Triton Digital

RAIN Summit panel discusses social strategies for radio

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 10:10am

Triton Digital Media VP Business Strategy, Applications & Services Division Jim Kerr moderated the "Social Radio" panel at last month's RAIN Summit Dallas. He spoke with four pros from the broadcast, online radio, and Internet services industries concerning how radio can best make use of social media tools, and take advantage of consumers' embrace of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and more.

In planning a mobile strategy, given the necessary committment of resources (engineers, social media professionals) Jelli founder/CEO Mike Dougherty advised focusing on the biggest and most important, which for his company (and the others agreed) were Facebook and Twitter. He also suggested being realistic about the impact. Integrating with Facebook's Open Graph enables Jelli users' sharing and participation, but "Facebook didn't spike our usage or traffic, but it did provide a 3-4% monthly increase. It's like interest on a bank account. That investment was really important for us."

Owen Grover (iHeartRadio SVP at the time, now Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises SVP/Content Partnerships) agreed, and suggested using realistic expectations and logic to help decide where to "spend" your company's resources in social media. "We ask, 'Who are the listeners we're addressing here?'" Different genres attract different demos and lifestyles -- the same goes for social media platforms. "You're not going to get a ton of AC listeners on Tumblr blogs... However, you see an extraordinary use of social photo apps among urban radio listeners," he said. You need to consider "where your listeners expect you to be."

Pureplay webcaster Raditaz founder/CEO Tom Brophy suggested if you give a highly-engaged audience "the channels to interact with the social networks, they'll use them." His company's plan has been to "provide (social media) channels and tools, and be proactive and push some content" to these networks.

SoundCloud doesn't create content; rather, they provide the platform for others to promote content. To make that as easy and rewarding as possible, SoundCloud Head of Audio Manolo Espinosa explained his company's work to integrate in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flipboard, and more. "Our idea is to make it super simple, give you the right stats, and help you promote your content."

But how can this help increase radio listening?

Grover called Facebook and Twitter "extraordinarily powerful at getting the word out, generating excitement, and creating conversations that feed the larger on-air conversation." His example is Clear Channel talent Elvis Duran, who dedicates large segments of his show to what's trending on Twitter and Facebook. Social media platforms shouldn't simply be "places to deposit content," or even necessarily just "traffic referrals," he advised. "We think of them as an extension of conversation. People are surprised to hear me say I'm interested in driving on-air occasions, because I'm the digital guy, but we think of our platform as '360,' and integration is the 'magic sauce' that differentiates us."

SoundCloud's Espinosa brought up CNN's Radio's use of his platform, as well as New York air talent Zach Sang, who posts clips he thinks have "viral" potential -- which include him promoting that evening's show. This takes great advantage of the fact that in the online world, people want to share content they enjoy. "Giving people that content to share in a way that doesn't impact their workflow, that's where you want to be!" said Espinosa.

Dougherty added that Jelli stations have seen actual ratings increases follow a good shift in social strategy that increased online engagement.

Naturally, a good social media strategy needs to be mobile. Grover advised thinking about the "meaningful distinctions between the desktop experience on social, and the mobile experience on social." His example: the difference between the Facebook mobile app and the desktop version, "and you realize there's no such thing as a 'tab' on a Facebook mobile app, and therefore some of the branding or marketing or partner- or sponsor-driven stuff that you're doing you can't execute the same way. You have to think about these differences."

Check out audio from this panel below. Audio from all the RAIN Summit Dallas segments is here.

Our first-ever European Summit event is this Friday!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 12:45pm

Special thanks to our U.S.-based industry friends who'll make the trip over to Berlin this week for our very-first RAIN Summit Europe. This is especially for attendees here in the United States that will incur the time and expense to take advantage of this unique learning and networking opportunity. We'll do our best to make it worth it for you!

Some of our esteemed experts who'll speak are also U.S.-based. We've previously announced Liquid Compass CEO Zachary Lewis (here) and Triton Digital's Patrick Reynolds (here). Joining Reynolds from Triton will be VP/Sales for Europe, Daniel Karlsson. He'll take part in the "Targeted Advertising & Listener Registration" panel.

Also joining us from "stateside" will be TuneIn VP/Sales & Business Development Carl Rohling. TuneIn is the free online radio tuning service, which aggregates over 70-thousand music, sports, news and current events stations from around the world. TuneIn functionality is available via TuneIn mobile apps, and is built-in to select BMW and MINI car dashboards (Rohling will speak on "The Connected Dashboard" panel).

The Echo Nest is a "music intelligence" company, the largest repository of dynamic music data in the world. This data helps application developers build smarter music apps. The Echo Nest's customers include Clear Channel, Nokia, eMusic, MOG, Rdio, Spotify and more than 15-thousand independent app developers. You'll agree, then, that it makes perfect sense for The Echo Nest to be represnted on our "Personalized Radio" panel. Doing the honors will be CTO Brian Whitman.

We're proud to welcome Spotify's European GM and VP of Ad Sales Jonathan Forster as our keynote speaker. Spotify now has 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.

We're looking forward to Friday's (October 5th) RAIN Summit Europe, at the stylish nHow Berlin. We hope you'll be able to join us (Click here for registration info and the agenda).

Traditional summer slowdown hampers audience growth, but not as much as past years

Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 11:00am

Metrics rankingsAs in years past, the "summer doldrums" took their toll on webcasters' audiences in July. Minus one exception, all the webcasters and broadcasters tracked in Triton Digital's Top 20 Webcast Metrics for July 2012 were flat or down month-to-month. 

The Internet radio industry typically sees audience numbers flat-line or drop slightly in the summer months. Listeners spend relatively less time in the office -- where, at least in the past, a majority of Internet radio usage took place -- due to holidays (like the Fourth of July), vacations, and other activities (like the Summer Olympics which began on July 27 and, this reporter seems to think, were a huge drain on productivity). We refer to this traditional decline as "summer doldrums." 

All told, the combined AAS (Average Active Sessions, essentially equivalent to AQH) of the Top 20 webcasters declined a little over 1% month-to-month. That's actually an improvement over 2011, when webcasters' combined AAS dropped nearly 7% from June to July 2011. Could this be in part due to Internet radio's growing mobile and out-of-office listening

Top-ranked Pandora was roughly flat month-to-month in July, according to Triton's Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m daypart ranker. The webcaster stands at an AAS of 1,214,119 -- up 151% year-over-year.

The #2-ranked Clear Channel, backed by its iHeartRadio platform, declined 4% month-to-month to reach an AAS of 174,333. Clear Channel's AAS has grown 140% year-over-year.

The race for the #3 spot became more heated in July: CBS Radio, currently holding the #3 spot, declined 12% month-to-month. Slacker (at #4) dropped 6% month-to-month but is now within nearly 300 AAS of overtaking CBS Radio. Slacker has grown 60% year-over-year while CBS Radio has dropped 45%. The change is in part due to AOL Radio's migration from CBS to Slacker.

The one exception to all this declining and flat-lining is NPR Member Services, ranked at #11. Its AAS, as measured by Triton, increased 37% month-to-month. June was the first month NPR Member Services appeared in the Top 20 ranker.

ESPN Radio saw the largest month-to-month decline with a 14% drop (though Radio One and Hubbard weren't far behind with 13% declines). Most others saw month-to-month drops of 3-9%.

(The chart above shows the growth of Pandora, CBS, Clear Channel, the top 5 terrestrial radio groups and Slacker from September 2009 through July 2012. Note that Pandora's AAS numbers from December 2010 through mid-August 2011 were affected by the omission of tracking code in some of its mobile apps. Click to view in full size.)

You can find the Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m ranking below. Find out more from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics report here (PDF) and find our coverage of June 2012’s ratings here.

July Webcast Metrics

We'll announce the winners of the 2012 Awards at RAIN Summit Dallas Sept. 18

Monday, August 27, 2012 - 1:10pm

The presentation of the third annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards happens at RAIN Summit Dallas on September 18th. Today, we're thrilled to announce the Awards finalists in each of the four categories.

RAIN and Triton Digital inaugurated the Awards in 2010 to recognize the achievements and best practices of webcasters in our industry. As part of the Awards, Triton Digital will award the 2012 RAIN Maker Award to honor the individual who has contributed significantly to advancing digital radio.

The judging staff has now visited, listened, sorted, and hashed out "short lists" of Awards finalists from this year's entries. It is from these finalists that a single winner in each category will be chosen. The Best Single-Stream Webcaster award is for operations that concentrate their energies and passion into crafting just one program of online radio content. Congratuations to this year's Single-Stream finalists: BeachFront Radio, BlackLight Radio, Castlerockradio.com, Floyd's 99 Radio, Radio Paradise, RootHog Radio, and The Cigar Station. The 2011 Single-Stream winner was HealthRadio.net.

Broadcast stations, groups, or online-only webcasters are all eligible for the Best Overall Digital Strategy prize. It's all about recognizing the operation that best harnesses new media tools (mobile, downloads, podcasts, streams, etc.) in a unified, focused strategy. This year's finalists are ESPN Audio, EXA FM, iHeartRadio, Karnaval.com, Spotify, and Sportsradio WEEI/Boston. Hubbard's Washington, D.C. WTOP was last year's winner in this category.

This next category recognizes streaming broadcasters (like our 2011 winner, Rhythmic CHR CJNW Hot 107 in Edmonton). The 2012 winner is among the following: 97.1 FM The Drive (WDRV/Chicago), ESPNRadio.com, and WDST Radio Woodstock.

And finally, the big one! Here are the finalists for the 2012 Best Overall Online Radio Service, which will go to the operation our judges feel provides the best overall online listener experience: 977music.com, AOL Radio, ESPN Audio, iHeartRadio, Live365, Pandora (the 2011 winner in this category), and Spotify.

Thanks to all our entrants, and congratulations and good luck to the finalists. We hope you can join us in Dallas on September 18th for the Awards at RAIN Summit Dallas. Click the link for information and to register.

Alt-rock RadioBDC features former WFNX staffers; Triton Digital handling streaming

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 1:50pm

RadioBDCThe new web radio service from Boston.com -- dubbed RadioBDC (as in, Radio-Boston-dot-com) launched today at noon, following a montage of station production and string quartet versions (!) of classic modern rock songs. Dicky Barrett, frontman for local faves The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, called in to congratulate staffers and "front-announce" RadioBDC's first song, The Bosstones' "I Want My City Back."

Boston.com is a regional news portal owned by the Boston Globe. It attracts more than 6 million unique visitors per month. The site announced it would launch an online-only alternative rock web radio station back in June (RAIN coverage here), then hired on-air staff from the local alt rock station WFNX (which flipped formats after its sale to Clear Channel).

Triton Digital announced today that it will provide the station with its content delivery network (CDN), a Flash-based audio player and three mobile apps (available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices), as well as measurement and ad insertion. Additionally, Triton will provide audience engagement solutions including song and artist facts, lyrics, sampling and purchase options, content sharing and more.

The station will stream online at Boston.com (here). It will feature live programming (including news and lifestyle features) from 7am to 10pm every weekday and Sunday morning. At other times RadioBDC will stream alternative music. The stream will also include ads, though the "primary revenue generator" will be sponsored events, the Boston Globe reports (here).

Boston.com's general manager Lisa DeSisto says RadioBDC is "a way to deepen the engagement" of the site's visitors, Radio-Info reports (here).

"It’s all about attracting audiences and getting people to do things with us,” said Christopher Mayer, publisher of the Boston Globe. “We’ve seen people move from print to the Web, and from the Web to mobile. Why wouldn’t they also want our content in audio?”

Web radio leaders Pandora, Clear Channel, CBS, Slacker all see month-to-month declines

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 2:00pm

Webcast Metrics chartAs we've seen in years past, Internet radio entered a period of "summer doldrums" in June, according to Triton Digital's new Webcast Metrics. Most webcasters on the Top 20 ranker (Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m daypart) were flat or declined month-to-month, including industry leaders Pandora, Clear Channel, Slacker and CBS.

But the Top 20 chart in June also included a new entrant: NPR Member Stations, which came in at #16 with an AAS of 5,605. In March, NPR announced it would make Triton's Webcast Metrics and other services available to member stations (RAIN coverage here).

"Summer doldrums" are a period of flat or declining audience levels traditionally seen during the warm weather months as people vacation and generally spend less time in the office (where a majority of web radio listening takes place). 

Pandora's AAS (Average Active Sessions, essentially equivalent to AQH) declined 2% month-to-month, reaching 1,215,904. That's up 143% year-over-year. Meanwhile, #2-ranked Clear Channel declined 1% month-to-month with an AAS of 181,679 in June. The broadcaster is up 126% year-over-year. 

Ranked at #3, CBS Radio saw a sharper decline: down 8% month-to-month to reach 52,443 (down 44% year-over-year). And #4-slotted Slacker (which includes AOL Radio) dropped 2% month-to-month. The webcaster now stands at 48,502, up 58% year-over-year.

Bucking the trend, AccuRadio saw its AAS increase by 11%.

Radio One / Interactive One saw the largest month-to-month percentage decline with a 17% drop. Most other webcasters in the Top 20 ranker saw month-to-month declines of 0-5%.

(The chart above shows the growth of Pandora, CBS, Clear Channel, the top 5 terrestrial radio groups and Slacker from September 2009 through June 2012. Note that Pandora's AAS numbers from December 2010 through mid-August 2011 were affected by the omission of tracking code in some of its mobile apps. Click to view in full size.)

You can find the Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m ranking below. Find out more from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics report here (PDF) and find our coverage of May 2012’s ratings here.

June Domestic Webcast Metrics chart

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