webcasting

Webcasters should consider the possibility of a Facebook smartphone

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 11:10am

Facebook is rumored to be working on its own smartphone device, with hopes of a 2013 release.

A New York Times blog cites "employees of Facebook and several engineers who have been sought out by recruiters there, as well as people briefed on Facebook’s plans" as its source.

"For Facebook, the motivation is clear," the article reads. "As a newly public company, it must find new sources of revenue, and it fears being left behind in mobile, one of the most promising areas for growth."

Facebook reportedly already has a complete operating system built, with messaging, calendar, video, contacts, and a fully-stocked app store.

What would a Facebook phone (and mobile OS) mean for webcasters? There's building and maintaining (and marketing) yet another app. But consider the warnings to content creators that rely too heavily on powerful companies like Facebook to deliver audience. Should a Facebook mobile platform really gain traction, webcasters could potentially come to rely too much on Facebook for mobile traffic, and be at the mercy of a master with very different interests at heart.

Read The New York Times blog here.

Parties announce settlement on online "mechanical" royalties; doesn't apply to Internet radio

Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 11:40am

Representatives of the music industry (labels and publishers) announced yesterday the settlement of a Copyright Royalty Board proceeding for "Section 115," or "mechanical" royalties digital music services pay to reproduce a musical work (read more in The Wall Street Journal here).

It is important to note that these are not the "public performance" royalties webcasters pay SoundExchange for the use of copyright sound recordings. Also known as "Section 114" royalties, those rates will be set with a proceeding beginning in 2014 (to settle by late in 2015) for the period from 2016-2020," explains industry attorney David Oxenford in Broadcast Law Blog.

Yesterday's settlement involves digital music services's use of music outside of "non-interactive" webcasting: sales of digital downloads, ringtones, on-demand streaming, "cloud" services, and "conditional" downloads (e.g. listening to Spotify offline).

Moreover, "mechanical royalties" are "payments made to the composers of songs -- those who write the words and music of the songs -- usually represented by a publishing company," Oxenford (pictured) explains.

By the way, satellite radio provider SiriusXM, like Internet radio, also pays Section 114 royalties. They're currently in a rate-setting proceeding for the 2013-2017 term. Oxenford predicts a decision in that case by the end of this year, "which could give some preview of what webcasters can expect in their upcoming case." Read more from Oxenford in Broadcast Law Blog here.

David Oxenford is a Washington, D.C.-based partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, and an expert on broadcast and Internet radio law and royalty matters. He'll sit down for a one-on-one discussion with U.S. Copyright Office general counsel David Carson on Sunday at RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas. More information, and the registration link, is here.

Radio's biggest group drops "Radio" from its name to better reflect multi-platform business

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 12:25pm

Editor's Note: RAIN will return on Tuesday, January 17, 2012.

Clear Channel Radio today announced its immediate name change to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, a move it says "better reflect(s) the evolution of its business... (and) clearly signals its successful expansion into new areas."

"Clear Channel Media and Entertainment represents our evolution as we prove our relationship with our listeners is so much more than just our transmitters and towers," Clear Channel Media and Entertainment CEO John Hogan said in the press release announcing the change. "We will continue to serve our increasingly diverse audiences and local communities... wherever they expect it, while supporting advertisers, strategic partners, music labels and artists with creative, multi-platform marketing opportunities..."

The new moniker covers Clear Channel's 850+ broadcast outlets, but also online (via iHeartRadio and on its stations’ hundreds of websites), HD digital radio, satellite, mobile (smartphones, tablet devices, and in-vehicle entertainment and navigation systems), and live events.

RAIN Analysis: This move is logical, especially if you buy into the notion that radio's future will be as itself a single strategy executed by multi-platform media companies (see TargetSpot's Andy Lipset's guest essay today, or our coverage of Jerry Del Colliano's blog yesterday, here). What's harder to comprehend is how, on one hand, radio's biggest player can so deeply accept its future as a multi-platform venture as to drop the word "Radio" from its name; yet on the other hand, there are those in the broadcast industry maintaining that Pandora and other pureplay webcasters belong in a completely separate sandbox. -- PM

USC Annenberg study shows listening to radio as common an online activity as paying bills

Friday, December 16, 2011 - 12:05pm

You may have seen news coverage yesterday of the highlights from ten years of research on Americans' use and attitudes towards the Internet and new technology. The studies were done by the Annenberg School for Communication's Center for the Digital Future, at USC.

While most news sources focused on the report's dire predictions for print media ("Most print newspapers will be gone in five years"), kudos to Inside Radio for digging a little deeper for this tidbit: 22% of study respondents report "going on the Internet at least weekly" to "listen to online radio."Slacker on an iPad

[That data point is actually not from the recently-released highlights of the studies' findings over the last ten years; rather, it's from the 2010 Digital Future Report -- the tenth annual study in the series -- which was released in June.]

While that figure was outranked by online activities like general web-browsing, online banking, social networking, and gaming -- it's interesting that 22% is also the share of respondents who pay bills online. Also keep in mind that the "to listen to online radio" response was distinct from the "to download or listen to music" response (38%).

Here's another point the Annenberg summary made that should be of interest to broadcasters and webcasters: Over the next three years the tablet computer (e.g. Apple iPad) will become consumers' primary tool for most online/computing activities. Use of the trusty desktop will drop to 4-6% (laptops too!). "For the vast majority of Americans, the tablet will be the computer tool of choice by the middle of the decade, while the desktop PC fades away," the research summary reads. Food for thought.

Read Annenberg's highlights and predictions from their ten years of study here. Read highlights from the 2010 Digital Future Report (that has the online radio figure Inside Radio reported) here.

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