smartphones

SiriusXM subscribers can stream MLB games online, through smartphones

Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 11:45am

MLBJust in time for Opening Day, SiriusXM has announced that its subscribers can stream live radio coverage of every Major League Baseball game on smartphones and online. "With this agreement, SiriusXM becomes the Official Internet Radio Partner of MLB.com," the company's press release states.

SiriusXM also broadcasts coverage of MLB games via satellite, and MLB.com offers live radio coverage through its own subscription packages.

Find SiriusXM's press release here.

Weekly web radio listening up 30% from 2011, largest growth since 1998 says Edison and Arbitron

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 12:45pm

Internet radio on smartphonesAccording to new data from Edison Research and Arbitron, weekly Internet radio listening in the U.S. grew 30% from 2011 to 2012. "This is the largest year-over-year increase we’ve seen since we began tracking this stat in 1998," writes Edison VP Tom Webster. And it's likely thanks to smartphones.

The data is part of Edison and Arbitron's report, "The Infinite Dial 2012: Navigating Digital Platforms," which will be released in full on April 10.

The companies found that 29% of Americans 12+ used Internet radio (including AM/FM streams and pureplays) weekly in 2012, up from 22% in 2011.

Webster points to smartphones and mobile web access as the catalyst. "In a sense, the continued penetration of smartphones is encouraging something of a radio renaissance, though it doesn’t look like your father’s Victrola," he writes.

"The ability to pick songs is now an algorithm. The Internet radio services of tomorrow have to show me how that content matters, if they want to matter."

You can find more from Edison Research's blog here.

Now more smartphones than feature phones in U.S. as AT&T tweaks "unlimited" data offering

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 11:15am

iPhoneThere are now more smartphone owners in the U.S. than feature phone owners, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. "Feature phones" are more basic than smartphones and usually don't support apps or other web-based features.

“Nearly every major demographic group — men and women, younger and middle-aged adults, urban and rural residents, the wealthy and the less well off — experienced a notable uptick in smartphone penetration," Pew noted. Boy Genius Report has more coverage here.

Meanwhile, AT&T yesterday responded to customer complaints regarding its "unlimited" data plan. Previously the company was throttling data speeds for "unlimited" data plan customers after they consumed 2GB of data in a billing period. AT&T has now upped that limit to 3GB.

Eliot Van Buskirk made some calculations about how much web radio or music one could listen to before hitting the 3GB throttle point. Find his analysis at Evolver.fm here.

Mobile ad spending to grow 80% in 2012; grew 82% for music, video, game services in 2011

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 8:00am

eMarketer's predictions for mobile ad spending over the next few yearsThe U.S. mobile advertising market is "growing far faster than expected," according to new predictions from eMarketer. Users may be happy to accept these ads as well...so long as the mobile app or service is free.

eMarketer now predicts that mobile ad spending will grow 80% in 2012, reaching $2.61 billion. That's an upgrade from their earlier prediction of $1.8 billion. It predicts display advertising will grow 93.5% and video ads will increase 122%. "By 2015," eMarketer writes, "ad-supported mobile content revenues in the U.S. will surpass $1 billion, with growth rates slower but still strongly in the double digits."

Looking specifically at ad-supported mobile music, games and video services, eMarketer predicts ad revenues will grow 52.7% in 2012 (reaching $433.8 million) after growing 81.9% in 2011. By 2015, eMarketer estimates around 30% of mobile music, video and gaming revenues will come from ads. 

Borrell Associates recently predicted that mobile audio ad spending would reach $667 million by 2016 (RAIN coverage here).

Moreover, mobile users seem to approve. Nielsen's State of the Media report for 2011 found that 51% of mobile users are happy to accept mobile ads, as long as the app is free. The report also found that 45% of tablet and smartphone users downloaded a music app in a 30-day period. And 27% of users paid for a music app.

Mobile devicesThis all may be great news for Internet radio. Monetization of mobile listening is reportedly less than that of desktop listeners for some webcasters -- even as mobile becomes the dominant way to tune in to web radio.

For example, in October 2011 a Morgan Stanley analyst claimed that Pandora's desktop listeners generate nine times the revenue of the service's mobile users (RAIN coverage here).

You can find eMarketer's predictions here and here. Ars Technica has more coverage on the Nielsen report here.

Chicago Tribune: Cars without CD players will become the norm in coming years

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 11:15am

Pandora in a GM carThis year's CES was flooded with devices and developments for connecting cars to the Internet -- especially Internet radio (find our coverage here). Now Automotive News (and picked up by the Chicago Tribune) reports that new technology is already replacing CD players in cars, and will do so at a greater pace in the next few years.

More than 330,000 cars will be sold without CD players in 2012, according to an analyst for research company Stratacom. He expects that number to grow to 12.1 million by 2018.

"Shedding the CD player is part of a larger trend in automotive infotainment," writes Automotive News. "Content and computing power are migrating to smartphones." The publication points to Pandora and similar webcasters as potential winners of such a trend.

You can find Automotive News' article here. The Chicago Tribune also picked up the story, which you can find here.

Automakers, developers, content providers present solutions "where the bits meet the road" for CES

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 11:55am

After the second offical day of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, we could probably have enough news to cover in RAIN for the next few months. So we'll try to throw a wide net here, and let you decide where you want to read more.

And connecting the car to the Internet is really where the action has been. In fact, a record number of automakers are exhibiting (see RAIN here), with six of the top-10 automakers present. Like Inside Radio wrote today, "From a keynote speech by the head of Mercedes Benz to the prominent presence of numerous other automakers, the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show took the digital dashboard for a test drive yesterday in Las Vegas."

Ford debuted its concept car, the Internet-connected Evos, at CES. "By the time you get behind the wheel, the car will have analyzed the morning’s traffic and weather and calculated the best route to get you to the office on time," writes The Boston Globe (here). "You won’t even have to touch the radio - it’s already playing the same station you were listening to in the house. And as you pull away, it will shut the garage door and turn off the lights."

While that's a little ways down the road, Ford announced the newly-updated TuneIn (the Internet radio tuning provider and aggregator) smartphone app (see RAIN coverage here) supports Ford's SYNC AppLink, giving drivers voice-command access to thousands of AM, FM, HD and Internet radio stations. Read more in Engadget here.

And just today, Ford announced it will be the first automobile company to enable in-car, voice-controlled access to Clear Channel Radio's iHeartRadio app through the SYNC AppLink system (there's more on this here).

Audi, also exhibiting a connected car, likes the idea of linking to devices consumers already own and use. "Customers want to bring their own devices into the vehicle, not buy devices from the car maker," Anupam Malhotra, a senior strategist at Audi, told Variety (here). "By having broadband in the vehicle for audio and in some cases video streaming, we can leverage that to create a flexible entertainment medium." Chrysler and Kia also showed Internet-connected cars.

Harman’s interactive platform Aha Radio had lots to announce: the tech will be built in to some 2013 Subaru and Honda models, giving customers on-road access to MOG, NPR, Shoutcast, Rhapsody, Slacker, plus CBS Radio's 129 broadcast station streams (but not online-only Radio.com streams or Last.fm). The Aha Radio platform will also be available on select aftermarket receivers from Kenwood and Pioneer. Read more in Inside Radio or Engadget (here).

Not surprisingly, it's Pandora leading the way among webcasters in making a presence in new in-car devices. Two new Alpine receivers announced at CES sport SiriusXM and HD Radio support; one, the INE-Z928HD in-car DVD receiver, allows creation and control of Pandora stations with a smartphone (more here). You can also listen to Pandora via AppRadio2, Pioneer's new smartphone powered in-vehicle audio system, showcased at CES (here); and on two new Clarion units (that's a Clarion unit pictured -- see more from CarAudioMag.com here). Finally, Pandora and "middleware" company Jungo announced a partnership at CES that "pre-integrates" Pandora’s proprietary automotive API, Pandora Link, with Jungo’s MediaCore automotive middleware. Instead of needing to create their own interface, automakers or aftermarket stereo manufacturers can use MediaCore to connect Pandora to the car audio system and stream and control Pandora stations via smartphone, as well as display station and track info on an audio system screen. Read more here.

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