This month's Brussels Summit event to include special presentation on best uses of social media for radio

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 12:10pm

There's (literally) a world of competition online, and RAIN Summit attendees are always looking for strategies to increase their service's share of the online audience. Several of Europe's leading online and broadcast radio experts will take up this very topice at RAIN Summit Europe, May 23 (that's in two weeks!) at Brussels' Hotel Bloom.

The "Growing Your Online Audience" panel will cover topics from simulcasting on-air content, customized online radio, and on-demand streaming.

Radionomy's Alexandre Saboundjian (left) and 7digital's Ben Drury (right) are both CEO of their respective companies, and will take part in the discussion. Calling itself "The Radio Experience," Radionomy provides a tech platform for amateurs and professionals to create their own online radio stations for free (the company even covers music licensing). When a station's audience reaches certain levels, Radionomy then shares advertising revenue with the station creater. Apparently a busy guy, Saboundjian also heads (and founded) MusicMatic (an in-store media company), and Jamendo (which is a platform for royalty-free music).

Ben Drury co-founded 7digital, a UK-based digital media company, which sells music downloads to consumers, but also provides branded products for traditional media companies, consumer brands, and social networking services. Some examples are powering Samsung's Music Hub, and the music store for Songbird. He also founded, later acquired by Yahoo.

Kjartan Slette (at left, he's head of music at WiMP) and Steve Whilton (director of product at, right) are both tasked with crafting a product that ensures audience growth. WiMP is an on-demand music streaming service with a library of 18 million tracks (and growing). Based in Oslo, the service employs local editors in the countries in which it's available (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland and in the Netherlands) to help ensure it meets the demands of these different markets., founded in the UK in 2002, is known for its music recommendation "scrobbling" system that integrates with other services, and for its online radio service and social networking features.

KISS FM and rs2 general manager Christian Schalt (left) is the panel's representative of the broadcast world. He's based in Berlin, from where KISS FM has been broadcasting nationwide as part of the Germany's DAB digital radio system. He's a career broadcaster with experience at Planet Radio in Frankfurt and Energy in Vienna. He was also Program Director for Kronehit, Austria's only national commercial radio station.

"Growing Your Online Audience" will be moderated by VP/Europe for RCS Sound Software, Sven Andræ. Sven's also experienced in broadcast radio, and later joined RCS to launch its Scandinavian division. RCS, of course, is the well-known (and largest) broadcast software company, with products at over 10-thousand stations worldwide. It's known for its music and promo scheduling, digital playout, automation control, and traffic and sales management software (Sven's pictured right).

The RAIN Summit Europe agenda also includes five "feature presentations" (that's not including Kurt Hanson's "State of the Industry"). One will be "The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media Branding," to present tactics for online radio to better encourage discussion among, and connection with, listeners.

Our social media expert making this presentation is Paula Cordeiro of Lisbon. She's the radio ombusdperson for Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP), Portugal's public service broadcaster. A visionary of radio's future, she also coordinates the Radio Hub, which is a project for training, research, and radio production at the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (where she lectures on radio and digital media).

This year's RAIN Summit Europe promises to top even last year's inaugural Berlin event. Space is still available for this year's event. All the details, including registration links, are on the RAIN Summit Europe page here.

Spotify ups its "curation" game by acquiring app startup Tunigo

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 12:50pm

AllThingsDigital reported last week that Spotify has purchased Swedish music discovery startup Tunigo, makers of a popular Spotify app (the news source's Peter Kafka compares the app to webcaster Songza, in that "it is focused on mood- and theme-based playlists").

Kafka thinks it's a sign that "companies are starting to emphasize curation" (that is -- ways to tame the mass of millions of artists and tracks in order to find quality music that suits your tastes).

Last fall Twitter bought music discovery startup We Are Hunted (which also made a popular Spotify app) to help it build its music service. Spotify's move, writes Kafka, is "putting a renewed emphasis on helping people find stuff they like — which has the obvious benefit of keeping them on the service longer, and/or convincing them to pay."

Read more on Spotify and Tunigo in AllThingsDigital here. As we mentioned elsewhere today, Spotify's Benelux managing director Tom Segers will join us for RAIN Summit Europe, May 23 at Brussels' Hotel Bloom. Info and registration links are on the RAIN Summit Europe page.

Summit panelists look at accelerating revenue from ads, subscriptions, and donations

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 12:50pm

Triton Digital president of publisher development Dominick Milano acknowledged that there's a "disconnect" between the unprecedented amount of audio consumption made possible by Internet and mobile technology, and the fact that advertising dollars haven't moved to those platforms in levels reflective of the audience. That "disconnect" served as the premise for the Triton Digital-sponsored "Accelerating Your Revenue" panel, which Milano (at right) moderated, at last month's RAIN Summit West event in Las Vegas.

The panel covered the three principal revenue models for online radio: advertising, premium (or subscription), and listener-supported (i.e. donations).

Katz360 VP of broadcast services and online audio and video sales Dean Mandel suggested one key is the right combination of broadcast radio and online radio -- not only for ad campaigns, but in creating worthwhile listening experiences. He encouraged radio programmers to "take better advantage" of what technology has to offer to improve their online product.

"The programmers are brilliant and if they can come up with interesting content to fill instead of a lot of PSAs and ads, it will help grow the audience," Mandel (left) said.

He said he sees lots of value in what sets local broadcasting apart from national/global database-driven music webcasters: a local brand, personalities, and local content.

Mandel is also a big supporter of targeting advertising, and suggested effective listener-registration helps a lot. His "pro-tip" was for stations to look for online listening happening in markets outside your own that may command higher CPMs (his example was a Charlotte station that might have significant listening in New York City).

He also suggested that media buyers have indeed become sophisticated, and being able to provide them with targeting and third-party tagging on audio will raise CPMs.

Andrew Polsky, as VP of digital media for SBS Interactive, also deals in the advertising world. He says what his company needs is "advocacy" at the agency and buyer level, especially for the Hispanic market.

His company, aside from Hispanic-focused broadcast and online radio, owns MegaTV (video content and network) and SBS Entertainment (which is concert production). Key for him is being able to leverage all the properties as a unified platform, "offering a 360 approach to advertisers," and using content from one property on the others (see his company's LaMusica mobile app as an example).

Polsky (right) seconded Mandel's notion that there needs to be a better solution than "PSAs" to fill long stopsets when streaming broadcast content.

Michael Jackel, who is Spotify VP of West Coast advertising sales, also agreed about the power of being able to target listener groups for advertising (he addressed the perception of his company as a "subscription service," but insisted Spotify is a "dual-model" business with the large majority of its users accessing via free, ad-supported streaming).

Moderator Milano asked Jackel (left) if there were a model for subscription alone to work -- or if services need a free version to remain viable.

"If the value proposition is really there, pure subscription can work," Jackel answered. "Spotify has a great product that's free, but the premium is a great value proposition." He said, in the U.S. especially, people are used to "free," so Spotify's free streaming makes sense. "Pandora isn't winning on the subscription model because there's not that much value to their premium service," Jackel went on. "Few people will pay just to 'not have ads'. You have to offer something that's really compelling in order for people to pay for it."

Compelling content is also key to driving donation revenue for listener-supported stations, like Joe Gallagher's After some background on WMVY-FM and its early foray into streaming (Net Radio Sales, now Katz360 and AndoMedia/Webcast Metrics, now owned by Triton Digital, were both born of these efforts), Gallagher said successful donation support relys on offering content that "serves a niche, serves a vertical" and allows for "a passionate connection" with listeners.

Gallagher is the "#1 volunteer" for Friends of MVYRadio, the non-profit 501(c)3 that runs the (now) Internet-only, listener-supported station (more in RAIN here). He's also president and CEO of Aritaur Communications, former owners of WMVY-FM. He says his listener-supported model has "worked well, really well," and allowed for year-over-year growth for the past four years. The station recently raised the necessary $600k to operate for the rest of the year.

Gallagher (right) explained that listener targeting allows him to (for example) entice donations from L.A.-area listeners by giving away tickets for a concert there.

Milano polled the panel on the likely entrance of Apple into online radio. Katz360's Manel said, "It'll grow the business, it's a good thing. It might make local AM/FM focus more on their local value proposition" -- again, meaning the personalities and local content.

Spotify's Jackel said, "It's good. When (Apple) come(s) in, advertisers and Wall Street will see the value... it lifts the industry, it publicizes other businesses, to consumers AND advertisers."

You can listen to audio coverage of this panel, and all of RAIN Summit West's content, at (look in the right-hand margin).

Triton Digital CCO and general manager of data and measurement Rob Favre and SVP and general manager of international markets Jay Supovitz will be part of RAIN Summit Europe, May 23 at Brussels' Hotel Bloom. Spotify's Benelux managing director Tom Segers will also be there. Info and registration links are on the RAIN Summit Europe page.

WSJ covers trend in programmatic ad buying, including Triton's a2x system

Friday, May 3, 2013 - 11:50am

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the growing trend in "programmatic ad buying" -- using automation tools to buy digital ads via real-time auction.

Triton Digital recently introduced its a2x "programmatic buying solution" for online audio ads (more in RAIN here), which Triton Digital president of market development John Rosso explained at RAIN Summit West (here).

The paper wrote, "With programmatic buying, which can often be done in real time, advertisers can log on to a website and select where they want ads to run, how long the campaign is to appear and their maximum bid for the space. With another click the technology begins bidding on ad space that matches the request."

Triton has reportedly run ad campaigns for a "handful" of advertisers and sells inventory for CBS Radio, among others.

Read more in The Wall Street Journal here. (Off-topic detail of no interest to anyone: The "Clark/Lake" Chicago "L" station mentioned and photographed in the article is the very station this reporter uses in his daily commute to RAIN's offices. More interesting, yet far less cheerful, is this news.)

Deezer champions "human touch" music programming over algorithms at TheNextWeb conference

Friday, May 3, 2013 - 11:50am

Deezer executive Fabrizio Gentile spoke at The Next Web conference in Amsterdam of the importance of human curation for programming music streams.

He revealed that about 50 of Deezer's 200 employees are "editorial managers" who carefully craft the listening experiences the service offers.

Gentile, managing director for the French-based online music service (which is not available to U.S. users), said, "Whenever you go on Deezer... everything that you see has been chosen by someone. In most countries where we are, or where we have offices at least, there’s someone listening to 40-45 hours of music a week and suggesting that to users."

It's this "human touch" which Gentile claims sets Deezer apart from other services' algorithm-based music programming and recommendations.

Read more (and watch video) from here.

Deezer VP/ad sales David Deslandes will give a special presentation at the May 23 RAIN Summit Europe (reported here), in Brussels. Full details of the day's events and registration links for RAIN Summit Europe are here.

Hanson's "State of the Industry" part of RAIN Summit Europe agenda

Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 12:35pm

There was a time when Internet radio was essentially connecting with listeners as they sat at a desktop computer. Today's landscape is significantly different: while the "9-to-5, at-work" audience is still there, online audio consumption has exploded on mobile devices (phones and tablets), home entertainment systems (including standalone devices and apps built into Blu-ray players and home theater receivers), and now in-dash automobile systems.

At RAIN Summit Europe (at the Hotel BLOOM! in Brussels May 23), leading radio professionals will discuss how their companies utilize various technologies to reach their audience, and the challenges created for advertisers.

If you attended RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas last month, you'll remember Ali Abhary, CEO of Spectrum Medya, of Turkey. He'll join us once again, as a panelist in the "Multiplatform Content Distribution" discussion. Spectrum is one of Turkey's leading radio broadcasters, and owns the nationwide FM radio network Metro FM.

Radio 538 is a Dutch commercial broadcaster (with online hip-hop and contemporary R&B station Juize.FM, and sister stations Radio 10 Gold and SLAM!FM). Jan Willem Bruggenwirth (pictured left), 538Group managing director, joins the panel, along with RAIN Summit Europe veteran Caroline Grazé, Radio NRJ head of Internet & new business international, based in Hamburg. NRJ is the "Hit Music Only!" multimedia group with a brand extending across Europe, and even North America and Japan.

Joël Ronez, Radio France director of new media and Radioline founder/CEO Thomas Serval will represent France on the panel. Ronez's company is a public service broadcaster with seven national networks. Radioline is Europe's largest aggregator of online radio streams.

U.S.-based Jay Supovitz, Triton Digital SVP/GM of international markets, will handle moderating "Multiplatform Content Distribution."

Later in the day, RAIN publisher and founder/CEO Kurt Hanson (at right at this year's European Radiodays conference) will make his "State of the Industry" address -- updated and focused for the European Internet radio industry (audio of his RAIN Summit West speech is available via the link in the right-hand margin of RAIN).

The RAIN Summit Europe page is here. It has the day's full agenda, descriptions of the panels and presentations, and links to register for the event (still just €99.00 including lunch and cocktail party).

Syndicate content