RAIN Summit

Gathering will include discussions and presentations from top European radio and online audio executives

Monday, April 15, 2013 - 11:40am

RAIN Summit EuropeDozens of top radio and online audio executives from across Europe will be converging in Belgium in less than six weeks for the second annual RAIN Summit Europe, to be held on Thursday, May 23rd at the stylish Hotel BLOOM! in Brussels.

As with other RAIN Summit events such as last week's successful RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas (more coverage here and here), web radio professionals will gather to discuss all facets of Internet radio and online audio, participating in panel discussions and presentations and advancing the development of the business of online audio across Europe.

Topics on the agenda will range from business to technology to programming and include best practices for measurement of online audio, multiplatform content distribution, mobile streaming, sales strategies, and programming for audience growth.

Presentations will be given by James Cridland of Media UK, David Deslandes of Deezer, and Simon Gooch of SBS Radio Sweden/RadioPlay.

Other confirmed speakers already include an impressive mix of Internet radio and online audio executives, including:

  • Ali Abhary, CEO, Spectrum Medya, Turkey
  • Jan-Willem Bruggenwirth, Managing Director, 538.nl, The Netherlands
  • Matthew Carver, Radio Coordinator, EGTA, Belgium
  • Ben Drury, Founder/CEO, 7Digital, U.K.
  • Hakan Kostepen, Executive Director, Product Strategy & Innovation, Panasonic, U.S.
  • Jan Poelmann, RMS, Germany
  • Robert Proctor, CEO, Audioboo, U.K.
  • Alain Reyes, Head Manager, NRJ, France
  • Patrick Roger, VP/Global Sales & Marketing, Adswizz, France
  • Jöel Ronez, Director of New Media, RadioFrance, France
  • Christian Schalt, General Manager, rs2 and KISS FM (Berlin), Germany
  • Kjarten Slette, Head of Music, WiMPmusic, Norway
  • Holger Weiss, CEO, Aupeo, Germany
  • Steve Whilton, Director of Product, Last.fm, U.K

More speakers will be announced regularly in RAIN in upcoming days. Panel descriptions are available here.

Registration is limited for this event (last year's gathering in Berlin sold out). You can register for the event using either Eventbrite or Amiando.

Some lawmakers won't hear webcasters' pleas while AM/FM is exempt from royalties

Friday, March 22, 2013 - 1:05pm

What if the most significant obstacle to Internet radio's efforts for royalty relief is broadcasters' fight against on-air royalties?

When the Internet Radio Fairness Act was given a hearing by the relevant House Subcommittee in November (RAIN coverage here), the bill itself got very little attention. Instead, music industry witnesses and sympathetic lawmakers steered the converstation nearly entirely to AM/FM's exemption from paying sound recording royalties. The message: Until radio pays, webcasters' obligation will not change.

The IRFA has yet to be re-introduced since the new Congress began. What has been introduced in the new Congress is the Local Radio Freedom Act. It's a resolution "That Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station." The resolution now has the support of 105 House members and four Senators. While it's not actual legislation, it's still a line drawn in the sand and shows how these lawmakers lean.

In the past, lots of webcasters felt broadcasters were pitted against them. Online only radio providers assumed broadcast groups wanted to maintain the competitive edge that the royalty inequality gave them. It's now obvious that most broadcasters seem to understand the potential, if not the current value, of webcasting, and understand their businesses will become more and more reliant on the Internet as time passes. Some (Clear Channel, Entercom) have even struck deals with record labels which will have them pay royalties for on-air use of those labels' music in exchange for online royalty discounts. Some broadcasters support the IRFA (some publicly, some more indirectly).

It's clear the strong broadcast industry is a vital ally to webcasting.

Webcasters need some reform (the IRFA or something else) that would afford webcasters to pay something less than 60% (like Pandora did last quarter) or more of their revenues in royalties to operate. But is it possible to achieve this, independent of efforts to impose a sound recording royalty on radio? Will broadcasters need to choose between fighting royalties for on-air, and attempts to control royalties online? 

At RAIN Summit West, April 7 in Las Vegas, we'll feature a panel called "The Song Plays On" to take up the ongoing Internet radio royalty discussion. It'll be moderated by the industry foremost authority on webcasting royalty and legal issues, David Oxenford. Panelists Brad Prendergast of SoundExchange, BMI's David Levin, artist Patrick Laird, TAG Strategic's Ted Cohen, and SomaFM's Rusty Hodge will all their views on this issue to the table. Register for RAIN Summit West here (and look in your RAIN daily e-mail for a discount code!).

Arbitron, Edison will present 2013 "Infinite Dial" with free webinar

Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 12:45pm

Arbitron and Edison Research will debut the 2013 edition of their annual "The Infinite Dial" study with a free, one-hour webinar on April 2.

We announced here Arbitron SVP/Marketing Bill Rose and Edison Research president Larry Rosin will also present the study at RAIN Summit West on April 7 in Las Vegas. (If you subscribe to RAIN's daily e-mail, look for the RAIN Summit West discount code in the P.S. If you're not subscribed, it's free -- look for the button on the upper right at kurthanson.com.) 

Every year since 1998, the two firms jointly investigate consumer use of media, technology, and digital platforms. This year's edition is called "The Infinite Dial 2013: Navigating Digital Platforms."

More details on the webinar are here.

RAIN publisher Hanson in Berlin for sold-out Radiodays Europe

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 1:00pm

RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson is in Berlin to report on the Radiodays Europe conference, which wraps up today.


Radiodays Europe
, held annually (now in its fourth year), brings leaders from public service and commercial radio as well as related industries from across Europe (and the world). The conference is Europe's largest (sold out with more than 1,200 attendees) and likely most important radio gathering.

The event is taking place at the Berliner Congress Center (BCC) in the fashionable Alexanderplatz district (just a couple of blocks from the landmark Berlin TV Tower). That's actually not far from the nHow hotel, which hosted our own RAIN Summit Europe gathering last October.

Conference organizers/founders Anders Held (Project Manager, Sweden) and Rolf Brandrud (Project Manager, Norway) staged 52 sessions across four auditoriums, featuring more than 100 speakers for the events two full days. In fact, some of these speakers will join us for RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas on April 7, or RAIN Summit Europe in Brussels May 23.

Kurt Hanson reports on some of the highlights:

For the panel "The Executives: Sharing Radio's Future," four top-level radio execs gave a short keynote speech, then held a discussion about radio's future. See more here.

The "Spotify - Friend or Foe?" panel included Edison Research president Larry Rosin (who'll speak at RAIN Summit West) and addressed the question of whether radio should work with online music platforms, or strictly compete against them. More here.

UK-based "Radio futurologist" James Cridland moderated the "Hybrid Radio – FM, DAB+ and IP all together" panel, which also featured UK Radioplayer's Michael Hill (a previous RAIN Summit speaker). They discussed the enhancement of traditional radio by way of new technology. More here.

For the "Keys to the second life of speech radio" panel, NextRadio and TV/VP Frank Lanoux (Paris) and WDR Sports editor Marcus Tepper (Cologne) discussed why the future of radio might be speech, not music. Read more here.

Hanson reports several key points gleaned from attending these discussions. First, that digital radio, in separate-band DAB and DAB+ versions (as opposed to the U.S.'s in-band on-channel "HD Radio" approach), is having so significant an impact in some European countries, that some are even considering an FM shut-off later this decade.

Several of the panels discussed the "Euro-Chip" initiative, which is similar to our "FM chip" initiative. That is, a lobbying effort hoping to legislate the requirement of analog and DAB receivers in all future connected devices.

Internet radio in Europe, on the other hand, is growing more slowly than it is here in the U.S. That's seems likely to be due to the lack of available statutory music licenses in most European countries, and the slower development of "personalized radio" platforms, like Pandora.

You can experience more of Radiodays Europe via video and audio coverage of a selection of sessions, which should be available on the conference website within the next several days.

RAB: Radio's digital revenues grew last quarter, and in 2012 overall

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 12:20pm

Radio's digital revenue was part of the good news the Radio Advertising Bureau had for broadcasters on Friday.

The RAB's earnings report shows radio's Q4 2012 was up 4% (highest over the past eight quarters), and full-year spending rose for the third consecutive year. Digital revenue for radio was up 11% ($206 million) in the fourth quarter, and 8% in 2012 overall ($767 million). According to the RAB figures, digital now accounts for about 4.7% of radio's revenue.

RAB president & CEO Erica Farber will keynote RAIN Summit West April 7 in Las Vegas.

The RAB earnings press release is here.

RAIN Summit panel discusses social strategies for radio

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 10:10am

Triton Digital Media VP Business Strategy, Applications & Services Division Jim Kerr moderated the "Social Radio" panel at last month's RAIN Summit Dallas. He spoke with four pros from the broadcast, online radio, and Internet services industries concerning how radio can best make use of social media tools, and take advantage of consumers' embrace of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and more.

In planning a mobile strategy, given the necessary committment of resources (engineers, social media professionals) Jelli founder/CEO Mike Dougherty advised focusing on the biggest and most important, which for his company (and the others agreed) were Facebook and Twitter. He also suggested being realistic about the impact. Integrating with Facebook's Open Graph enables Jelli users' sharing and participation, but "Facebook didn't spike our usage or traffic, but it did provide a 3-4% monthly increase. It's like interest on a bank account. That investment was really important for us."

Owen Grover (iHeartRadio SVP at the time, now Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises SVP/Content Partnerships) agreed, and suggested using realistic expectations and logic to help decide where to "spend" your company's resources in social media. "We ask, 'Who are the listeners we're addressing here?'" Different genres attract different demos and lifestyles -- the same goes for social media platforms. "You're not going to get a ton of AC listeners on Tumblr blogs... However, you see an extraordinary use of social photo apps among urban radio listeners," he said. You need to consider "where your listeners expect you to be."

Pureplay webcaster Raditaz founder/CEO Tom Brophy suggested if you give a highly-engaged audience "the channels to interact with the social networks, they'll use them." His company's plan has been to "provide (social media) channels and tools, and be proactive and push some content" to these networks.

SoundCloud doesn't create content; rather, they provide the platform for others to promote content. To make that as easy and rewarding as possible, SoundCloud Head of Audio Manolo Espinosa explained his company's work to integrate in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flipboard, and more. "Our idea is to make it super simple, give you the right stats, and help you promote your content."

But how can this help increase radio listening?

Grover called Facebook and Twitter "extraordinarily powerful at getting the word out, generating excitement, and creating conversations that feed the larger on-air conversation." His example is Clear Channel talent Elvis Duran, who dedicates large segments of his show to what's trending on Twitter and Facebook. Social media platforms shouldn't simply be "places to deposit content," or even necessarily just "traffic referrals," he advised. "We think of them as an extension of conversation. People are surprised to hear me say I'm interested in driving on-air occasions, because I'm the digital guy, but we think of our platform as '360,' and integration is the 'magic sauce' that differentiates us."

SoundCloud's Espinosa brought up CNN's Radio's use of his platform, as well as New York air talent Zach Sang, who posts clips he thinks have "viral" potential -- which include him promoting that evening's show. This takes great advantage of the fact that in the online world, people want to share content they enjoy. "Giving people that content to share in a way that doesn't impact their workflow, that's where you want to be!" said Espinosa.

Dougherty added that Jelli stations have seen actual ratings increases follow a good shift in social strategy that increased online engagement.

Naturally, a good social media strategy needs to be mobile. Grover advised thinking about the "meaningful distinctions between the desktop experience on social, and the mobile experience on social." His example: the difference between the Facebook mobile app and the desktop version, "and you realize there's no such thing as a 'tab' on a Facebook mobile app, and therefore some of the branding or marketing or partner- or sponsor-driven stuff that you're doing you can't execute the same way. You have to think about these differences."

Check out audio from this panel below. Audio from all the RAIN Summit Dallas segments is here.

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