Yahoo!, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio form circle of partnerships with radio this week

Friday, June 29, 2012 - 11:45am

Several new arrangements between the various players were announced in the last seven days, and many of those involved are dancing with multiple partners... so here's our stab at a "clear as mud" review:

TuneIn is a web and mobile "tuning service" which provides users (and device makers) a "one-stop" destination to find thousands of terrestrial and online streams and on-demand audio content. Last week, TuneIn announced (RAIN's coverage here) partnerships with 20 major broadcasting companies, including Fox News Radio, Bloomberg Radio, Public Radio Exchange and Monocle 24. These new partnerships alone added 600 new streams to the TuneIn directory. But they weren't finished. This week the company not only announced a new partnership (in RAIN here) to make available content from Carolla Digital (home to "The Adam Carolla Show," "This Week with Larry Miller," "Penn's Sunday School with Penn Jillette," and more) -- but also revealed (here) the addition of the local station streams from major U.S. radio groups Entercom, Cox, and Emmis (the three groups combined own more than 200 stations).

Interestingly, two of those groups -- Cox and Emmis -- had themselves just announced a similar deal with Clear Channel to make their streams available on CC's iHeartRadio platform as well (coverage here).

Clear Channel also announced a major partnership this week with Yahoo!, making them the "preferred radio" partner of the web giant. In our coverage, here, we had suggested that this new arrangement would elbow out CBS Radio, which had been Yahoo!'s radio partner... but coverage in the L.A. Times (here) and Taylor on Radio-Info (here) reports CBS isn't yet out of the picture. In other words, Yahoo! users who want local radio streams will be directed to Clear Channel (or other iHeartRadio partner) streams... unless they're shown CBS streams. Hmmm.

At least the personalized-radio situation is clearer. Now that Yahoo! and iHeart Radio are BFFs, Yahoo! users who want customized Internet radio will now be steered towards the iHeartRadio's "Custom Stations" feature. That is, unless they end up listening to personalized radio from Yahoo!'s other new partner, Spotify (which recently made free personalizable net radio the "central feature" of its mobile apps (here) -- and with whom Yahoo! also announced a partnership, here), for whom Yahoo! dumped Spotify-competitor Rhapsody

Enough? Or would you like to know that Slacker and ABC Radio are partnering to produce two gender-aimed lifestyle Internet radio talk stations; and that SiriusXM has announced a deal to make its content available via Google TV (coverage for both stories here)?

EMarketer analyst says "more media content is making its way across the social web"

Friday, June 22, 2012 - 11:50am

Paul Verna's analysis shows content publishers (e.g. news sources, video services, and even Internet radio) are making significant inroads with effectively using Facebook and Twitter to increase audience.

As of February, "content engagement" by Facebook users is up 46% compared to before Facebook introduced its "Timeline" interface.

Meanwhile, Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism says 39% of Twitter users say "most of the news they got on Twitter in January 2012 was not material they would have read elsewhere." Facebook's percentage 34%. Doing the math with user estimates for the two services, eMarketer figures "more than 11 million Twitter users and more than 48 million Facebook users" use the services to discover news and content.

"Marketers who are savvy about how to use Facebook are focusing... on the site’s strength as a content portal, its viral power and its ability to deliver qualitative and quantitative feedback on brand campaigns," Verna writes in his report, called "Facebook and Twitter as Media Platforms: News, Video, Music and Games."

The report is availble here. Read eMarketer's summary here.

New personalizable web radio service the "central feature" of Spotify's iPhone, iPad apps

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 11:00am

Spotify Radio on iPhones

A coming update to Spotify's iPhone and iPad apps will include customizable streaming radio, available even to free users (previously Spotify's mobile app was completely off-limits to free users). Observers say the move makes Spotify "more directly competitive with online radio leader Pandora," as Billboard writes.

The new streaming radio service -- now "the central feature of the mobile app," according to Spotify product manager Donovan Sung -- lets users create stations from songs, playlists, albums, artists or their friends' musical tastes. Users can save tracks for on-demand listening later and customize the stream with thumbs-up and thumbs-down buttons.

Spotify quoteInterestingly -- reportedly unlike Spotify's earlier radio product (more here) -- the new radio streams are "DMCA compliant," reports All Things Digital, meaning "Spotify doesn't need permission from music owners in order to roll it out. It also means the streams are "cheaper to operate" for Spotify, writes Bloomberg, "because royalty rates are lower" than direct deals. The streams also include advertising (like Spotify's free desktop offering).

The iOS update will arrive "in the next few days," Spotify told Engadget. An Android version may be coming later this year.

"We feel like the radio experience of just hitting play, leaning back and not controlling exactly what plays is core to a great music experience,” Charlie Hellman, Spotify VP of product, told Bloomberg.

We first caught wind of Spotify's plans to create a Pandora-like Internet radio service in April (RAIN coverage here).  On-demand competitor Rdio is also reportedly working on a Pandora-like web radio offering (RAIN coverage here).

Peter Kafka argues in All Things Digital that this is bad news for Pandora. "A lot of people confuse Spotify’s streaming music service with Pandora’s streaming music service. Now they’re going to be a lot more confused." That's "a problem for Pandora."

He continues, "Spotify now has a chance to expose many more people to its product, in the hopes of eventually converting some of them to paid subscribers. And Pandora, which has consistently argued that it hasn’t seen any impact from Spotify’s U.S. launch last summer, may no longer be able to say that."

You can find more coverage from All Things Digital here, Bloomberg here, Engadget here, The Verge here, Boy Genius Report here and Billboard here.

New NBC Sports Radio Network to offer content on digital platforms

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 11:35am

The NBC Sports Group and Dial Global have announced their partnership to launch the NBC Sports Radio Network in September, featuring hourly sports news updates and full-length shows.

In addition to distribution to terrestrial broadcasters, the NBC Sports Network will stream live shows via,, and affiliate stations' websites. The network will also offer On-demand short-form audio content (via podcast, for example).

Dial Global will be the exclusive ad and affiliate sales rep for the network.

Earlier this year, NBC News partnered with Dial Global to create NBC News Radio.

IAB: Web ad revenue up 15% in Q1 to reach $8.4 billion, twice that of radio

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 11:35am

Web revenue growthInternet ad revenue in the first quarter this year grew 15% year-over-year, reaching $8.4 billion, according to the most recent IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report. "Growth in the double-digits is a positive sign for digital-media companies, as they look to bring more offline ad dollars online," writes AdAge

Radio-Info compares that figure to the Radio Advertising Bureau's reported $3.8 billion revenue for radio (up 1%). "That means the Internet haul is more than twice the size of radio" (find more here).

That said, AdAge notes (here) "this year's first-quarter total marks slower growth than the industry experienced in the same quarter last year when revenue increased 24% from the $5.9 billion booked in the first quarter of 2010."

UK-based Amazing Media looks to bring in-store radio service -- and broadcast! -- to U.S.

Monday, June 11, 2012 - 11:40am

Amazing Media runs, where independent musicians can upload and sell their music and keep 70% of the retail price. To promote the music, Amazing founder Paul Campbell (left) started Amazing Radio, a digital (DAB) and online radio station, in 2009. From that project came Amazing Instore, Campbell's service that customizes background music for more than a thousand shops and restaurants in the U.K.

Here's something else unique about Amazing in this space: it's profitable. Campbell's company is on track to clear $3 million in profits this year.

Now, not only is Campbell reportedly meeting with retail and restaurant chains here in the U.S., CNet reveals he's working towards acquiring a terrestrial radio outlet in this country in the coming months. ("He won't share details about his plans for a U.S. radio station, other than saying it will launch either in Boston, New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles.")

Campbell spoke at RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas in April. The panel on which Campbell spoke was moderated by industry veteran Ted Cohen (right), who Campbell has brought on to forge deals for Amazing with U.S. companies like AOL, Yahoo, and others. Campbell and company are looking for $30 million to fund the expansion, and are reportedly talking with VC firms like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Mayfield Partners.

Read more in CNet here and Hypebot here.

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