I attended RadioInk’s Convergence conference last week and joined a panel discussion about streaming versus broadcasting, which examined the technologies, expenses, and revenue opportunities of each of those options. As you can guess, I advocated for broadcasters to pursue streaming and develop an online audience along with strategies for monetizing that separately from their broadcast platform.
One of the featured speakers on the second day was Jim Cady, CEO of Slacker. Cady began his speech by telling the audience that Slacker doesn’t speak or share information at industry gatherings very often, nor does he read industry press or blogs regularly. The message, as I took it, was that Slacker is different and doesn’t really feel that there is much for them to learn from meetings or press. I have to say, this was a curious way to warm up the crowd.
Cady went on to give us an overview of Slacker’s strategy. A key element of their success is Slacker’s backend that integrates with wireless carriers for easy billing. Slacker will be pre-installed on 52 million handsets this year alone, and when listeners want to upgrade to subscription, they can easily be billed through those carriers. No doubt, this goes a long way to selling subscriptions.
Slacker’s main objective is to get listeners to sign up for the free ad supported version. After that, they hope to upsell them to ad free or on-demand streaming options. According the Cady, Slacker has “hundreds of thousands” of paid subscribers.
Cady went on to say that Slacker has 26 million listeners. I’m sure he meant to say that they have 26 million registered users, a number that is roughly 30% of Pandora‘s 80 million. This is the first snapshot we have of the size of Slacker’s database and I have to say, 26 million is a big number of users. He wouldn’t discuss revenue, but Cady did say they work with Triton and a total of 26 ad networks in all.