Digital revenue is the bright spot for radio according to the newest revenue data out late last Friday from the Radio Advertising Bureau. Digital revenues grew 16% over last year’s second quarter and are up 13% for the year. Serious attrition continues for network dollars which are down 4% for 2Q and the year. Digital is now poised to overtake network’s share of radio’s revenue pie.
The big elephant in the room is spot radio, which was only flat for the quarter but is still off 1% for the year. Of course this is not a good trend in the face of a modestly recovering economy. Ad revenues continue to shift to online and mobile media, as evidenced by the growth of radio’s digital revenues.
In a move that is likely a reaction to news like this, Clear Channel, which owns Katz Radio, the sales firm that controls the lion’s share of national spot revenues, has just signed on with IPG, one of the largest ad agencies, to build an automatic buying platform for radio inventory. According to Mediapost, “The initiative, which was developed by Interpublic’s Mediabrands unit, is dubbed the Magna Consortium, and is part of the agency holding company’s mission to automate 50% of its media-buying by 2016.”
Jacobs Media has updated its annual Tech Survey, which is a study of the media habits of core radio users. It’s a study that has 9 years under its belt now, so it’s a great chance to take a look at trends.
In the big picture of how media stack up in terms of usage, there’s been a pretty big shift, with people using AM/FM an hour or more a day dropping below 90% into fourth place behind TV since the release of last year’s results. AM/FM fell 3% in a year, which is a shift that is hard to ignore. Meanwhile, usage of Internet radio weekly or more jumped 7% year to year to 45%. Last year’s survey results assigned 18% of Internet radio’s 38% to Pandora, but this year’s results don’t offer specifics on Pandora’s share.
One of the salient takeaways from this study is that listeners are connecting with radio across a more diverse set of technologies. Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs says it’s about ”radio’s ability to uniquely connect with consumers on their preferred platform.” This survey of radio users is telling us loud and clear that they want to be able to access content across a diverse offering of media and devices.
RAIN Summits, the premiere educational and networking events for the Internet radio and online audio industry, have announced the agenda for RAIN Summit Europe on May 23 in Brussels. The largest gathering of its kind in Europe, RAIN Summit Europe’s speaker list features a diverse list of web radio professionals from most countries and provides an excellent opportunity for the industry to share expertise.
RAIN Summit Europe will take place at the award-winning Hotel Bloom! in Brussels. The pan-European conference will be a day-long event, including thought provoking panels and presentations, insightful speakers, and engaging networking opportunities. Executives from many different European countries will share thoughts and ideas on the future of radio in the digital world.
RAIN Summit Europe will feature a list of speakers who are experts on various aspects of the field of streaming radio. Featured speakers at the conference in May include:
- David Deslandes, Deezer, France
- Simon Gooch, SBS Radio Sweden/Radio Play, Sweden
- James Cridland, Media UK, United Kingdom
- Ali Abhary, Spectrum Medya, Turkey
- Kjartan Slette, WiMP, Norway
- Christian Schalt, KISS FM/Radio Service Berlin, Germany
- Jan-Willem Brüggenwirth, 538Group, Netherlands
- Jean Pierre Cassaing, Havas Media, France
- Alain Reyes, NRJ Audio, France
- Joel Ronez, Radio France, France
- Steve Whilton, Last.fm, United Kingdom
- Caroline Grazé, NRJ, Germany
- Lubor Zoufal, Lagardère Active ČR, Czech Republic
- Paula Cordeiro, RTP, Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa, Portugal
“This agenda features an excellent complement of speakers from across Europe for a full day of panels, presentations and networking that endeavors to advance the business prospects for online audio,” said Jennifer Lane, President of RAIN Summits.
“In Europe today, Internet radio is an extremely vibrant and fast-growing media segment, with many of the top AM/FM broadcasters actively participating in the category along with a number of innovative entrepreneurs,” said Kurt Hanson, Publisher of RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter. “Last year’s RAIN Summit Europe, in Berlin, attracted a very high caliber of both speakers and attendees. This year, we’re excited to bring RAIN Summit Europe to the business capital of Europe, Brussels, and our agenda is shaping up to be our best yet!”
For more information on the agenda and speakers, visit the RAIN Summit Europe website
News that Nielsen will purchase Arbitron is good news for online radio services like Pandora. Nielsen, which measures many media segments, already has a strong foothold in digital and cross platform measurement, not only in the US but globally. Yesterday’s announcement that they will purchase Arbitron was quickly followed by statements that they will measure online radio services like Pandora as well.
I call this excellent news. Arbitron, which has dallied in Internet radio measurement several times in the past, recently denied Pandora a place at the table when they sought to be measured alongside broadcast radio counterparts. Pressure from those broadcasters, who spend a lot of money with Arbitron, certainly appeared to be one of the reasons that the company decided to measure streaming only as an adjunct to broadcasts. That decision enraged advertising agencies as well as online only services.
I think Nielsen’s entry into radio and digital audio measurement would be an excellent thing for the marketplace. Their multi-media measurement platform and global footprint likely mean that broadcasters won’t be able to flex their muscle to influence company decisions that are better made with a broad perspective. Nielsen is a company that understands that today’s advertisers need measurement tools that can enable accurate media placement across many platforms and technologies. Folding radio into that mix can benefit radio as advertisers are able to view it as an important part of a larger multi media landscape.
In the states where the races for the presidential election were the closest, radio advertising made the difference. According to an article in Politico last week, both candidates used radio to target specific segments of the population, with Obama spending quite a bit more than Romney. The article, which is also very nicely summarized by Fred Jacobs in his blog, notes that the campaigns saw radio as a way to reach voters who were not extremely political and might not be tuning into polls on a daily basis. As well, radio ads were a strategy for reaching busy younger adult women who spend lots of time in the car tuning in.
A nifty infographic that TuneIn, the Internet radio portal, sent me shows that voters likely to favor Obama were indeed listening to radio. Radio was a key strategy for the campaigns in swing states, with the Obama campaign airing a series of tailored radio ads for eight key states, targeting Paul Ryan, including specific ads relevant for Virginia, Colorado, Florida and Nevada starting in August, and Romney using swing-state radio ads to knock President Obama over his ” bayonets and horses” quip during the final presidential debate.
TuneIn looked specifically at how many listeners were tuning into political talk programming during the month of October and found more listening to liberal (so-called) democratic programming. Indeed, their data, which they sent me on Monday, largely predicted the outcome in most of the key swing states…
Triton Digital and Alan Burns and Associates recently released a new study Radio Tomorrow which focuses on listener attitudes and behavior with a focus on future prospects for the medium. It’s a dense study with a lot of interesting questions in it. For example,
25% of those asked stream music on a smartphone daily from AM/FM, Pandora and other sources, and the number climbs to almost 40% weekly. Pandora alone claims 11% daily and 15% weekly in terms of people using it, per the study.
Some of the news in the study is predictable: young people listen to radio less, want more control of their stations.
Some of it is less so – for example, the study found that 44% of listeners would be more likely to buy a phone if it had an FM chip in it. And of the nearly 20% who have internet access in their cars, many still listen to AM/FM (70%).
When asked if there is a medium that feels like a friend, 50% named RADIO. And they find radio ads more trustworthy and less annoying.
If you haven’t taken a look at this study you should. There’s meaningful takeaways for anyone programming a station, online or not…
Targetspot has updated its yearly study of Internet radio listeners. The newly released information was first presented at RAIN Summit West by Targetspot CEO Eyal Goldwerger. Today, the company made the whitepaper more widely available on its website.
The benchmark study, done by Parks Associates and with the support of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, was first released at last year’s RAIN Summit West. Results of this year’s update show increased listening, particularly to mobile devices, along with increased social activity and response to audio ads.
The findings are all good – the audience is growing, taking Internet radio with them on mobile devices and sharing it with friends on social platforms. Listeners are interacting with their stations, and that’s having a very positive impact on advertising as well. Ad recall and response rates increased 11% since last year, with 58% recalling having seen or heard an Internet Radio ad within the last 30 days compared to 52% in 2011. Of those listeners, 44% responded to an Internet Radio ad in one way or another compared to 40% in 2011, a 10% increase versus last year.
It’s been a strong news week for Pandora, which is not unusual – the service has a great strategy for maintaining visibility in the media. That’s good for their brand and all of Internet radio by-the-way.
They recently released some new data from a study done by The Media Audit surveying 54,000 people in Los Angeles about their radio listening affinities. As reported in the LA Times, “Pandora beat out local stations such as KIIS-FM, KNX-AM4, KROQ-FM5 and KOST-FM in the survey of 54,000 adults who were asked in the biennial phone poll, in October, what stations they had listened to in the previous week.” In fact, “The research group estimated that 1.9-million people in Los Angeles listened to Pandora between September and October of 2011. The No. 2 station, KIIS-FM, garnered 1.4-million listeners in the same time frame, according to the survey.”
This caused the Huffington Post to headline an article with the proclamation that Pandora is the Number One Radio Station in LA. I’m sure the folks at Pandora were very happy about that.
Meanwhile, Inside Radio, a publication owned by Clear Channel which owns Pandora competitor iHeartRadio, was busy covering a story about more research on Pandora’s listeners. Mark Kassoff and Company, a radio programming research company, surveyed 1,177 Pandora listeners, asking them just what they like so much about the service. Their conclusion? Pandora listeners are control freaks. And that’s the headline that Inside Radio chose for their coverage of the info.
Now, despite the headline, the Kassoff data is actually pretty good – revealing to those that read past the opening sentence that people like the personalizable options that Pandora gives to listeners. Kassoff goes on to examine in his survey the ways that Pandora and FM are different, and encourage broadcasters to focus on those differences. Which is a great conclusion for his study..
Robin Flynn of SNL Kagan hosted a panel discussion called “Charting Digital Audio Ad Dollars” at RAIN Summit West on April 15th. Advertising is on the upsurge, she concludes, and cpms are solid.
Pandora SVP of ad sales Steven Kritzman, Katz Online President Brian Benedik, Spotify VP of ad sales Jon Mitchell and Alexis Van de Wyer, President of Adswizz, Inc. were the panelists contributing to the panel hosted by Flynn.
There is a healthy interest in advertising on Internet radio, and the cpms are getting stronger. Contributing to the interest is Internet radio’s ability to deliver key groups such as 18-34 year olds, Hispanics and upper income groups. Advertisers from many leading categories are now active in Internet radio, including finance and entertainment along with auto, restaurant and retail. Mitchell said that Spotify has 1,400 different advertisers.
Nonetheless, audio ads continue to be under monetized. Campaigns that include video in the mix with audio will produce a higher cpm overall, but targeted local campaigns are also pulling higher cpms. Benedik estimated that while generally network radio CPMs are $4 to $6, he said that geo-targeted campaigns can boost CPMs to $6 to $12.
Local advertising is gaining interest on Internet radio, led by the precise targeting abilities of Pandora. Thanks to listener registration, platforms like Pandora and Spotify can target by listener demographics, geographics, or taste in music. Benedik is looking for local revenues from political campaigns this year to be healthy.
The group acknowledged that monetizing audio effectively remains a challenge. Flynn notes: “Given that 70% of Pandora’s listeners listen on a mobile device, Kritzman said, the company is working hard to better monetize those listeners. Pandora execs have recently said the company’s RPMs, or revenue per 1,000 listening hours, are $60 to $70 for its desktop Internet business versus $20 for the mobile side, but mobile is expected to catch up.”