Las Vegas

Hear audio from Vegas Summit on TuneIn and SoundCloud

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 12:35pm

We're really happy to let you know that you can now hear complete audio from our recent RAIN Summit West conference in Las Vegas earlier this month. If you weren't able to make it out to Vegas for the show (or you were, and you'd like to review), audio of every panel, speech, and presentation is now available.

First, we've uploaded every element from the Summit as separate audio files to SoundCloud, which you can find here. Listen to each on-demand, in any order you want, when you're ready.

You can also listen to the Summit, front-to-back, as a stream from RAIN Summits streaming partner TuneIn (which carried audio live along with technology partner Backbone Networks). RAIN Summit West on TuneIn is here (if you have any problems connecting, please try both the AAC and MP3 streams -- you'll see links in the lower-right on TuneIn under "AVAILABLE STREAMS"). You can also listen via TuneIn's mobile app -- just look under "Talk" and "Technology," or search for "RAIN Summit."

Make sure you visit RAIN Summits' Facebook page as well for snapshots from the event (including the RAIN Reader Cocktail Party).

Registration is now open for the May 23 RAIN Summit Europe at the Hotel BLOOM! in Brussels. Please visit the RAIN Summit Europe page for agenda details and to register.

JacAPPS' Jacobs, Securenet execs share what they learned at RAIN Summit West

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 3:20pm

We've covered a good portion of the content from the recent RAIN Summit West event (last Monday here and Wednesday here), and we'll continue to do so in the coming days. We were also happy to see coverage from some of our colleagues in the press (we rounded those up here).

We wanted to share with you some more of the perspective from Summit attendees and participants today. First, jacAPPS president Paul Jacobs, who was part of our "Dashboard Discussion," offers five "takeaways" on what he heard here.

First, Jacobs feels good about radio's efforts to evolve its content to digital (and "When we release the results of Techsurvey9 in two weeks, there will be even clearer evidence that this digital shift is taking place," he adds). Relatedly, he points out that a huge issue at the Summit (and the NAB, see Gordon Smith's speech, covered in brief here) is what role broadcast radio can play in the digital car dashboard.

Another Summit "takeaway" for Jacobs is that we're no longer in the "radio" business (if you think of "radio" as a device or platform). "Radio needs to shift our emphasis to a comprehensive sales approach that provides multi-platform, creative solutions for advertisers, because that’s where the dollars are going," he wrote. If the content is truly multi-platform and comprehensive, the sales effort needs to be too. Unfortunately, he felt the surge in creative thinking and entrepreneurship of new technologies and services, as we hunt for "the next big thing," is generating confusion, "the hazards of an innovative time," he suggests.

His final point (and one we've heard for years): the tech, the delivery, the bells and whistles are a sideshow. You will not win without great content.

Please also see Securenet's recap of RAIN Summit in here. Securenet is an international radio streaming and hosting services provider, and company VPs Diego Baeza and Jarrod Mains attended the Summit.

Like Jacobs, they noted the emphasis put on in-dash access to digital audio content. Baeza came away confident that streaming's ad sales efforts were headed in the right direction. "Advertiser budgets are only increasing, so it's important to utilize your online stream as a revenue generating tool," he said.

For Mains, he mentioned "mobile" as a topic that kept coming up in discussions, and just how indispensible mobile phones are to consumers. He also added, "I found the 'International Trends in Online Audio' panel especially interesting as we do not hear what is going on overseas as much so it was great to see other countries are making strides in the digital landscape as well."

The next RAIN Summit event is RAIN Summit Europe, May 23 in Brussels, Belgium (which we announced here with followup yesterday here). See our confirmed speakers and register here.

International webcaster issues mirror those in U.S.: Royalties, revenue, and potential Apple competition

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 1:40pm

RAIN Summits included the "International Trends in Online Audio" panel in Sunday's RAIN Summit West program because of the positive response to last fall's RAIN Summit Europe (as well as to serve as a preview for this year's Europe event).

Turns out, what these online radio professionals viewed as some of their biggest challenges mirror those in the U.S.: high content costs and complex regulations (royalties), those costs' drag on their companies' profitability, revenue beyond ads and subscriptions, and the prospect of an Apple entry into the space.

CEO of Berlin-based webcaster AUPEO!, Holger Weiss (pictured right), admitted licensing across borders is a steep challenge. He said it's a long, arduous process, yet his service is licensed in 40 countries, so it can be done.

Radionomy VP/Business Development Thierry Ascarez agreed there are "solutions out there, it can be done." His company provides a platform for hobbyist and smaller professional webcasters to create and stream their own online stations.

Saavn co-founder Paramdeep Singh (pictured left) described the especially difficult circumstances in India: "We have deals with over 900 record labels, as there's no one-stop for licensing in India. Labels and artists think we're hugely profitable, so they want lots of money."

So what about that money? How do these business leaders intend to increase revenues?

Radionomy's Ascarez described his company's advertising platform in which it splits ad revenues with those webcasters whose audiences surpass a minimum threshold (incentivizing good content).

"There are unique opportunities for monetization beyond ads and subscriptions," said Singh, whose Saavn service streams Bollywood and Tamil Cinema music. He says his company partners with carriers as a "use case" and a benefit to upgrading to a data plan (of India's 800 million mobile customers, only about 50 million have data plans).

"Who'll finance (these types of services) until the ad revenues make it profitable?," wondered Weiss. "It's not great and fantastic yet. We're not profitable yet. We have to think beyond pure advertising and subscription. Advertising is not the only way to make money. We'll see this in 2013," he said.

The AUPEO! CEO teased a Monday announcement about his company "working with" Panasonic, saying services could create new revenue streams by bundling the service with device makers, especially for the car. What we learned Monday is Panasonic has actually acquired AUPEO! for its in-dash audio entertainment platform.

Live365 CEO Hong Lau, experienced in business in China, illustrated the opportunities in that country. "It's not a lot different there than here," he said. He explained that phones are considerably cheaper, and there are hardly any significant online audio services there.

Moderator Ali Abhary (right), CEO of Spectrum Medya in Turkey, concluded by asking his panelists how they view a potential webcasting competitor in Apple.

Saavn's Singh said his company's specialized music libraries aren't easy for a new competitor to relicate. "It took us years to aggregate our content."

Weiss agreed. "You can win in a fight (with Apple), which can't copy you, but "can only buy you if you're niche."

We'll continue to recap the content from Sunday's RAIN Summit West in the coming days here in RAIN.

Mobile ad sales not lagging, stresses Summit panel, they're coming along nicely

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 1:40pm

The professionals on the RAIN Summit West "Profiting from Mobile" panel all agreed that mobile's ad sales outlook has, and continues to, significantly improve.

Even moderator Michael Theodore (Interactive Advertising Bureau VP) questioned whether the premise of "how do we fix mobile?" was correct. He said, "Those who feel mobile isn’t generating enough dollars are way too impatient." He illustrated his point by comparing the 2010 $1 billion mobile ad spend with television's $105 million in 1950. By 1952, TV's ad revenue had tripled, and Theodore is expecting the same for mobile when the 2012 numbers come out.

Pandora SVP/Ad sales Steven Kritzman quickly summed it up for his company: "Mobile is 65% of our revenue." What's more, mobile revenue growth has caught up to mobile listening growth, and is now outpacing it for the leading webcaster.

Clear Channel Media SVP/Local Digital Sales Michelle Savoy (left) said it's even time to ratchet up CPMs (ad rates). She credits an improved, richer, and more engaging mobile experience. Kritzman said much the same, saying mobile Pandora listeners tend to interact with the app much more than desktop users (for a station created by Pandora for an advertiser, for instance, Pandora sees 10 to 12 times the adoption on mobile). He's looking for the ad industry to improve its "engagement metrics" to better measure that interaction, and for marketers to improve ad creative.

If you're a webcaster or broadcaster, you absolutely need to have a mobile presence, stressed Abacast Director of Sales and Revenue Michael Dalfonzo. Already with 60-70% of his clients' listeners coming in via mobile, you need to get a branded mobile app, and to be available on the large aggregators (TuneIn, iHeartRadio). Oh, and build an alarm clock into it, so you can tune your listeners in the moment they wake up.

One key for the future he suggested will be the ability to target ad to individuals by the device they're using to listen. "you can reach them right when they're ready to make a purchase."

ESPN Audio Senior Director of Distribution & Business Strategy Patrick Polking said his company's main mobile challenge now is in distribution, that is, new partners and platforms to distribute ESPN content beyond SiriusXM, TuneIn, and Slacker. "Scale is going to be very valuable," he said.

Look for more recaps of the panels, presentations, and speeches from Sunday's RAIN Summit West.

Live stream audio from RAIN Summit West today beginning at 9am PT

Sunday, April 7, 2013 (All day)

It's "go" time!
Today is our twelfth-annual RAIN Summit West event at the LVH Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, kicking off the NAB Show.

We're looking forward to a great (and full!) day of panels and presentations, highlighted by two great keynotes: RAB president and CEO Erica Farber (who'll speak at 10:25a PT) and Rhapsody International president Jon Irwin (he's on at 4:15p PT).

At 2:30p PT, RAIN publisher and AccuRadio CEO Kurt Hanson will deliver his annual "State of the Industry" address.

Our day also features two unique "POV" speeches by industry thought leaders. We'll hear Triton Digital president of market development John Rosso's and TargetSpot CEO Eyal Goldwerger's take on Internet radio in 2013.

And, as we always do, we cap off the day with the RAIN Reader Cocktail Party, sponsored by Pandora. (We like these parties so much, that while it's only our 12th RSW, this'll be our 14th party!) Please join us by the pool gazebo (simply walk through the LVH casino and take the Central Tower elevators to the 3rd floor pool deck). Even if you can't make it to the Summit, we'd love to say hello to you at the cocktail party!

If you're in Vegas for the Summit, the LVH is 3000 Paradise Rd., (702) 732-5111. The Summit takes place in Ballroom C.

And if you can't make it to the Summit, we're thrilled to partner this year with TuneIn to bring you live streaming audio from RAIN Summit West (we'll do the same for RAIN Summit Orlando in September!). You can listen live (obviously, once we begin). Click the banner above, or the link here:

Plenty of Summit attendees will be tweeting. Follow using the hashtag #rainsummit.

Our full agenda and speakers list is available on our RAIN Summit West page.

Finally, please come back to RAIN for coverage of the Summit beginning tomorrow! Enjoy the Summit!

Tech glitch fixed, registration for Sunday's Summit is again open

Monday, April 1, 2013 - 1:00pm

Due to a temporary technical snafu this morning, our Eventbrite page indicated that this Sunday's RAIN Summit West event in Las Vegas was sold out. But tickets are, in fact, still available. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Please see the RAIN Summit West information page for details on the event, and the link to register. And, if you subscribe to the RAIN daily e-mail (and look for the maroon "Subscribe" button in the upper-right at if you don't!), you have a discount code to use when you register.

See you in Vegas!

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