iHeartRadio

iHeartRadio adds ratings "thumbs" for music on Clear Channel AM/FM streams

Friday, August 17, 2012 - 12:30pm

Clear Channel's iHeartRadio has made "thumbs-up" and "thumbs-down" song rating buttons active for Clear Channel broadcast radio streams, Inside Radio reports today.

The positive/negative feedback buttons are pretty commonplace for database-driven Internet-only radio streams from many services, and that information can immediately affect the programming. Obviously, the functionality will be a little different on broadcast streams. The effect on the content won't be immediate, but it should be a good way for the company to gauge listener response to its programming. It could also drive iHeartRadio registrations (giving Clear Channel important listener demo information for ad-targeting purposes), Inside Radio reasons, as the functions only work when a registered listener is logged in (non-registered listeners are prompted to sign up when they try to rate songs).

"Research shows radio stations that give their listeners effective ways to express their opinions may have an advantage. An online survey of female radio listeners aged 15-54 conducted in May by Alan Burns & Associates found a top difference between heavy and light radio listeners is that heavy listeners are 86% more likely to appreciate feeling that their opinions matter," reports Inside Radio.

One last advantage of the system for Clear Channel: the thumbs up/thumbs down isn't (yet) available on other broadcasters' simulcast streams, only Clear Channel's. This functionality (and the data garnered from it) is a nice incentive for other broadcasters to join the iHeartRadio aggregation (and/or a commoditizable value-added for Clear Channel's iHeartRadio deals).

There's lots to consider before associating your company's radio streams with a competitor's product

Friday, August 10, 2012 - 11:30am

"They haven't really asked me," explains Saga Communications CEO Ed Christian when asked why Saga's streams aren't available on Clear Channel's iHeartRadio.

He does take issue with the presentation of stations on iHeartRadio, though. For example, in using iHeartRadio Christian found "300 to 400 choices in country," reports Radio-Info. "I’m just kind of overwhelmed; I don’t know where to look" (a sentiment echoed in a recent New York Times piece on iHeartRadio and rival aggregator TuneIn, in RAIN here). That said, if iHeartRadio was interested in working with Saga, "I'd have to look at the economics of it. We're small in terms of what they're looking at."

Clear Channel's iHeartRadio platform has established itself as the clear leader among broadcaster-owned digital platforms (and truly in the same league with TuneIn and Pandora), far outpacing the performance of competitors like CBS Radio's Radio.com. IHeartRadio's leader position is so strong that companies that would normally consider Clear Channel a competitive rival -- groups like Cox, Emmis, Greater Media, Salem, and others -- have entered partnerships to have their streams included in the iHeartRadio platform. Obviously, the decision to enter a content deal that drives audience to a digital platform owned by a competitor can give one pause. Especially if the deal prohibits a broadcaster from making its streams available in other directories.

"According to several broadcasters, Clear Channel has been aggressive in pushing for exclusivity," The Times wrote, "offering in exchange greater promotion and visibility within the app. But most broadcasters have resisted. Aside from its first few big deals, none...have been exclusive. One reason...was uneasiness on the part of broadcasters about joining a platform run by the biggest player in the market."

But you can apparently count Cumulus as a satisfied iHeartRadio partner. Chairman/CEO Lew Dickey says, "We've already seen a meaningful increase in streaming" (since his company's streams were added to the platform in December). As Tom Taylor in Radio-Info reports, Dickey thinks streaming revenue could eventually contribute 5% to his company's bottom line.

Meanwhile, Entercom, like Saga, is not streaming on the Clear Channel-owned digital platform. "Sharing our content is a good thing, if the business arrangement makes sense," said Entercom CEO David Field told The New York Times (RAIN coverage here).

You can find Ed Chrisitan's comments in Radio-Info here, and Lew Dickey's here. Read more in The New York Times here.

Latin music-centric webcaster goes the "Pandora/iHeartRadio" route with user-generated stations

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 - 1:30pm

Webcaster Batanga.com has rolled out a beta version of its new site, which is now centered around user-created stations based on a song title, artist name, or genre.

While the parent media company Batanga is based in the U.S. (and targets its products mainly to U.S. Hispanics, but Mexico, Brazil, and the rest of Latin America as well), the webcaster Batanga.com is one of its holdings, based in Spain.

Batanga's older presentation (still available as "Batanga Classic") was focused on dozens of pre-programmed genre-based channels of music (mostly Latin). Now, with the beta redesign, the front page of the site is sparse, with a single background color, and the increasingly-ubiquitous single search field (a la Pandora and Google) right in the middle (beneath a logo and positioning statement). Visitors are invited to "Write an artist, song or genre to create a station...". A link at the bottom leads to a page of dozens of "pre-mixed" genre stations.

Once a genre or artist station is launched (overlayed on to some beautiful photography, and copious ads for the Batanga mobile apps), the listener can both add songs or artists to the stream, or "narrow the list" by genre, country, gender, "tipo de artista" (duet, duo, group, solo), language, decade, and lyrical content advisory.

Check out the new Batanga.com here.

Hard on the heels of iHeartRadio, TuneIn announces OUYA app

Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 12:05pm

OUYAYesterday we reported iHeartRadio would offer an app for the much-anticipated gaming platform OUYA (RAIN coverage here). Now OUYA has announced web radio aggregator TuneIn will also offer an app for the device (more coverage here).

TuneIn and iHeartRadio "are going head-to-head in the marketplace," writes the New York Times (find our coverage here), "as consumers grow accustomed to tapping on one app for all their radio needs, and manufacturers of everything from televisions to cars begin to incorporate suites of streaming apps."

 

NYT: Broadcasters face "thorny" problem of which service to join

Monday, August 6, 2012 - 12:45pm

TuneIn and iHeartRadioWeb radio aggregators TuneIn and Clear Channel's iHeartRadio have become "symbols for the challenges of adapting to the digital age" for the radio industry, writes the New York Times. The two services -- now "going head-to-head in the marketplace" -- actually have much in common.

Both offer an enormous range of radio station streams (70,000 from TuneIn, nearly 2,000 live stations from iHeartRadio). Both are increasingly popular: TuneIn just today announced it now has 40 million monthly users, while Clear Channel says iHeartRadio has more than 12 million registered users.

"But as businesses they represent two poles of media," writes NYT. Where TuneIn only serves as an aggregator or directory, iHeartRadio has launched its own customizable radio service "modeled after Pandora" (not mention a series of "iHeartRadio Originals" stations, here). And iHeartRadio is only a piece of Clear Channel. That's a trait CC executives say is an advantage.

"The great thing about iHeartRadio,” said Clear Channel Media and Entertainment CEO John Hogan, “is that it is just one of a number of opportunities that we have to monetize the audience." 

Federated Media has just announced they will add their 17 radio stations to iHeartRadio (more coverage here). And iHeartRadio has added a new station dedicated to financial talk radio host Dave Ramsey (more coverage here).

But some broadcasters feel uneasy "about joining a platform run by the biggest player in the market," especially when "Clear Channel has been aggressive in pushing for exclusivity." That includes Entercom, which has joined TuneIn but not yet iHeartRadio. "Sharing our content is a good thing, if the business arrangement makes sense," said Entercom CEO David Field (more here).

TuneIn, on the other hand, is independent. That means it doesn't have the same sort of major media company backing as iHeartRadio, though TuneIn has just announced $16 million in new funding (bringing its total financing up to $22 million).

New York TimesBut that also means TuneIn has a level of "neutrality in the radio business," which the company says makes it a "safer choice for broadcasters." TuneIn CEO John Donham told NYT, "We are not a broadcaster, so we do not have any inherent interest for any broadcaster to succeed or fail."

More and more broadcasters, however, have opted to join both platforms. They aim "to be everywhere they could be possibly be."

"Everybody is looking at this and saying, look, you don’t know where the world is going, and you need to be in a lot of places,” said Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan. KCRW director of interactive media Anil Dewan said, "Our mission is about getting our content to as wide an audience as possible." Both KCRW and Emmis have joined TuneIn and iHeartRadio.

"It would be better for services and listeners if there were more than two aggregators offering access to every service out there, making it as easy as possible to listen," argues Audio4Cast's Jennifer Lane (here). "And stations, broadcasters and pureplays, should work with all of them."

Though "thorny" problems remain -- including "the possibility of being lost within the aggregators, like needles in enormous digital haystacks" -- the NYT writes (here) that both iHeartRadio and TuneIn can "help [radio broadcasters] reach audiences in the growing but increasingly fragmented world of online radio."

Salem stations will be available on iHeartRadio platform in September

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 12:00pm

Clear Channel's iHeartRadio stream directory will soon include Christian/conservative radio Salem's station streams. Salem’s 97 AM and FM radio stations in 37 markets will be available to iHeartRadio users beginning in September.

Though some station and groups have agreed to make iHeartRadio the exclusive aggregator for their streams, Salem in April entered a similar agreement with tuning service and app developer TuneIn (see RAIN here). The group also made news recently for entering a 3-year streaming deal with Triton Digital (coverage here), and in March announced that Internet revenues represented 14% of its Q4 2011 earnings (here) (though it should be noted that Salem isn't purely a broadcast radio company; it's also an Internet content provider and magazine and book publisher).

Clear Channel's iHeartRadio platform boasts 10 million registered users, and offers more than 1,000 broadcast and online-only radio stations and user-created Custom Stations. Last month (here) radio groups Cox Radio and Emmis Communications joined the iHeartRadio platform. Yahoo! Music made iHeartRadio its "preferred radio" partner (more here).

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