Ando Media has released its January Top 20 – a ranking of the Top 20 Internet radio stations or groups of stations. The most significant change from last month is that CBSRadio – which for the first time last month was rolled into the Katz Online Network number – is now not included in that network’s number. According to Brian Benedik of Katz 360, “CBS’ stations are still part of our network, but they are choosing to only be shown as a standalone network in the Webcast Metrics ranker.”
Katz Online Network posts a total week (Monday – Sunday 6am – midnight) cume of just over 4 million and an AQH of about 270,000. CBSRadio shows a cume of 4.5 million but an AQH of 120,000. Clear Channel’s network of online stations posts a cume of 2 million, and an AQH of 75,000.
By comparison, CBSRadio’s ratio of AQH to Cume is much lower than the other two networks. I asked Jordan Mendell of Ando Media to explain. “AOL listeners account for a significant amount of CBSRadio’s network AQH, and the listening sessions for AOL are not as long as those of other stations, says Mendell. “For example, the average time spent listening for AOL channels is 60 minutes while the average time spent listening for Clear Channel is 96 minutes.”
It makes sense that a huge portal like AOL would get a lot of people sampling the radio streams, but not necessarily listening for as long as people who listen to stations at websites where the radio station is the destination (purpose) for visiting the site.
Online broadcasters continue to post significant audience numbers – Digitally Imported, 977Music, 1.fm and AccuRadio were the top online brands in the survey. AccuRadio’s numbers were off of their November-December high. (That station does particularly well with its offering of multiple holiday channels.) Other big broadcasters in the top ten: Entercom, Cox, Citadel, and ESPNRadio.
One third of Canadians have typed a website address into their browser after hearing it on the radio, according to a new study by Foundation Research on Radio and the Internet, published by the Radio Marketing Bureau. The study goes on to outline other stats that highlight ways that radio and the Internet are complimentary:
- 36% of Canadians listen to the radio while surfing the Internet.
- 62% of adults 18+ said that an ad on the radio had prompted them to visit a website in the past six months.
- 62% of adults 18+ strongly agree that radio ads influence their Internet surfing.
The study goes on to provide several case studies on ways that advertisers used radio to drive traffic to their websites. Once there, 37% actually purchased the product, according to this study.
The study concludes: “Radio and internet are complementary media. The combination of radio and the internet satisfies the rational and emotional needs of consumers. The internet is a huge resource for information allowing people to find what they want, when they want it. Radio is a personal and emotional medium providing entertainment and companionship throughout the day. Both media connect the user with social communities.”
As everyone’s time spent online increases, understanding the ways that radio can become a compliment to online marketing goals becomes very important. In publishing this study, Canada’s Radio Marketing Bureau understands that.
The National Association of Broadcasters reached a negotiated deal on Internet radio royalties for 2009 to 2015 last week that applies to all broadcast stations that stream online. The settlement is curious – it gives stations some minimal rate relief for the next couple of years, but then the rate increases yearly at a rate such that by 2015 the rate is .0025 – well ahead of current rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board.
From this deal, streaming broadcasters get three main benefits. First, a 16% discount on rates for 2009 and 2010. Second, a defined set of rates for 2011 – 2015, which eliminates the need for them to participate in the next round of CRB proceedings, which are about to begin. Third, some flexibility in the use of music, which was limited to a certain number of songs per artist within a time period. (For more detail on this, read David Oxenford’s analysis here.)
At a glance, it doesn’t seem like much of a deal, I suspect a lot of industry watchers are scratching their heads over it. But considering who the players are, and what they have been up against, I think it makes sense from a business perspective. For a long time, NAB was reluctant to get involved in the streaming royalty issue. They were not a party in the original CRB case, it wasn’t until the appeal that they got involved. (The appeal is still pending.) For the main proceedings, the broadcasters’ interests were represented by a “Coalition” of broadcasters. That group dwindled as its expenses rose to the millions – even CBS withdrew from the proceedings a while back. I think the actual broadcasters left standing from that original group were Bonneville, Salem, Cox and Clear Channel and the expenses – legal fees and expert witnesses, hearings and appeals – probably cost millions. And while it would be one thing to spend lots of money to get substantial benefit, that’s not what happened. Instead the case was decided heavily in favor of the labels.
Given the fact that the record companies don’t even have to negotiate a deal with broadcasters or any webcaster, this deal is understandable. Broadcasters have little leverage, high legal expenses, and no reason to think that the next CRB proceeding will produce more favorable rates for them. So they cut a deal that gives them a short term break, eliminates a huge legal bill for the next case, defines the landscape for business purposes in terms of rates, and gives them some programming advantages that enable them to more easily simulcast their broadcast content online.
Coupon sites were the fastest growing online category in November, according to a new report by eMarketer. More and more consumers are relying on the Internet to stretch their dollars – they’re searching for deals online, printing and clicking on coupons, and sharing good deals with their friends.
Online audio ads are very compatible with online coupons – they can drive traffic to and call attention to an online coupon. Ads that call attention to coupons will increase the effectiveness of the ad, and improve the return. As more and more advertisers turn to coupons as a way to attract customers and track results, they’re also looking for ways to increase the likelihood that customers will take note of their offer. That’s where Internet radio can play an important part. Adding audio to a commercial can greatly improve its noteworthiness.
To create an effective Internet radio campaign that will increase return for the advertiser and increase the dollars invested in future campaigns, be sure to include at least one (or as many as possible) of the following elements:
- a synchronized banner that appears on the media player while the audio commercial is playing
- a static banner located in an easy to find location on a website
- a simple way for a mobile listener to text and receive a coupon or discount
- the website address of the advertiser
- a code that listeners can enter online to receive the special offer or discount
An Internet radio campaign could pair an audio ad with a banner element or source code, and encourage the listener to click on the banner, print a coupon and bring it into a store to promote in store traffic; or simply click on the banner to make an online purchase. The key is to remember that the listener is already online and can be motivated to take immediate action.
After abandoning its foray into newspaper advertising sales last month, Google announced another retreat from traditional media yesterday when it posted information on its blog that it will abandon broadcast radio inventory sales in May. From the beginning of its attempts to work with radio broadcasters, Google encountered resistance. Their initial premise of turning their long list of small local Adsense online advertisers into local radio advertisers was handicapped by their limited inventory – broadcasters were wary of working with Google and did not readily sign on. The revenue they generated was modest and never exploded.
Meanwhile, the buzz about Internet radio did explode, and not long ago I speculated that Google would be eyeing the online radio game. It makes a lot of sense – there’s plenty of inventory, the audience is growing rapidly and is online. Frankly, it’s a much more suitable match for Google. The only missing piece is the revenue – it’s a relatively small pond for Google at this point, so they must believe there will be substantial growth and that they will be able to impact that. I believe it too..
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Accustream’s Paul Palumbo has been putting together comprehensive streaming audio reports for years, and his top level approach has always impressed me. His definition of the Internet radio universe is very comprehensive. He starts by defining the universe in terms of total hours listened, and then includes data on inventory sellout, and historical and projected revenues.
AccuStream iMedia Research reports that in 2008, total listening to Internet radio was up 37.6% over the previous year, to 6.67 billion hours. More than half of those hours belonged to Shoutcast, a streaming portal owned by AOL. Shoutcast is a huge aggregator, but they don’t monetize their network, leaving stations to do that individually or as part of other ad networks. It’s useful to use their data to define the universe, which this report does, because they aggregate thousands of online stations.
The top online stations or networks in this updated annual report were Clear Channel’s Online Network, AOL’s network, Pandora and Yahoo. Those four groups comprised a strong 51% of the total hours listened to online. CBSRadio now operates AOL’s network and will soon do so for Yahoo as well. To avoid duplication, this report focuses on the bandwidth source for reporting listening, so AOL and Yahoo remain separate from CBSRadio.
In-stream audio ad revenue is reported to have been $74 million in 2008, a 46% increase over 2007’s almost $51 million. Projected growth for 2009 is 25% to $93 million.
The report includes interviews with various Internet radio businesses as well. It’s the most comprehensive look at the Internet radio industry that I have seen. As the business model for Internet radio continues to develop and evolve, it’s great to have this annual report as a resource.
Ando Media announced today the release of a new technology to serve targeted audio ads to different Internet radio listeners based on unique characteristics including location, age, gender or other qualitative data. Ando Media adds this targeting capability to their already impressive list of audience and ad measurement tools specifically developed for the online streaming (primarily audio) industry. “It is truly a one to one audio experience for consumers, which also enables advertisers to hyper‐target and optimize relevance” highlights Bob Maccini, COO of Ando Media.
Targetspot, another leader in ad sales and targeting technology in the Internet radio space, has been emphasizing their targeting technology and the importance of selling targeted audio campaigns for a while.
Online consumers prefer targeted ads, according to a recent study by ChoiceStream. A survey of advertising preferences and degree of influence among 500 adult Internet users who have shopped and purchased online in the past year reveals that they like targeted ads, and the majority understand that that targeting comes from eretailers tracking their click and purchase behaviors. That’s okay with them, as long as it means that the ads they receive are relevant.
Increased targetability of audio ads should translate to more interest from advertisers, who are seeking greater return and more accountability for their ad dollars.
Spring training is about to begin in Florida and Arizona, and baseball fans can easily stream audio or video games for their favorite teams online. According to an article in the New York Times, last year half a million baseball fans paid $120 for an online video subscription, and another 350,000 people paid for a subscription which allowed them to listen to streamed games online. This year, MLB will also offer a mobile subscription allowing iPhone and Blackberry users to listen to games on those devices. That mobility, along with the increased awareness of streaming audio recently, should lift that number of subscribers significantly.
Streamed audio sports content is very popular. With an online AQH of nearly 10,000, ESPNRadio has the largest audience for a single channel on the AndoMedia Webcast Ranker. That audience is larger than the audience of some other broadcasters’ AQH of all their stations. ESPNRadio’s online platform is deep and sophisticated, offering lots of live and downloadable audio and video. According to the site SportsMediaNews, ESPN’s Digital Audio assets saw record growth in 2008, with over 100 million hours of streaming radio and podcast content consumed. Their streaming audio number grew 7% while their podcast number was up 66%.
MLB.com and ESPN have created great digital audio platforms that deliver content to their audience any way they want it. Both sites offer excellent lessons in digital audio (and video) content distribution.
According to a Marketwatch report this morning, Satellite company EchoStar, which owns Dish Network, is buying up Sirius XM debt, prompting speculation of a takeover. The report summarizes the severe negative impact that the poor economy, drastic drop in automotive sales, and competition from iPod and Internet radio as the difficulties that the newly merged Sirius XM faces. EchoStar would be looking for an additional revenue source to its existing satellite television product, and could enjoy some efficiencies by combining two satellite companies and sharing assets and operations.
A recent survey of consumers found that satellite radio was considered to be a luxury expense that was highly expendable – more than 90% of those asked said they would eliminate it along with high end handbags, housecleaning services and facials. The same survey found that 80% of those asked considered Internet service essential and would not cut it, and 60% said the same for cable television service.
As the future for satellite radio continues to look bleak, Internet radio appears to sitting safe and pretty, poised for audience and revenue growth in 2009.