Monthly Archives: May, 2010

Interactive Radio Grabs Attention

Apparently, Amsterdam is the new hotbed for advertising ideas. This one caught my attention.

Hotel Arena is a hotel in Amsterdam. Recently they launched a really innovative ad campaign that uses a technology called Dual-tone multi frequency signaling (DTMF) to create a radio ad that offers to dial the phone for you. Really – watch this video to see how effective it can be.

The hotel’s advertising agency, called THEY, created the campaign. They also created the video to advertise themselves. THEY have received enormous buzz from the whole thing, and the hotel has received bookings as a result of the ad as well as the buzz.

Now, if we could just create an ad that people can click on while they’re listening to an Internet radio ad to make a reservation online. Oh, wait a minute, we already have that! See how effective an interactive element paired with an audio ad can be?

How Many Broadcasters Are Streaming?

Arbitron publishes an annual report Radio Today that provides an interesting snapshot of radio listening in the US. For the first time, the 2009 report includes streaming stations in its list of National Format Shares and Station Counts.

48% of all FM stations are streaming their programming while only 10% of those stations are rebroadcasting it on HD. 32% of AM stations are streaming, less than 4% are distributing it on HD. Of the stations that are also producing additional HD multicast channels (537 in all), 46% are also streaming that programming on side channels.

Classical stations are most likely to stream their programming – 82% of classical stations are streaming. After that, Contemporary Christian, CHR, Alternative and AAA formats are most likely to be streamed. Interestingly, only 52% of news/talk stations and 48% of talk/personality stations are streaming. Those stations don’t have to pay per performance music royalties, which keeps some broadcasters from streaming, so it’s surprising that they’re not distributing their content online.

You can download the study here.

Google to Simplify Mobile Streaming

Google has purchased Simplify Media, a software company that lets you easily share your music across the web, from desktop to mobile devices. The Simplify website is there, but largely inactive – you can no longer download the software, but it does explain that Simplify allows you to access music and photos from your devices (netbook, phone, desktop) without having to sync or download them, which is bound to involve a cloud server solution.

Reportedly, Google’s new mobile streaming music solution will enable multiple user platforms including iTunes, Windows Media Player and WinAmp. It appears that this will – at least initially – be a platform for Android, Google’s smartphone. Last week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that 100,000 Android phones are getting activated daily, up from 60,000 in April.

This is an announcement that flies in the face of Apple’s recent purchase of Lala, another cloud based solution. Lala is also currently inactive but Apple will likely use the service to integrate a cloud based feature into iTunes to enable listeners to listen to their song library from whatever device they want access on at that moment.

Interesting stuff, this announcement. Google is selling streaming audio ads, often as an option in an overall integrated approach to advertising that can include audio, video, and display/search through Google AdSense. This is a platform that can extend the reach of the audio portion of that game and make it a more interesting play for advertisers. Which could bring more dollars into the streaming audio ad revenue ballpark…

Digital Dollars For Radio Up Again

Radio revenue posted a 6% gain over a year ago, the largest year over year gain posted since third quarter of 2000, nearly a decade ago. The gain was made by national spot and digital revenue categories. Digital revenue as defined by the RAB, who released the report, includes all revenue derived from radio websites, and includes streaming. The report includes only AM/FM broadcasters and does not reflect revenue for the overall Internet radio category.

While the growth for national spot revenue was a huge comeback for radio from the 10% decline of last year, the digital category shows enormous positive momentum, growing at an even more rapid pace than it grew last year.

Last year, the digital revenue category was the only revenue category that showed growth for radio, with an annual rate of +13% over 2008. In the year end report for 2009, RAB President and CEO Jeff Haley remarked “Radio’s digital platforms are experiencing the greatest growth and are reflective of the dollar shift from media to marketing by many of today’s advertisers,”

Internet advertising revenues in the U.S. hit $5.9 billion for the first quarter of 2010, representing a 7.5 percent increase over the same period in 2009. While digital dollars for Radio are growing faster than the entire digital spend, Radio’s 480 Million in digital dollars remains a small segment of that pie.

A Look At Digital Song Sales Trends

Tunecore, a company that enables artists to sell their music on digital platforms without a label, has released some interesting data on digital music behavior. Tunecore is a digital music distribution service that set out to democratize music distribution by making it simple and affordable for any artist to offer songs for sale. For a fee, an independent artist can place their song in selected online stores and streaming services and receive compensation based on the number of sales it generates.

Artists register with TuneCore, select the online platforms they would like to have their music placed on, upload their songs, pay, and get paid for every song sold or streamed with those services. Last year the service placed 61,000,000 songs and artists received $32,000,000 in compensation. TuneCore takes no percentage of the revenue artists earn. They work placing music with iTunes, Rhapsody, MySpace Music, Amazon, eMusic and others.

Artists can earn money from two different types of sales – permanent downloads, where customers purchase the song and download a file; and streams – where a listener pays a subscription fee to listen to songs – in that case, the listener is actually “leasing” the song, as TuneCore’s faq’s explain.

In 2009, 40% of TuneCore’s sales were from single track downloads and 57% were from streaming (which is per song). The other 2.3% of revenues were full album downloads. For song downloads, Rock is the most popular genre, followed by Alternative and Hip Hop. For streaming sales, Hip Hop wins followed by Alternative and Rock. Sunday is the best day for sales and Christmas day and the day after were the biggest days for song sales in the last six months. There’s even more data available, here.

Internet Radio Has Everyone Talking

One of radio’s oldest formats has found a new home on Internet radio. Talk radio, long the stalwart of the AM broadcast band, is alive and thriving online.

Sure, the big name hosts like Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Schlessinger and Savage are all streaming their broadcast shows online. More interesting is the long list of talkers who are using Internet radio as their primary distribution channel. That list is growing, and so is the audience.

The number of conservative talk shows online is really growing, according to a recent article in the LA Times. BlogTalkRadio, a streaming platform that enables anyone with the desire to easily start their own show, has seen a 25% increase in the number of conservative talk shows this year, while progressive talk shows are up about 14%. All of that has resulted in bigger numbers of people listening as well.

Take the case of Marie Stroughter, founder of African-American Conservatives. The site is home to her radio show, which features “topical political commentary from a right-leaning, cultural perspective.” She’s interviewed the likes of Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich and Steve Forbes, among others. She uses the BlogTalkRadio platform for her webcasts, and her show has become one of the more popular in that network.

Talkers Magazine, the self-proclaimed Bible of Talk Radio, agrees. This year they published their second annual list of the Frontier Fifty most outstanding webcasters, a list that features names both known and unknown. “This new platform is well on its way to becoming the establishment at an exponentially increasing rate of acceleration.” says Talkers Magazine founder Michael Harrison. “Keeping that in mind, we should savor this creative, opportunity-rich period of its infancy while we still have it –– a colorful chapter of new media history that this list endeavors to celebrate.”

By enabling such a wide array of voices and points of view, Internet radio is on its way to re-inventing one of radio’s oldest formats. It’s a good thing, and one that broadcasters can easily take a lesson from. Got an interesting local character in your community? Give them a voice for an hour a week or even a day and offer the stream on your website. Now that’s a thought worth talking about..

Radio Listening in UK Reaches All Time High

In the UK radio listening is booming. Radio listening in the UK has reached an all time high of 46.5 million adults, or 90.6% of the UK population (15+), according to new data released by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research).

Included in the rise is broadcast listening as well as listening to all digital platforms including digital radio (DAB), Internet radio and radio over digital television. The share of radio listening via a digital platform has increased by 19% year on year to 24%. 12.6% of adults aged 15+ listened to radio via their mobile phone. In the UK they count all of it as listening to radio, and they measure it and announce audience gains as an industry.

That’s pretty different from the approach the radio industry has taken of late here in the US, where radio is broadcast radio and satellite and Internet radio are shunned as separate media. Instead, here in the US we have professionals in the industry writing articles about why Internet radio and Pandora in particular are destined to lose audience and fail. It’s time for the industry to wake up to the fact that CBSRADIO and Pandora are both radio companies. Seen through that lens, who can disagree that radio’s audience is growing?

BIA/Kelsey Event Will Focus On Growing Digital Dollars

Audiences may be shifting to new listening channels such as online for their radio, but that doesn’t change the fact that radio is a local medium. In fact, as listeners change their listening patterns and spend more time online, stations have more opportunities to provide them with local content, using their website as a tool to offer streaming audio and video, as well as other important website features.

“Consumers continue to access local media, online and offline, for buying decisions and other local information.” says Rick Ducey, chief strategy officer and program director, Digital Strategies for Broadcasting, BIA/Kelsey. “At Digital Strategies for Broadcasting, we’ll examine how broadcast media are successfully evolving and developing multiplatform revenue strategies and partnerships across traditional media boundaries.”

BIA/Kelsey has projected that digital revenues will grow to 30% of radio’s number by 2015 and hit $46.5 billion. Next week’s conference will feature more than 40 digital media experts and executives who will weigh in on the topic.

The continuing shift toward digital media serves as the backdrop for BIA/Kelsey’s upcoming Digital Strategies for Broadcasting 2010 conference, which takes place May 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency on the Hudson, Jersey City, New Jersey, across the river from Manhattan. This event brings together senior broadcast executives and top digital media experts to examine new platforms and revenue opportunities in local television and radio.

You can get more info on the conference at their site. Hope to see you there!

Is Your Mobile Streaming Strategy In Gear?

The Internet radio world is buzzing with news about mobile apps, based on the number of press releases I’ve gotten in the past week. It’s for good reason – the recent Arbitron/Edison Infinite Dial Study showed that online radio listeners have a strong interest in listening over mobile and in-car devices. Mobile apps enable stations to easily connect with listeners on those devices.

Salem Communications, working with mobile streaming platform Airkast, launched 57 radio station mobile applications designed for listeners with either iPhone or BlackBerry devices.

The free Salem mobile applications let listeners hear live broadcasts on the go as well as view song lyrics, see artist and album information, read reviews, watch videos, listen to station podcasts, hear samples of recently played songs and even buy music through iTunes. Salem has an extensive online platform that includes streams of most or all of its 71 faith and family programmed stations, as well as Salem Web Network, a network that’s deep in similarly programmed web properties.

At nearly the same time, JacAPPS announces that it will produce apps for iPhones and iPod Touch devices for 78 of Entercom’s 110 radio stations. A project that began with WEEI has now developed into a company wide project for the mobile app division of Jacobs Media.

Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs says “We have  built apps for some great broadcasters around the world, and we … applaud Entercom for recognizing the value of the mobile space and the importance of creating great digital strategies in this rapidly changing environment.”

Meanwhile, two of the more entrepreneurial companies in Internet radio have teamed up to launch a new mobile app designed to make listening to Internet radio in cars easier. The Livio Car Internet Radio iPhone app leverages RadioTime’s tuner service to give drivers easy access to more than 20,000 stations. Livio also has wifi enabled Internet radio tabletop devices. RadioTime is one of the primary portals for Internet radio and provides tuning services to many Internet radio devices.

Are Some Media Buyers Ignoring New Media’s Impact?

Flickr photo credit: sokab

Internet and satellite radio have limited appeal and do not pose a threat to traditional radio. That’s what the majority of reader respondents of Media Life Magazine said recently. More than 4 out of five thought the threat was limited or non-existent, maintaining that most people that are interested in that have already switched over.

I’m thinking this finding indicates that Media Life readers who took the survey are vastly uninformed and/or invested in the status quo.

No offense to the 11% surveyed that actually thought that Internet radio, satellite and HD are forcing terrestrial radio to be more innovative. While they are a minority, they do seem to understand the dynamics at play in the radio industry today.

The fact is, more and more of traditional radio’s audience is shifting to new listening platforms where they are finding more listening options. Seventeen million people listen weekly to radio online weekly, and 6% of listening to terrestrial stations is now occurring online.

Indeed, Internet radio is driving terrestrial stations to be more creative. Leading broadcast companies like Clear Channel and CBSRADIO have lead the charge by creating vast and innovative online platforms chock full of new audio content.

The growing ubiquity of wifi is further driving online listening, not just on smartphones but also on new tabletop and in-car devices. The radio game is changing. It’s scary to think that media buyers might be the last to know…

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