Online, mobile aggregator TuneIn unveils plans to add pre-rolls to stations' streams

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 12:50pm

If you're not familiar, think of TuneIn as a directory of online radio streams from all over the world -- a single app which gives you more than 70-thousand choices of broadcast and online-only streams. (They're probably most similar to Clear Channel's iHeartRadio service, but not broadcaster-owned.)

Now CEO John Donham reveals in a paidContent interview his service will run "pre-roll" audio ads before launching a listener's chosen stream. To this point, TuneIn has only added display ads (like "banners"), never audio or video.

"We’re going to do audio adverts before the stream and have a companion display ad associated with them," he said. But only if that broadcaster or webcaster themselves isn't scheduling pre-rolls. "We don’t touch any broadcaster streams. If a broadcaster has a pre-roll in front of the stream, we won’t stomp over that. It would be a double-negative to user experience if you got multiple pre-rolls before the content."

Donham believes the "free, ad-supported" approach has far more potential for revenue than subscription/premium models. Though the TuneIn app has both a free and a premium paid version of its app (with built-in recording capability), Donham told the publication, "The number one way we monetise is advertising on the free app. We would rather you listen to the free app than the paid. We would urge you to switch.

"One of the cool things about radio is, it’s free. There are literally billions of people who consume radio every month. What a gigantic opportunity – we’re not going to get them all to subscribe to something – we’re going to get them to listen for free and monetise that."

TuneIn raised $16 million in funding this summer. Donham says the money will go to hiring experts to better develop "discovery" for listeners, such as presenting new listening options based on the listener's history. He also wants to establish his brand in the minds of consumers as the "Netflix/iTunes/Amazon" for radio.

Read more in paidContent here.

TuneIn VP/Sales & Business Development Carl Rohling will participate in "The Connected Dashboard," a panel discussion about establishing Internet audio as a simple yet powerful in-car entertainment medium at RAIN Summit Europe, October 4th in Berlin.

AdsWizz, StreamGuys partner for ad-insertion product for streams and podcasts

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 12:50pm

Streaming provider StreamGuys has announced a partnership with ad-serving and audience measurement firm AdsWizz. The companies will provide webcasters "mobile-friendly, multi-platform streaming solutions with targeted, rich media advertising capabilities."

The two companies have developed a system that inserts "pre-roll" and "mid-roll" audio ads into podcasts. The companies will offer include audio and video instream ad-insertion, which can be targeted to listeners of specific gender, other demographic, geographic data. The StreamGuys/AdsWizz solution supports Flash and Icecast streaming for MP3 and HE-AAC audio formats; as well as Flash and iOS for video.

Read more in the press release here.

AdsWizz VP/Sales & Marketing Patrick Roger will moderate the "Targeted Advertising & Listener Registration" panel at RAIN Summit Europe in Berlin, October 5th. AdsWizz Product Manager Erik Barraud will speak on the Measurement Options for Streaming Audio panel as well.

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.

Triton's Agovino wants radio to go for new revenue with online listening, not traditional on-air budgets

Friday, December 2, 2011 - 12:25pm

Mike AgovinoTriton Media COO Mike Agovino "took to the blog" this week to point out that with October's Webcast Metrics, the total measured online listening audience has now passed 1.6 million "Average Active Sessions (AAS)" for the "workday" daypart (M-F 6A-8P). [AAS is Total Listening Hours (TLH) divided by hours in the reported time period. Similarly to Arbitron's "Average Quarter Hour," you can think of it as "the number of listeners at an average moment within the time period." ]

The online radio audience measured by Triton Webcast Metrics, Agovino says, is growing by about 100,000 AAS every 3 months (see the chart on the right). Should the industry be able to maintain that growth, Internet radio will have a 3 million AAS by 2015 -- 10% of radio's total audience.Webcast Metrics AAS quarterly trends

Agovino took the occasion to explain how  radio's current audience is worth $650-$900 million in revenue to the industry (between pre-roll audio/video ads, instream audio ads, and display ads with typical CPMs).

But he makes another point here too. You may know Arbitron is planning to roll out an "integrated audience" measurement system (see today's top story) -- to tally listening to radio whether its online or over-the-air. Arbitron wants to allow radio to present the online audience using the same traditional broadcast metrics, thereby enabling ad buyers to more easily extend their buys across both platforms. But instead of combining listening, Agovino wants radio to create a new revenue channel. He's suggesting broadcasters should be able to dip into both marketers' broadcast and interactive budgets alike.

"The dimensions of online audio expand the offering way beyond sound to include the interactive, targeting and visual benefits of online ads," he wrote. "Digital, mobile and social budgets are prime targets for this base of impressions... Selling the online audience with the on-air audience relegates publishers to fishing in the same revenue streams as they have always fished. These are not the budgets that are growing, but rather the ones that are shrinking."

Read more from Triton Media COO Mike Agovino here.

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