radio

The Atlantic: Established media see the key to their survival online

Friday, April 20, 2012 - 11:15am

"These days, even the stalwarts of traditional media make themselves available on call, on screens of all sizes, and in evolving ecosystems of free and paid versions," writes Peter Osnos in The Atlantic. "What were once simply great newspapers, magazines, television, and radio are now websites with all the trappings, and that's where the audiences seem to be headed in droves."

The nation's most-established and traditional sources of news have all made very significant investments in digital distribution: online video, blogs, photo galleries, podcasting, mobile applications, widgets, and more.

"Major public radio stations, such as WNYC in New York, WBUR in Boston, and WBEZ in Chicago, have also turned their websites into bastions of multimedia to build their audience share."

What of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)? While "not yet the moneymaker forecasted for it," it is useful to spread "the word for those digital products that are generating cash."

Read "Even Old Media Institutions Are Acting Like New Media" in The Atlantic online here.

After a tough 2011, Borrell predicts growth for local radio's online ad revenue

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - 12:05pm

Borrell Associates says "pureplay" Internet radio generated $206.3 million in streaming audio advertising in 2011, significantly topping broadcasters' $67.4 million. And while Borrell Associates’ new Benchmarking Local Online Media: 2011 Revenue Survey predicts radio will double its streaming audio revenue in 2012, it'll still be only half of what "only-online" radio does.

Borrell says streaming audio ads represented 22% ($67.4 million) of broadcasters’ 2011 online revenue. 

Local stations didn't have a great 2011 online. While the online advertising market grew overall, local radio's share of the pool didn't keep up. While the rest of the online media industry grew 20.6%, says Borrell, radio grew only 6.1%, giving them less than 2% of 2011's $16.4 billion total.

That said, Borrell is looking for radio to turn it around, with a nearly $410 million 2012 in local online ad sales, for a 35% increase over 2011.

(See Borrell's predictions from November here. We also recently reported on BIA/Kelsey's 2011 local online ad revenue recap here.)

Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell will both participate in the "Charting Digital Audio Ad Dollars" panel, and present a "POV" (see story in today's issue) at our upcoming RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas (more here). Read more on the Borrell study here.

Pandora (like AM/FM, for that matter) competes for listening with a wide array of other audio options, says study

Monday, March 12, 2012 - 11:35am

Radio researcher Mark Kasoff conducted a survey a Pandora listeners recently, to find what they'd substitute for it if it weren't available. In other words, if Pandora's site was down, how would its fans get their music fix?

Kassof's team found that terrestrial radio -- while nearer the top of a list of alternate sources of audio entertainment (49% of respondents mentioned it) -- was "not the clear alternative choice for Pandora listeners…it’s just one of many." That's because just as many (or more) Pandora partisans said they'd listen to "iPod/MP3 player" and "laptop/computer" (we're assuming these both could be taken to mean "personal music collection" or possibly "other streaming outlets" (including on-demand services). YouTube was also among the top responses.

Kassof's conclusion: "Pandora has at least as much in common with iPods and other music-only sources as it does with radio... probably more! The best strategy for radio is to do what Pandora and the others can’t – connect with listeners on a personal and emotional level."

Read Kassof's entry in his ListenerThink blog 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).

Social media exec asks, "Why are we sending listeners to Facebook's party?"

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 11:35am

Jim Roberts is with Commotion, a subsidiary of Broadcast Electronics which specializes in social media and audience interactivity tools for radio. He says radio needs to re-discover its websites as a source of ad revenue, by using social tools like Facebook and Twitter not as a desination for content, but to pull listeners in.

"If you look at your competition today, it's no longer just the station across town. It's Spotify, Pandora, Slacker, or other services that are causing the disintermediation of music discovery (and even news) from radio and making music consumption much more interactive," Roberts writes in Radio Ink today. "We need our websites to save radio from new threats that are offering something that radio has lost -- interactivity."

He recommends: 

  • Using social media to promote contests and events, but to keep all the relevant content on the website
  • Using the crowdsource power of social media for insight when programming music; and 
  • Getting back to advertising on your site -- it's the only reason Facebook wants your listeners in the first place.

Read Roberts' essay in Radio Ink here.

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