RAIN Summit

IAB brings agencies and Net radio sales pros together for Digital Audio Agency Day in Chicago

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 12:05pm

RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson will make the first presentation this afternoon at the IAB Digital Audio Agency Day, here in Chicago. Hanson will give a twenty-minute version of his "The Future of Radio" address before the afternoon's first panel discussion. (Hear the full version of Kurt's "State of the Industry" address on SoundCloud here, or look for the link in the right-hand margin of RAIN.) 

The first of the day's two panels is "Streaming Audio Consumer Experience & Advertiser Environments," moderated by former Katz 360 Sales President Brian Benedik, with AdLarge CRO Eric Ronning, Pandora Regional VP/Sales Gabe Tartaglia, and CBS Local Online president (and recipient of the 2012 Triton Digital RAINMaker Award at RAIN Summit Dallas) Ezra Kucharz.

The second panel, "Beyond the :30 Spot," features Starcom VP/Media Director Cecilia Bizon, Walgreens Director, Media Services Christine Kubisztal, and Luna CMO Jason Pruismann, and will be moderated by Pandora VP/Audio Sales Doug Sterne. Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino will make a presentation called "By the Numbers: State of Online Audio," followed by TargetSpot VP/Marketing Amy Becker, whose speech is called "Digital Audio & the Multicultural Audience," and Colleen Fahey (who is founder and principal of The Idea Haven) on "Audio Branding."

IAB VP Michael Theodore (a RAIN Summit veteran) will host the event at the famous Tribune Building.

Music streaming service Deezer raises $130 million from Warner Music parent

Monday, October 8, 2012 - 11:25am

Various sources today report French streaming music service Deezer has raised $130 million in a funding round led by Warner Music Group owner Access Industries.

Deezer had been planning to make the announcement Wednesday, but confirmed the deal after the story broke in the French media this past weekend. Deezer Deputy GM, Head of Ad Sales David Deslandes spoke on the "Monetizing Digital Audio" panel at RAIN Summit Europe on Friday in Berlin.

Deezer says it intends to use some of the new money to extend its geographical reach and update the product updates; $30 million of that will reportedly go to buy out current shareholders. The company promises full details will be revealed on Wednesday.

According to MusicWeek.com, "Deezer has been profitable since 2010 with a number of partnerships including Facebook and local telecommunications companies such as Orange in the UK." CEO Axel Dauchez confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that the company was profitable, "but due to expansion plans was now entering an investment phase. 'We will return to profit in 2014.'"

Deezer currently has 26 million users, of which some 1.5 million have a paid-for subscription. In December Dauchez announced his global strategy to offer a service in every country except Japan and the U.S.

The Journal reports, "Digital channels now account for an estimated 32% of record-company revenues globally, up from 29% in 2010. Some markets now see more than half of their revenues derive from digital channels, including the U.S. (52%), South Korea (53%) and China (71%)."

Read more in The Wall Street Journal here. There's more in MusicWeek.com here.


From today's early edition: Europe's Net radio leaders gathering for Summit conference today in Berlin

Friday, October 5, 2012 - 11:35am

Our first European Summit event is today in Berlin at 9am local time (hope you've had some coffee, that's 3am in New York!).

Later this afternoon is the keynote address from Jonathan Forster, who is General Manager Europe & VP Ad Sales for Spotify. Jonathan is responsible for the overall development of Spotify's European business and managing Spotify's workforce across the region.

In the first half of today's event, we'll hear from Prof. Klaus Goldhammer of Goldmedia Strategy Consulting, who will present the findings of his company's study on online radio listening in Germany, "Web Radio Monitor 2012." RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson will also make his "State of the Industry" presentation. Finally, we'll enjoy lunch, and later, the RAIN Reader Cocktail Party.

Please follow the event on Twitter using the hashtag #RAINSummit (and we invite you to follow our accounts, too: @RAINTwitter and @RAINSummits).

Finally, we'd like to introduce some more of the companies and speakers for today's event:

Xavier Filliol will moderate the "Personalized Radio" panel. Filliol is CEO/co-founder of AdsRadios in France, which focuses on all new areas related to the digitization of radio media: podcasting, live streaming, and on-demand. The panel, which addresses individualized listening options available on various streaming platforms, will include Filliol's countryman Jean-Marc Plueger of Yasound. Yasound "is a new service that lets you create your own radio station in just a few clicks and share it with your friends in real time," and Plueger is also CEO/co-founder.

Two gentlemen from the UK will speak on the "Personalized Radio" panel as well. First, Simon Moran, Last.fm's Managing Director. Last.fm is, of course, the music recommendation service that using the "Audioscrobbler" system to build a profile of each user's tastes by recording details of the songs that play on Internet radio stations, the user's computer, or portable devices. Mixcloud, meanwhile "is joining the dots between radio shows, podcasts and DJ mixes." It's "Cloudcasts" (audio shows stored in the "cloud") are available for on-demand streaming. Mixcloud co-founder Nikhil Shah will join the panel.

Another panel, "Agency Roundtable - Internet Radio Advertising," will discuss the benefits and challenges of streaming audio as an ad medium. To moderate, we're happy to welcome Audioemotion CEO Elisa Escobedo. Audioemotion Media is an ad network fully-specializing in online radio advertising. Joining Elisa is UK-based Jon Harris, who's Activation Director for Starcom MediaVest Group (the Digital and Media subsidiary of Publicis Groupe, the multinational advertising and public relations company).

Today's full agenda is on our RAIN Summit Europe page. Again, please follow us on Twitter at #RAINSummit. Danke viel!

Net radio leaders from Europe, U.S. will share strategies for generating revenue in online radio

Friday, September 28, 2012 - 1:15pm

France-based Radionomy provides users a platform to create their own online radio stations (and listen to others' stations) using its 80,000 song library (or their own songs), along with social networking functions and tools to promote and monetize their programming (those in the U.S. are probably familiar with the concept from companies like Live365 and Loudcaster).

Founded in 2008 in Belgium, Radionomy (prior coverage here) attracts 13 million monthly unique users streaming 40 million aggregate listening hours per month to their more than 6,000 user-created radio stations. Last week at our RAIN Summit Dallas conference Radionomy announced its entrance into the U.S. market.

Next week Radionomy CEO Alexandre Saboundjian (left) will join us for at RAIN Summit Europe, October 5th in Berlin. Saboundjian will speak on the panel "Monetizing Digital Audio" alongside RMS Head of Sales & Digital Media Frank Nolte. RMS is a leading audio marketing company in the German (online and terrestrial) radio ad market. Together with RMS Austria, which serves 42 Austrian outlets, RMS is the largest audio marketing company in Europe.

The panel also features and Liquid Compass CEO Zach Lewis, whose company offers stream-hosting services for desktop and mobile webcasting, and develops customizable media players and radio streaming applications.

Representatives of companies like Deezer and NRJ International will also take part in the "Monetizing Digital Audio" discussion (more here). Christian Jonas Lea, who is a media and marketing pro in Germany, having launched the new Dig This Media, and blogs at cjlea.com, will moderate.

RAIN Summit Europe will be our very first RAIN Summit event outside North America, and will offer a learning and networking opportunity unlike any of our previous gatherings.

Our keynote speaker represents perhaps the most significant online music concern to come out of Europe, Spotify. Spotify's European GM and VP of Ad Sales Jonathan Forster's (left) company now boasts 15 million active users worldwide, 4 million of whom pay for the service every month. Besides its on-demand streaming product, Spotify Radio is a personalized radio stream listeners create based on artists, songs, or genres, which can be further influenced through "thumbs up/thumbs down" song ratings.

Please take a look at our full roster of industry experts and agenda of panels, all of the most up-to-date information, and registration links on the RAIN Summit Europe page. And please check out where we'll hold the Summit: the very stylish nhow "Berlin" - The Music & Lifestyle Hotel Berlin.

Edison interviews with buyers show radio needs to up its digital game

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 1:20pm

At last week's RAB NAB Radio Show in Dallas, Larry Rosin and Edison Research showed video interviews they'd conducted with media buyers, planners, and executives about broadcast radio's (and webcasters') digital initiatives.

At least it's good to know where you stand, right?

Edison asked these professionals about the role that radio can play in a multi-media ad buy, how they perceive the level of digital expertise of the radio reps they encounter, specifically about radio streams and web sites, about Pandora in particular, and about the data stations can give back to clients that advertise on digital channel.

The interview subjects are pretty bluntly honest with their opinions, and that's a good thing. And, they're not 100% negative. But they do give broadcasters a really clear view of how they need to learn and execute if they hope to maintain dominance in new media.

"The buyers of today are looking for the mass and response that radio elicits, but they are equally looking for measurability, personalization, efficiency and trackability," Rosin wrote. "Radio has to continue on a parallel path of innovation to provide these items to advertisers or simply watch its portion of the total advertising pie continue to slowly diminish."

At RAIN Summit Dallas last week, Michael Theodore of the IAB moderated a wonderful panel dicussion ("Identifying Opportunities for Advertisers in Internet Radio") with digital media buyers, specifically about radio and webcasting. We'll feature highlights of that discussion in RAIN soon (and, we've put audio of the panel on SoundCloud -- see the right-hand margin of RAIN).

View the Edison interviews here.

Digital content producers at RAIN Summit suggest "trying to get 22 year-olds to listen to AM/FM" maybe is missing the point

Monday, September 24, 2012 - 12:25pm

In his opening remarks at Tuesday's RAIN Summit Dallas, consultant Walter Sabo emphasized the need for radio to develop "original, exclusive content" to weather the transition to the digital medium (see coverage of, and listen to, Sabo's opening remarks here), and even made a point that he was looking forward to the afternoon's "Innovating Online Content" panel (which immediately followed his opening).

Moderator Sean Ross (right, himself VP/Music & Programming at Edison Research) deftly led the conversation among four leading programming executives through what they're currently developing, what's working, and the staffing and monetization challenges of financing the production of compelling content.

And one could sense the sincerity of Ross, lifelong radio devotee himself, when he implored his panel for a strategy to "repatriate" today's 22 year-old to radio. To that last concern, ESPN Radio Director of Digital & Print Media Revenue & Operations Cory Smith (left, with the two RAIN Internet Radio Awards won by ESPN Audio) suggested that maybe getting young people to actually listen to the AM/FM broadcast wasn't the point. We "give content to listeners in the format they prefer," whether on-demand, video, blogs, SMS..."let the user decide," he said. "Pushing everyone to radio might be a real challenge."

"We're moving to a world of 'segments' and less a world of 'streams,'" Bob Kempf, NPR Digital Services VP, agreed. What could be of interest to a new generation of young listeners would be what he called "algorithmically-driven segments" -- think content delivered based on that listener's preferences.

TuneIn Programming Senior Manager Scott Fleischer said it's as simple as understanding the content priorities of our hypothetical 22 year-old; restated simply by UK Radioplayer Managing Director Michael Hill as "fish where the fish are."

Hill and Kempf concluded (and often agreed while at it) by passing along some programming wisdom. On the perennial issue of understaffing at programming departments, Hill make an unconventional point: "Radio has always been, and we should keep it, a 'lightweight' medium," he said. There's a danger in "becoming the incumbent" -- that is, slow and inflexible and stifling innovation. "Keep on the lookout for disruptors" on your staff, he suggested, "those willing to experiment." He and Kempf agreed that partnering outside your department (or company, even) can help lighten the load.

"Yes," continued Kempf, "experiment, keep development lightweight," and makes sure and test and assess what's working and what's not as often as possible. "Measure, measure, measure."

But how do you finance all that experimentation? How do you get the best ROI when you come upon something that does work?

"Stop underselling your digital assets," Hill stressed. "Put a good, solid price-tag on them." Kempf added, "Be patient." The transition to digital will happen, "the audience is going to be there, the revenue will follow."

Please listen to the entire "Innovating Online Content" panel via SoundCloud below, and watch for more coverage from RAIN Summit Dallas this week.

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