radio

BIA/Kelsey forecasts a 12.1% increase in radio's digital dollars this year

Monday, October 8, 2012 - 11:25am

BIA/Kelsey forecasts radio's online and digital revenues will reach $491 million this year, a 12.1% increase over 2011, in its U.S. Local Media Forecast (2011-2016): Full Edition.

Radio's overall revenue was revised downward, however, to $14.868 billion for 2012 (which is still a 2.2% increase over 2011). Of that, $14.377 billion is expected to come from over-the-air advertising, an increase of 1.9% from last year.

Radio Ink comments that broadcasters' relatively small digital take "may support the theory that committing too many resources to digital just isn't worth it yet. Or depending on how you look at it, it may also support the theory that radio is only getting a small portion of digital because of a lackluster effort."

Read more in TVTechnology.com here and in Radio Ink here

New Arbitron/comScore system's first task: Measuring ESPN's cross-platform audience

Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 12:20pm

While we were waiting for Arbitron to finally unveil their long-awaited unified on-air/online radio measurement (see RAIN here), they've announced a deal with comScore and ESPN to measure audio, video, and display across radio, tv, the web, and mobile.

The goal here is to create audience measurement using common metrics on a national and continuous basis, so content providers and marketers can gauge the reach, engagement, and cross-platform duplication of audience.

"The unprecedented size and scope of the project is being driven by the multiplatform measurement requirements of ESPN, which delivers video, audio and display content via television (both in-home and out-of-home), online and mobile video, PC web, mobile web, apps, tablets, digital audio and terrestrial radio" (see yesterday's top story in RAIN here), the companies' announcement read.

The initiative (characterized as "five-platform" as it separates "smartphones" adn "tablets") will integrate "the census and panel-based PC, mobile and TV set-top box measurement capabilities of comScore along with enhanced, single-source, multiplatform measurement capabilities of the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) technology," according to the statement.

Though no roll-out date has been announced, ESPN, comScore and Arbitron will unveil more details October 1-3 at the upcoming Advertising Week convention in New York.

Read the press release here.

Inside Radio covers radio's potential windfall in mobile advertising

Monday, September 10, 2012 - 2:00pm

Some great coverage in Inside Radio today on what mobile advertising can do for radio, if broadcasters are ready for it.

Consider that more than 234 million Americans (13+) use mobile devices, but advertisers have yet to spend more than 1% of their media budgets on mobile. The Mobile Marketing Association says mobile's share should grow to 10% over the next four years, and eMarketer says U.S. mobile ad spending will double this year alone. It's obvious a big change should be coming.

"BIA/Kelsey VP Mark Fratrick says radio is poised to do well in mobile because of it offers unique content and has cross-promotional opportunities and armies of local sellers," writes Inside Radio. "But to cash in on the mobile shift requires building out platforms, such as optimizing station websites for the mobile web in order to increase page views and impressions," as groups like Cox, CBS Radio, Entravision, and Emmis have.

Spanish-language radio is already seeing the windfall. An Entravision told Inside Radio that mobile is the company's fastest-growing revenue source, pacing 200% year-over-year, and is now 20% of Entravision and Spanish Broadcasting System interactive revenue. "Mobile will probably be our second biggest ad category outside of broadcasting within the next few years. Mobile is already showing signs that it will leap ahead of online display advertising with a 50% year-over year growth rate," Univision Radio EVP/Sales Lee Davis told the news source.

Subscribe to Inside Radio here.

Press coverage of Beloit Mindset List implies 18 year-olds have no concept of radio

Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 12:05pm

The annual "Beloit College Mindset List" is out, and press coverage of it seems to portray radio as a long-forgotten relic of which today's 18 year-olds have no concept.

The Mindset List is created by two Beloit College professors each year, and it's intended to compile "the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall." This year's list includes the item "15. Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all."

Now the list is quite usually pretty over-dramatic, as we think it is here. Taken literally, this list of items would portray today's college freshman of not only not consciously remembering a time when Robert DeNiro played Vito Corleone (from "The Godfather II"), but as having no concept of it. And, obviously, when it comes to radio, that's simply not true. While we continue to believe that radio listening patterns are changing (and dramatically so), the idea that young adults "really have no use for radio at all" seems pretty far-fetched. A quick look at Arbitron will show that while the amount of time young people spend with broadcast radio is declining, radio is still present in their lives.

But the coverage the Mindset List is getting seems to focus on this point that portrays radio as a relic. It reminds us of a recent blog by Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs here. We agree with Fred, and continue to maintain that radio is best-positioned to transition the medium into the future. Today's broadcasters have the content, the talent, the expertise, and now the technology to maintain their dominance as radio expands its platform, and remain relevant for generations of incoming college freshmen.

Plus, if college kids don't know radio, there'd be no college radio station! Where will the musicheads work? The college ISP?

Read the Mindset List here.

System would use Pandora-like ratings to gauge user's interests, but still just a patent for now

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 12:50pm

iPhone musicApple has been granted a patent for a system that would let users replace ads (or other content) in audio or video broadcasts with their own content.

Apple Insider thinks the patent hints "at technology headed to the battle for the living room... the system could be tweaked for cable which would lend itself nicely to the set-top box Apple is rumored to be shopping around to U.S. providers." Just try a Google search for "Apple TV rumors" to see the level buzz in this area.

But the patent also singles out radio, whether it be AM, FM or streaming. It's actually titled, "Seamless switching between radio and local media."

Basically, it would work like this: A device using Apple's system could "determine when an upcoming broadcast segment or media item is not of interest to the user," whether it be an annoying song, a talk radio segment the user doesn't like or an ad. "When such an event is detected," writes Apple Insider, "the device will seamlessly switch to stored media until the unwanted content is completed." Stored media in this case could mean an mp3 song or podcast stored locally on the device.

The system would determine what users like and don't like using a rating system, "much like the system in place with apps like Pandora."

In other words, picture a TiVo where you can watch a short clip of a favorite show instead of an ad break.

Apple Insider goes into much more detail on Apple's new patent here.

Apple's radio app from 2010 patentThe patent is interesting as it could potentially make non-customizable radio (or TV) broadcasts much more relevant to individual listeners. Apple notes, "because the user has no control over the media broadcast, the user can typically only tune to a different media broadcast, or listen to or consume the broadcast content that is not of interest." With its system in place, a user wouldn't have to listen to such content anymore.

It could also potentially mean Apple could "strip out all the ads on your radio station," notes James Cridland in Media UK (here).

Of course, it could also mean absolutely nothing. It's just a patent for now.

In 2010, Apple submitted a patent for a native radio mobile app for AM, FM and satellite stations (RAIN coverage here; pictured left). We're all still waiting for that one. Same goes for Apple's "lifestyle companion app." Or that iPad optical stylus. For every smart cover or pinch-to-zoom patent, there's a smart bike or hybrid touchscreen desktop computer.

Point being: Apple patents hardly indicate when or even if such products or features will reach consumers’ hands. But we can't wait to find out! -- MS

Webcast allies wary of b'dcast royalty issue in efforts for reform of rate-determining standards

Thursday, August 16, 2012 - 1:15pm

Leading webcaster Pandora, Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, and now the Brookings Institution (see yesterday's RAIN here) are all calling for the use of a consistent standard for determining sound recording performance royalties across Internet, satellite, and cable radio. (Currently, webcasters pay a rate significantly higher than other forms of digital radio, since the legal reference determining judges are instructed to use is dramatically different.) Even the NAB's Dennis Wharton says he "appreciate(s) (Chaffetz's) interest in reforming the current Interet radio rate structure."

But, no one among this group is arguing that broadcasters should be paying this fee too.

The reason: it's simply been proven to be far too difficult a task to accomplish such a major change in an established and powerful U.S. industry.

For webcasters and their allies, their immediate goal is relief from the controversial "willing buyer/willing seller" standard -- which might reasonably be considered an achievable end. The broadcast radio royalty issue would be like an anchor tied to the foot of a drowing man.

Congressman Chaffetz's proposed "Internet Radio Fairness Act" (in RAIN here) would compel judges deciding royalty rates for Internet radio to base their decisions on the same legal standard they use for satellite and cable radio rates. It would not address the matter of broadcast royalties.

The National Journal writes that Pandora argues that the radio royalty debate has dragged down efforts to get the webcast royalty standard changed from "willing buyer/willing seller" to the more widely-accepted "801(b)(1)." "We’ve been held hostage to that for years," Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder and chief strategy officer, told the news source. "The reason nothing has been fixed is we’ve been stuck behind [radio-station] royalties. We're victims of a fight that’s not ours."

John Villasenor, author of the Brookings paper covered yesterday, in it wrote, "Any new legislation should not include a provision to end the AM and FM over-the-air 'terrestrial' broadcasters’ longstanding sound recording performance royalty exemption... every one of the dozens of legislative attempts to end it since 1926 has run up against extremely strong opposition from terrestrial broadcasters and has failed. New legislation including a provision ending the terrestrial broadcasters’ exemption would be likely to fail as well." Without the provision, he continues, legislation "may even garner the support of the National Association of Broadcasters," whose current streaming royalty deal with SoundExchange expires at the end of 2015, "meaning that terrestrial broadcasters, like pureplay webcasters, would benefit from a more reasonable digital broadcast statutory royalty framework."

It may not be so simple, however. Ray Hair, international president of the American Federation of Musicians, writing in The Hill, says it's not that Internet radio's royalties are too high, it's that other platforms (especially broadcasters') rates are far too low! He says Chaffetz's bill "would allow the digital platforms to pay musicians less... at rates far below market value. The bill would effectively unleash a race to the bottom, with radio platforms competing to see which can pay musicians the least." It's the Internet radio platform which he seems to think is giving "artists their fair share," and writes, "People I know are already calling the bill by a more appropriate name: the 'Internet Radio Rip-off Act.'"

Vigrinia Congressman Bob Goodlatte, vying for the top Republican spot on the House Judiciary Committee (he currently heads its Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Subcommittee), told the National Journal he expects his panel will take up the matter of music-royalties, and is open to calls for requiring traditional radio stations to pay performance fees.

Read more in the National Journal here and The Hill here.

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