Farber announces RAB initiative to examine radio streaming

Friday, September 20, 2013 - 9:10am

Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber revealed in her address at The Radio Show yesterday her organization has created a "Streaming Initiative Committee" and is "taking a deep dive look into all aspects of streaming — definitions, delivery, metrics, etc." She promised more would be revealed in the coming weeks.

Farber assessed broadcast radio's new tech track record by saying "Unlike some other media, radio has taken an aggressive stand and taken advantage of technology to deliver content."

Of course, many industry observers would say exactly the opposite. Truly, how aggressive can the industry be if the RAB is announcing a fact-finding initiative on streaming technology in the year 2013?

Nonetheless, Farber suggested the ad community is on board, saying, "Advertisers recognize the importance of delivering their ad messages across all of radio’s platforms including radio’s fastest growing segment -— digital." has the transcript of Farber's address here.

Industry mulls the wisdom of combined "over the air" and "streaming" audience measurement

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 1:10pm

Radio consultant Fred Jacobs (right) today is calling for radio to "fully embrace the streaming platform," as his (and others') data show more and more regular radio listeners are tuning in online and on mobile phones. He's stressing the need to "accurately measure AM/FM streaming, merge it with usage data from broadcast radio in a format that is acceptable to agencies and buyers, and then monetize these bigger numbers."

Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino, however, thinks radio should pursue growing digital ad budgets by keeping online audience separate from AM/FM listening.

In the second installment of his "Simulcasting Debunked" blog series (we covered the first part yesterday here), Agovino (left) says he understands why broadcasters might want to consolidate audience numbers so existing staff can sell "total audience" and reduce costs. But while digital audience lacks in size compared to on-air, digital can deliver targeted ads to an audience that can be precisely measured.

"In all likelihood, 95%+ of the combined broadcast and digital audience number is generated from the broadcast estimate alone," Agovino wrote. "As a result, the combined number offers none of the benefits of digital. It is, in essence, a dumb number." Note that Agovino's company is a vendor of digital ad delivery and metrics services to the broadcast industry.

But Jacobs is asking, "What about strong radio brands that attract digital listening, but lose out on the "credit" (that is, advertising dollars) for it, because it's not counted as part of a station's audience?" 

Now it isn't necessary that Jacobs' and Agovino's positions can't be reconciled. Panelists on the RAIN Summit Orlando "The Ad-Insertion Panel" (including Agovino) will surely have some thoughts on the matter. Get more info and register for RAIN Summit Orlando here. Read Fred Jacobs' blog here; Agovino's here.

Powered by The Echo Nest, new Rdio Stations includes automatically generated customized You FM

Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 12:25pm

On-demand music service Rdio is making a big push towards delivering music in a personalized radio style, with its "new and improved" Stations feature.

Many have made the case that while a true on-demand, "pull" service allows listeners maximum flexibility (you simply choose whatever you want to hear), a more "radio-style" presentation makes for an easier "lean back" listening experience, and can introduce a listener to new music relevant to their tastes, couched within familiar favorites. As on-demand music services have evolved their offerings in the past few years, we've seen them paying more attention to improving their radio-style services

Rdio's new Stations is powered by data from The Echo Nest, which also announced the new service in its blog.

One cool feature is called "You FM." It's a custom stream based on an Rdio user's listening history, song ratings, Facebook likes, Twitter follows -- which is constantly updated as this data changes. It can also be manually customized. Similarly, "Friend FM" uses a listener's Rdio friend's tastes to generate a streaming music stations.

Rdio Stations also offers more than 400 of the traditional genre- (and what it calls "sub-genre") radio stations. Users can also generate stations based on a favorite artist of song (in the Pandora vein). Finally, if a listener chooses to listen to something "on-demand" (say, a full album), the "AutoPlay" radio function will continue to play music similar to the choosen piece after that piece is complete (competitor MOG can do this as well).

All Rdio stations allow users to skip songs, and replay songs as well (this is an on-demand subscription service, after all). But they allow further customization by way of a five-position setting that ranges from "Popular" (well-known songs) to "Adventurous" (deeper cuts). Finally, Rdio is using a "full-screen" takeover for the player, with a very simplified control icons in favor of huge, colorful CD cover images.

In a blog entry, The Echo Nest explains how its data helps power the new Rdio Stations. "We've spent over a decade researching and developing ways to understand Musical Identity. For each person, we develop an individual Taste Profile. To build You FM and Friend FM, Rdio worked closely with The Echo Nest to extend each user’s Taste Profile across the entire world of music, creating a radio representation of your taste, or that of any of your friends."

The Echo Nest CEO Jim Lucchese will moderate a panel at the September 17th RAIN Summit Orlando. More details soon.

Read more from The Echo Nest here; more on Rdio's Stations in Engadget here.

Cox signs on as first LDR Grüvr client broadcaster

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - 1:15pm

LDR Interactive has launched a new mobile offering called Grüvr to bring a new level of user-interaction to broadcast radio. Cox Media Group will be the first radio client to use Gruvr for 33 of its stations in 11 markets.

Grüvr mobile app users can vote in real-time to affect which song plays next (and can integrate with other LDR products). Users can create audio dedications using Grüvr's "open mic" feature. The apps are integrated with social platforms like Facebook and Twitter for sharing and dedications.

There's a "gamification" element to it as well, as listeners can earn badges with use, that can be customized by the client for different "achievements." LDR (formerly known as Listener Driven Radio) has included an alarm clock function into the app, which awakens listeners with customizable content like local weather forecast, names of Facebook friends having birthdays, and station contest reminders (before launching the station stream).

Cox stations in Atlanta and Athens, GA; Dayton; Houston; Jacksonville; Long Island; Miami; Orlando; San Antonio; Tampa; and Tulsa started introducing the apps to listeners in June. All 33 Cox stations that have signed on will offer the new apps by the middle of this month.

"We believe that the mashup of social-local-mobile-broadcasting has potential to drive interactive engagement around music listening in an unprecedented way for the radio industry," LDR CEO Daniel Anstandig said.

CC-created iHeartRadio to compete with Pandora in Australia and New Zealand

Monday, August 5, 2013 - 10:55am

ARN, the Australian Radio Network, has launched digital music service iHeartRadio in Australia and New Zealand. Of course, iHeartRadio is the online radio platform created by U.S. media giant Clear Channel.

Like the service in the U.S., the Australian iHeartRadio will offer live radio streams, a custom radio feature (a la Pandora), and reportedly more than 850 playlists curated for moods or activities called "Perfect For" channels (a la Songza).

All of ARN's broadcast stations are available as live streams on iHeartRadio now. On September 23, iHeartRadio will add ARN's "American sister stations and New Zealand’s TRN" stations, for a total of more than 900 live station streams, reports B&T.

The service is free to use for listeners, with limited advertising. The live radio streams will still contain the on-air ads of the stations, but aside from audio and video pre-rolls, the online-only features will be ad-free (as in the U.S.).

"ARN is one of the last radio networks to bring a music streaming service to market," writes B&T. "DMG Radio Australia partnered with Rdio in August last year and Songl, a joint venture between Southern Cross Austereo and DMD, launched in beta in March."

U.S.-based wecasting leader Pandora is also in Australia and New Zealand. AdNews reports Pandora will meet its target of one million Australian users in the coming months, and will soon introduce advertising to the streams.

Read more in B&T here; and in AdNews here.

PPL to U.S. radio: Pay royalties, or block UK streams

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 11:30am

Inside Radio reports today UK-based music licensing company and performance rights organisation PPL has contacted several U.S. broadcast groups to insist they pay royalties for UK stream listening, or block the streams altogether. According to Inside Radio, Cox Media Group is one of the groups that received the letter.

Broadcasters like Clear Channel, Emmis, and CBS Radio indeed take measures to prevent non-U.S. streaming. In fact, the PPL says no U.S. radio group has approached the organization for a license. While Pandora blocks UK listening, U.S. operator Live 365 is PPL-licensed to stream to UK listeners.

According to the news source, only the largest radio groups have been contacted by PPL -- so far. PPL spokesman Jonathan Morrish did say the organization plans to send similar letters to other American broadcasters as part of a "broader PPL project."

Morrish said his group is "merely ensuring that services that are streaming in the UK are correctly licensed... Any overspill received outside the U.S. would not therefore be covered by the U.S. statutory license and instead separate licensing arrangements would need to be made."

While generally broadcasters aren't interested in streaming to foreign listeners their advertisers aren't interested in reaching, one exception Inside Radio brings up is overseas-based U.S. military audiences.

More in Inside Radio here.

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