, the new media technology and consulting division of Emmis Communications.

Marketron's own Marketron Interactive division will absorb the Emmis Interactive software and services, and retain the executive team of Deborah Esayian and Rey Mena. Emmis Communications will continue as a Marketron customer, and retains an economic interest in Marketron's product and service offerings.

Marketron provides business software solutions and services to more than 7,000 media organizations, managing an estimated $15 billion dollars of annual advertising revenue.

Read the press release here.

Following ad dollars, radio looks to integrate more video content

Monday, July 30, 2012 - 12:55pm

Today Inside Radio looks the growing profitability of video ads on radio station sites and streams. The effectiveness of the ads are driving demand, and compelling radio to conceive of new ways to create video ad inventory. 

First, the news source reports that "pre-roll" videos -- those ads you're forced to watch before the content you want begins -- are about 80% of all online video ads; among broadcast radio streams, it's closer to 95%. It's not surprising then that given their position, pre-roll video generates a much higher response than in-stream display or audio ads, and commands higher CPMs (advertisers routinely pay more than $20 for every thousand impressions (cost-per-thousand, or CPM) for streaming video, while audio ads tend to come in between $6 and $10).

The high effectiveness of the ads, and associated revenue, mean advertisers are are demanding more video inventory, and publishers (like radio) are scrambling to meet that demand. The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) reports online video ad revenue grew 29% to $1.8 billion last year. BIA/Kelsey predicts it will grow 51.6% in 2012 and at a compound annual rate of 36.7% from 2011-2016 (more here). Likewise, Forrester predicts online video advertising will reach $5.4 billion by 2016.

Given this environment, Inside Radio reports some stations and sites are experimenting with "mid-roll" or "in-stream" video ads that run during the spot breaks in their audio streams. The question yet to be answered, of course, is how the effectiveness of these ads could possibly match that of pre-roll video.

"The challenge is compounded by passive listeners who minimize the streaming audio player while engaging in another activity on their screen," writes Inside Radio. "That’s why some audio publishers will only serve video ads based on engagement with the player so the consumer has a higher probability of watching the full-length video ad before they get back to audio content."

Of course, one way to get people to keep the player front and center is: original video content. Inside Radio says "radio stations need to become original video content producers... with access to celebrities, involvement in live events and creative on-air talent, radio has plenty of raw materials to draw upon."

One company that has extended its brands with original video content and seeing growing client demand for video ads is Emmis in New York. "If you’re in the radio business, you better be in the video business," Alexandra Cameron, market manager at Emmis-New York, told the news source. Last July Emmis launched its online music video channel, Loud Digital Network. And just last week Emmis-New York's WQHT launched a new web television drama called "Los Blancos" (our coverage here). Emmis is even making money in video through product placement: Ciroc vodka and Boost Mobile were heavily integrated into live streaming of its Hot 97 Summer Jam concert.

Subscribe to Inside Radio here.

TuneIn adds Entercom, Cox, Emmis stations to tuning service

Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 12:40pm

TuneIn will add the streams of the more than two hundred stations owned by Entercom, Cox, and Emmis with a trio of agreements announced today.

TuneIn aggregates Internet radio streams for consumers (and maintains tuning softward for device makers) on its website and mobile apps, making available more than 70-thousand broadcast and Internet radio stations and more than two million on-demand programs from all over the world.

Just yesterday (see RAIN here) Cox and Emmis announced a similar partnership with Clear Channel, making their streams available on the iHeartRadio tuning platform (Entercom, for its part, does not make its 111 stations' streams available on iHeartRadio).

All sides of radio royalty debate to testify in House subcommittee hearing tomorrow

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - 11:35am

CongressThe U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing tomorrow on "The Future of Audio." Witnesses to testify include Pandora founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren, along with representatives from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), CTIA, RIAA, NAB and others.

The hearing will take place tomorrow at 10:15AM Eastern.

Westergren's testimony will focus on the "severe and fundamental problem" facing Internet radio. "We are subject to an astonishingly disproportionate royalty burden compared to these other formats [AM/FM radio and satellite radio]," his written statement says. "The inequity arises from the fact that Congress has made decisions about radio and copyright law in a piecemeal and isolated manner... It is time for Congress to level the playing field and to approach radio royalties in a technology neutral manner."

Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the CEA, will offer a similar argument: "No one source should be given preferential treatment over all others. For this reason alone, we do not agree that Congress should take any action favoring broadcast radio over any other source of audio."

Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO of the RIAA, will also argue that broadcasters pay a performance royalty.

Arguing against platform parity will be Steven W. Newberry, President/CEO of the Commonwelath Broadcasting Corp., speaking on behalf of the NAB. He will argue broadcast radio should continue to be exempt from paying performance royalties because of its impact on local communities and other government regulations it must adhere to, but from which webcasters are exempt.

Jeff Smulyan, Chairman, President, and CEO of Emmis Communications will testify in favor of regulation that puts FM chips in cellphones. CTIA VP Christopher Guttman-McCabe will argue that instead of regulation, FM chips in cellphones "should be driven by consumer preference." He will also request a "light touch" from Congress when it comes to other matters, like spectrum.

Other witnesses to testify include Ben Allison, the Governor of the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and David M. Israelite, President/CEO of the National Music Publishers' Association.

You can find more information about the hearing here.

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