radio

Triton's Reynolds finds a happy spot between info scarcity and overload

Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 11:40am

Triton Digital EVP Patrick Reynolds has a column in an upcoming issue of MediaPost's Media Magazine on the "pendulum swinging back" away from our current state of media and social overload.

Not long ago, Reynolds describes, you read a paper, listened to a handful of radio stations, watched a couple TV channels. Digital technology in the form of streaming enterainment options and social media soon made your options -- and info intake -- explode. "You're choking on all your choice," he writes.

"There’s a place between state-controlled and anarchy. New curation services are killing off the first-gen open spigots in favor of Intelligent Design of information flow," Reynolds explains. It's about "fewer trusted resources doing more...

"Spotify is adding more 'stations,' so you don’t have to do all the programming. Google has got its arms around all the information in the known world and has organized it so you can access it (whether or not you know how to spell or type) effortlessly. Next it will begin to parse it out to you before you know you need it in digestible nuggets that won’t give you heartburn. Sit back. Relax." 

Radio critics decry "the same 20 songs, over and over." But does "10 million tracks" serve anyone any better? Go ahead, give your customers the mountain, because you can do it now, and they expect it. But you need to give them a good map to the mountain pass too.

Read Reynolds' column in MediaPost here.

Move will allow stations to combine local on-air, online audiences to present to ad buyers, says Triton

Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 12:00pm

Triton Digital said today it intends to present its local market audience measurements using the traditional broadcast radio Average Quarter-Hour metric (AQH).

Stations that subscribe to Triton's new "Local Reports" feature will now get Average Quarter-Hour Rating (AQH Rating) by market alongside Triton's proprietary Average Active Sessions number.

To this point, Triton Digital has relied on the Average Active Sessions (AAS) metric, which, like the more traditional AQH, purports to represent the the number of listeners at an average moment. (Though there are some small methodological differences in how AQH and AAS are calculated, we believe them to be virtually equivalent.)

However, broadcast radio sales forces, media buyers, and advertisers have long relied on the more traditional metrics like AQH (and, for that matter, cumulative or "cume" audience, and Time Spent Listening or "TSL") for advertising buys. A Triton representative told RAIN the company's new format for local market reports "makes it easier for advertisers and media buyers to make apples-to-apples comparisons between online and traditional radio buys." This gives stations "the flexibility to combine their offline and online audience into a credible total audience number while maintaining the ability to position the attributes of either channel independently."

The press release includes this from ad firm Horizon Media SVP Lauren Russo: "Seeing Internet audio in the same terms as traditional radio gives a holistic sense of the audio market, making it easier for buyers to make informed decisions when purchasing ad space. We are excited to see how the ability to provide such a direct comparison will impact advertisers’ views on the value of streaming."

The company has also announced it plans to share measurement data with third parties per customer request. Triton's press release is available online here.

In RAIN Summit West, ESPN SVP Keller shares philosophy for success (and details on that new app!)

Friday, May 4, 2012 - 11:00am

ESPN Radio is scheduled to update its industry-leading mobile app on May 15th, and keynote speaker Traug Keller shared details on some of the new features with RAIN Summit West attendees.

First, though, we were thrilled and honored to welcome Keller, ESPN SVP/Production & Business Divisions, to our recent Las Vegas event (more info here).

[We're very happy to announce that on Monday, we'll offer video of each RAIN Summit segment! Be sure to see Monday's RAIN.]

In his address, Keller described the transformation of ESPN Radio's content culture as an "evolution from 'radio' to 'audio,' and emphasized the word "wherever" (from the company's mission statement: "To serve sports fans, wherever sports are watched, listened to, discussed, debated, read about, or played") as the key to ESPN Radio's innovation. In other words, getting the content sports fans care about on to any available platform is paramount.

He vehemently stressed that the idea of spreading content to the web, mobile, and satellite might cannabalize more traditional outlets as "a myth!" He equally strenuously drove home the importance of relentless promotion of the content you offer: "You have to tell people, in this very complicated digital world with a multitude of options and choices, where to find your content," Keller advised. Equally important to success, according to Keller, is attracting quality people to your team. "Man do we need to attract good people. It doesn't happen without it."

While some in the industry have written seem to have written off podcasting as an early dead-end, Keller seemed enthusiastic. In fact, he called podcasts "a whole new business." ESPNRadio, according to Keller, is now producing 80 podcasts every month, which get downloaded 50 million times. When ESPN columnist and podcast Bill Simmons publishes a new podcast, it's downloaded 1.8 million times within the first 24 hours, Keller claimed.

So, about that app update! Keller says the ESPN Radio mobile app, at its May 15th update (for iOS and Android, Windows will be later), users will be able to create their own stations (in much the same way users of ESPN partner Slacker can now), focusing on news from their favorites sports, teams, and players. Very exciting will be the "rewind live" feature, which will allow users to access a show or a game from its beginning -- even if the user tuned in after it had already begun. The app will have expanded "social" capabilities to enable users to share content (Keller called radio "the original social fuel, especially when you're talking about sports"). Finally, the app itself will know the teams and players you like, and customize access to content to fit your preferences. (By the way, you may want to see that SiriusXM's new Android app has some of these same features -- see our coverage here.)

Look for full videos of each RAIN Summit West segment soon.

CDS Mobile to connect national advertisers to local radio, TV, and newspaper mobile sites

Thursday, May 3, 2012 - 12:05pm

Cox Digital Solutions has launched CDS Mobile, a new division to allow national advertisers to buy ads on local media mobile sites and national "vertical content" sites.

"Advertisers would potentially have the option of getting discounted rates from a cross-platform buy," MediaPost writes. "Cox will also offer publishers a suite of ad-serving technologies and tools for mobile, as it now does for Web advertising."

Leif Welch, who'll lead the new division, estimates Cox Digital’s mobile audience at about 90 million unique monthly visitors.

Cox Media Group itself owns 86 radio stations in 20 U.S. markets, as well as newspapers, television stations, and a cable channel. Cox mobile sites alone attracted 912 million page views in 2011, and mobile now accounts for 15%-30% of all digital inventory (according to Leif Welch, who'll lead CDS Mobile). The Cox Digital network (which extends beyond Cox-owned media) consists of over 2,600 total local newspaper, TV, and radio websites.

Mobile web and content traffoc has generally grown much faster than publishers' ability to monetize that audience. MediaPost reports that unsold mobile inventory is estimated at 80% across the industry -- and that's after last year's estimated 149% growth (to $1.6 billion) in U.S. mobile ad spending in 2011.

Read MediaPost's coverage here. The Cox Digital Solutions press release is here.

Jacobs, Localytics urge radio to consider local listeners when developing mobile strategy

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - 11:40am

A Cambridge, MA company that analyzes mobile app usage offers some interesting findings about how listeners use  radio mobile apps.

Perhaps most interesting is Localytics finding that over half (54%) of a station's listening via its mobile app comes from within the station's broadcast range [note: for this figure, Localytics used only listening over wi-fi -- not mobile data networks -- since it is more accurate for determining a user's metro area location].

Apps (and Internet streaming in general) have long been considered most useful for listening to out-of-market broadcasts. So much so, in fact, that for a long time many local broadcasters didn't find value in streaming efforts, as they seemed to only benefit out-of-market (and thus, not of interest to local advertisers) listeners.

But broadcasters should be aware of this Localytics' data point on radio app usage. Certainly, local listeners might turn to a mobile app when in spotty coverage areas within broadcast range, or in those situations where an AM/FM radio isn't convenient. But perhaps more importantly, radio should recognize the mobile platform as a means to enhance their brand with interactivity and additional content.

"Radio stations with associated smartphone apps can give their listeners a more varied and flexible experience both within and outside of their normal broadcasting region," says Localytics.

Jacobs Media and jacAPPS president Fred Jacobs agrees. His company recently presented the findings of their TechSurvey8 study on radio listeners (see RAIN's coverage here). Jacobs told Localytics, "When we asked our respondents which type of radio app they prefer, more than half opted for individually branded apps which allow for more features and customization. This is where radio is going.”

Read more at Localytics.com here.

Set the Radio Time Machine and go back in musical time

Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 12:15pm

When I was a kid, I dreamt of digging through an old attic and finding an antique radio that, when I fired it up, tuned in broadcasts from long ago (Did I come up with this, or was this a an episode of "The Outer Limits" or "The Twilight Zone?").

There are no glowing tubes, no antique woodwork to refinish, and no on-air hosts from the past, but Radio Time Machine is a cool, radio-like, "lean-back" online music experience that reminds me of that fantasy. It's a web app built on the on-demand Rdio music service. Simply choose a year from 1940 to 2012 (using a smooth and fast slider bar) and enjoy a non-stop stream of Billboard Top 100 hits from that year.

(To fully experience Radio Time Machine, you'll need an Rdio account, even a free one. But without one, you can still hear samples of each song, though this may limit the range of songs available for listening.)

In our limited testing, the music options seemed pretty limited (our guess is that basically, you're starting with a maximum of 100 songs per year, which then goes down from there based on what Rdio has licensed), and we got a lot of repeats of just a small handful of songs. It might be neat to be able to listen to a span of years (1964-1972), or "all music from 1983 and before" (as a station in 1983 would in fact have all of this music at its disposal). There are lots of ways the service could be enhanced, which makes Radio Time Machine a great first iteration of what could be a fun and useful app. And I enjoyed it for reminding me of finding that old radio!

Try Radio Time Machine here.

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