saavn

International webcaster issues mirror those in U.S.: Royalties, revenue, and potential Apple competition

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 1:40pm

RAIN Summits included the "International Trends in Online Audio" panel in Sunday's RAIN Summit West program because of the positive response to last fall's RAIN Summit Europe (as well as to serve as a preview for this year's Europe event).

Turns out, what these online radio professionals viewed as some of their biggest challenges mirror those in the U.S.: high content costs and complex regulations (royalties), those costs' drag on their companies' profitability, revenue beyond ads and subscriptions, and the prospect of an Apple entry into the space.

CEO of Berlin-based webcaster AUPEO!, Holger Weiss (pictured right), admitted licensing across borders is a steep challenge. He said it's a long, arduous process, yet his service is licensed in 40 countries, so it can be done.

Radionomy VP/Business Development Thierry Ascarez agreed there are "solutions out there, it can be done." His company provides a platform for hobbyist and smaller professional webcasters to create and stream their own online stations.

Saavn co-founder Paramdeep Singh (pictured left) described the especially difficult circumstances in India: "We have deals with over 900 record labels, as there's no one-stop for licensing in India. Labels and artists think we're hugely profitable, so they want lots of money."

So what about that money? How do these business leaders intend to increase revenues?

Radionomy's Ascarez described his company's advertising platform in which it splits ad revenues with those webcasters whose audiences surpass a minimum threshold (incentivizing good content).

"There are unique opportunities for monetization beyond ads and subscriptions," said Singh, whose Saavn service streams Bollywood and Tamil Cinema music. He says his company partners with carriers as a "use case" and a benefit to upgrading to a data plan (of India's 800 million mobile customers, only about 50 million have data plans).

"Who'll finance (these types of services) until the ad revenues make it profitable?," wondered Weiss. "It's not great and fantastic yet. We're not profitable yet. We have to think beyond pure advertising and subscription. Advertising is not the only way to make money. We'll see this in 2013," he said.

The AUPEO! CEO teased a Monday announcement about his company "working with" Panasonic, saying services could create new revenue streams by bundling the service with device makers, especially for the car. What we learned Monday is Panasonic has actually acquired AUPEO! for its in-dash audio entertainment platform.

Live365 CEO Hong Lau, experienced in business in China, illustrated the opportunities in that country. "It's not a lot different there than here," he said. He explained that phones are considerably cheaper, and there are hardly any significant online audio services there.

Moderator Ali Abhary (right), CEO of Spectrum Medya in Turkey, concluded by asking his panelists how they view a potential webcasting competitor in Apple.

Saavn's Singh said his company's specialized music libraries aren't easy for a new competitor to relicate. "It took us years to aggregate our content."

Weiss agreed. "You can win in a fight (with Apple), which can't copy you, but "can only buy you if you're niche."

We'll continue to recap the content from Sunday's RAIN Summit West in the coming days here in RAIN.

"Spotify of India" music service Saavn adds music ID functionality from Shazam

Friday, April 5, 2013 - 11:50pm

Techcrunch reports Indian music service Saavn will add functionality from Shazam -- which makes mobile apps to identify songs (and other media) by sampling audio -- as part of a new partnership.

Saavn offers an ad-supported digital music service for fans of Bollywood and South Asian music, "targeting the vast numbers of data-enabled phones in India and South Asia that lack the ability to run smartphone apps." It calls itself the "Spotify of India" (where most western-based digital music services aren't available). Saavn last year added an English language version of the service.

Paramdeep Singh, Saavn executive chairman and one of its founders, will join us on the "International Trends in Online Audio" panel at RAIN Summit West Sunday in Las Vegas (more here).

Read more on the Saavn/Shazam partnership in Techcrunch here.

"International" RAIN Summit West panel a preview of our May European event

Monday, April 1, 2013 - 1:00pm

In anticipation of our second annual RAIN Summit Europe (May 23 at Hotel Bloom in Brussels, details here), we're adding a global perspective to our RAIN Summit West program with the "International Trends in Online Audio" panel. And we're honored to have several leading Internet radio and digital music CEOs taking part.

In February we announced AUPEO! CEO Holger Weiss as a panelist (announced in RAIN here) to help us explore the realities of streaming radio outside North America.

To moderate the "International Trends in Online Audio," we'll be joined by Ali Abhary, CEO of Spectrum Medya, one of Turkey's leading radio broadcasters. Abhary (right) is also founder of Biletix, Turkey's leading entertainment ticketing company, and one of that country's first and most successful Internet startups (it's now owned by Ticketmaster/Live Nation). Abhary was a panelist at our first RAIN Summit Europe last year in Berlin.

Hong T. Lau is CEO of Live365, and will join the panel. A graduate of the London School of Business with an MBA, Hong (left) has held a number of senior positions in North America and Asia in diverse industries, including that of managing director with the Jim Pattison Group. He has extensive experience in finance, acquisitions, and corporate growth strategies.

Also on board is Paramdeep Singh, Executive Chairman and one of the co-founders of Saavn, a digital distributor of Bollywood and Tamil Cinema music. Under Paramdeep's leadership, Saavn has secured partnerships with the top film production and music houses in India, and amassed the largest legitimate Bollywood music catalog available directly to end users online. Singh (lower right) graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences at Tufts University with degrees in International Relations, Economics and Entrepreneurship.

Thierry Ascarez, Radionomy VP/Business Development, rounds out the panel. Ascarez has been based in San Francisco since the company's September U.S. launch, and was once the compnay's Marketing & Communications director. Prior to joining Radionomy (which also has offices in Brussels and Paris), Ascarez (lower left) worked in promotions and digital sales for the EMI music group.

RAIN Summit West is this Sunday in Las Vegas. The annual full-day Internet radio conference is a co-located education program of the NAB Show. Now in its 12th year, the Summit focuses on the intersection of radio and the Internet. Keynoting the event will be RAB president and CEO Erica Farber (more in RAIN here) and Rhapsody International president Jon Irwin (more here). Register today via the RAIN Summit West page. And look for the RAIN Reader Discount Code in the P.S. of your RAIN Daily e-mail (subscribe here)

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