Hanson: Things Are Moving Fast

Kurt Hanson gave his annual State of the Industry keynote presentation during RAIN Summit West earlier this month in Las Vegas, telling the record attendance that “Things are moving faster than you think!” In his nearly 30 minute presentation, Hanson, Publisher of RAIN: The Radio and Internet Newsletter, cited research and gave excellent examples of the acceleration taking place in the Internet radio industry. Domestic listening to streaming is up, supported by Webcast Metrics monthly data as well as The Infinite Dial Study. Revenue is climbing as well, on track to exceed a billion by 2015 according to SNL Kagan‘s reports.

Internet radio, by offering more variety, personalized listening options and fewer commercials, is driving a major audience shift to online listening. Smartphone use is making streaming more mobile and ubiquitous. Pandora is the industry’s first success story, built on variety, low spot load, ubiquity and personalization.

Hanson showed the audience recent Infinite Dial data demonstrating that Internet radio’s audience is doubling every five years, and that time spent with the medium is expanding exponentially as well. 

Vast opportunity awaits but only if the industry can overcome a few obstacles and learn a few lessons.  More emphasis should be placed on selling music, and the music industry and stations should work together to make this happen. The music industry is suffering, noted Hanson, because the value proposition is out of whack. Music is too expensive.

Broadcasters need to offer more compelling content to their audiences and focus on the formula for successful streaming online (variety, low spot load, ubiquity and personalization).

Peppered with lots of contemporary cultural references, Hanson’s keynote was both entertaining and astute. Things are moving faster than you think – that’s both a cheer for the industry and a word of caution to those that might not be paying close enough attention…

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