Monthly Archives: March, 2012

NPR Will Use Triton’s Audience, Ad Measurement Tools

NPR Digital has teamed up with Triton Digital to offer new services to member stations. The new tools will include audience measurement and sponsor management tools that are intended to help stations grow their digital sponsorship revenue by more effectively presenting listeners with audio sponsorship messages, while at the same time providing measurement of audience and sponsorship impact.

Bob Kempf, Vice President of NPR Digital Services, (and an old friend – hi Bob!), says “these new tools will help stations to better identify and quantify the rapidly growing number of listeners that are accessing their programming through online streaming, and to translate that into metrics that are meaningful to potential sponsors.”

Triton’s Webcast Metrics will provide the audience measurement piece and Ad-Injector ad insertion will enable the corporate sponsorship tools. Combined, these tools will provide NPR stations with the ability to coordinate, measure and confirm corporate sponsorship campaigns in a similar way to ad campaigns.

This seems like a natural for NPR, rounding up their network of stations online for measurement of audience and sponsor campaigns – so much so that I’m kind of wondering what took them so long – my guess there is that it smelled a little too much like commercial station behavior and that kept them away for a while.

 

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HTC Moves Into Streaming Music With MOG

Image representing HTC as depicted in CrunchBaseIt’s all but confirmed that mobile phone company HTC will purchase on-demand streaming service MOG via their Beats Electronics high end headphone brand. Which is a very interesting play for the folks at MOG. That service, while interesting, might have been dismissed not very long ago as one that was getting sidelined by other on-demand services like Spotify and even long timer Rhapsody, which recently reinvigorated itself with the purchase of the legal remainder of Napster.

Following in the footsteps of the mobile phone/streaming service pairing between Muve and Cricket, this deal looks like a good one for MOG, which was founded by David Hyman in 2005 and had raised $33 million. MOG reportedly has about half a million users.

HTC, the fifth largest smartphone maker in the world, took a controlling stake in Beats last year. That company is tied in tightly with Universal Music, the largest of the big record labels, which adds yet another interesting twist to this deal.

So MOG, or whatever it becomes, will become an on-demand music source built into a large number of smartphones. Sure – those folks can still subscribe to Spotify or Rhapsody, but if HTC comes with a free service that offers the same thing why would they?

Billboard’s Charting On-Demand Songs

 

The logo for the Billboard magazine.

Billboard, Nielsen and the National Association of Recording Merchandisers have begun incorporating data from on-demand services into their weekly reporting of the most listened to songs. In a move that acknowledges the significant numbers of songs that are now heard on streaming services, on-demand streaming data is now factored into the chart’s ranking, enhancing a formula that includes digital download track sales and physical singles sales, as tracked by Nielsen SoundScan; as well as radio airplay and other streaming services, as tracked by Nielsen BDS.

According to Nielsen, on-demand streaming activity recently reached an all time high of 494 million since the beginning of 2011. The new report will include every on-demand play request and plays from unlimited listener-controlled radio channels on MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker and Spotify; data from Zune and Sony Music Unlimited is expected to be added in the coming weeks. Pandora, which is not an on-demand service, is not part of this reporting.

It’s appropriate to view this as a significant development for streaming services – one that was a long time in coming. Nonetheless, the Billboard charts are widely recognized as an authoritative source of success in the industry.

The first-ever No. 1 atop On-Demand Songs belongs to fun. and its anthemic hit “We Are Young,” featuring Janelle Monae, with a total of 1.1 million streams, according to Nielsen BDS. You can check out the on-demand chart here.

Tablet Usage Spurs Content Purchases

Tablet users are quite willing to pay for their content, according to a new study by Nielsen released this week. In fact, most tablet users have already paid for content – 62% for music, 58% for books, and 51% for movies, in the US. Those numbers are much higher than Euro tablet usage percentages – far fewer Europeans are willing to pay for their content.

More than 33 million folks here in the US already own a tablet and that number will balloon to more than 90 million by 2012. eMarketer estimates that currently, 31.5% of tablet users are ages 18 to 34, while 55.5% are 35 or older. By 2014, 18- to 34-year-olds will acount for 34.8% of tablet users, while those ages 35 and up will comprise 49.3% of the total. Tablet users skew male at present, but data suggests that this will even out in the next couple of years as well.

Tablet usage is being driven mainly by the iPad, which has about 28 million users now and will more than double to 60 million plus by 2014.

Report: Listening to Internet Radio Shot Up 50% Last Year

Listening to Internet radio was up 50% last year, according to AccuStream Research’s updated report. Nearly 80% of that listening is to Shoutcast and Pandora. More than 40% of all listening last year was to mobile.

Streaming audio ad and subscription revenues were up 64% to $465 million, with the ad spend surpassing subscription revenues for the first time, according to the report.

 

For years, Paul Palumbo at Accustream Research has provided a comprehensive look at the Internet radio marketplace, focusing on total listener hours, ad units, subscriber numbers, and revenue as reported by the services themselves and by content delivery networks. I like the report because it gives a high level overview from a completely different angle, more closely resembling a Miller Kaplan type market report. And while some of the findings diverge from other available data, it’s remarkable how similar the snapshot is in the end.

AccuStream Research’s Internet Radio Listening and Monetization Analysis includes a lot more detail, with specific data on all the major services and interviews with industry business leaders on both the content and support side. For more info on that report, click here.

 

Radio’s Growing Online Revenues at a Double Digit Pace

Local radio stations grew online revenue at a 15% pace in 2011. Total industry online revenues were $439 million, according to a new report by BIA Kelsey. 

According to BIA Kelsey, radio’s ability to create and sell local content, combined with the ability to cross promote on and off air, has “has given broadcast stations the opportunity to expand their position in their local markets from solely an over-the-air media source to a local media company that can provide access to local audiences in different, effective ways for their advertiser clients.”

In fact, local content assets, sold by a trained local sales team, are the combined forces that will enable local radio stations to grow online revenue to $767 million by 2016. BIA Kelsey predicts a steady 11.8% growth rate 2012 – 2016.

 

TuneIn’s Streaming Lots of SXSW Tunes

Nada Surf

In case you’ve been reading the barage of stories about SXSW this week and wishing you were there, Tunein has the next best thing. Using their app on your mobile device you can search for “SXSW” and end up with a listing of all kinds of (primarily non-commercial) stations that are streaming the concerts.

TuneIn has partnered with top radio stations in the U.S. to deliver every broadcast from the festival in Austin this month to the world, including performances from artists such as Keane, Ingrid Michaelson, Nada Surf and James Mercer of The Shins. TuneIn is the only way, other than by attending the festival itself, that listeners can access these performances from one place.

KGSR, KEXP and WFUV are the primary sources of these concerts, and Tunein is the only place where you can get all the offerings listed in one place. TuneIn has more than 50,000 AM, FM, HD and Internet radio stations and more than one million on-demand programs streaming from all over the world. In addition to via their mobile app, you can access this offering online at www.tunein.com by searching “SXSW” and on the more than 150 platforms that carry the TuneIn service.

This is a nice offering from Tunein and some of their public radio/college radio partners. No doubt, these stations are benefitting from the additional traffic from listeners all over the place that are discovering their programming through TuneIn, which has one of the most popular music apps on ITunes. And this is precisely the reason that stations would not want to restrict access to their streams to just one portal…

 

Ratings Firm Sees Digital As Critical Part of Radio’s Future

English: Radio Tower Graphic

Fitch Ratings, a global ratings agency that offers credit opinions, research and data, recently issued a report with guidance on the future of broadcast radio as an investment category. Highlighted in its report,  ‘Broadcast Radio Industry Assessment: Near-Term Declines, Digital Potential’ issued today, Fitch Ratings expects radio advertising revenue (excluding digital) to decline 1%-2% annually.

Fitch says that digital initiatives by broadcast companies could provide relief from this generally static and lackluster outlet, offering the potential for broadcasters to capture significant shares of digital listening. Fitch expects the Internet radio audience to continue to grow audience, particularly via mobile. The ability to monetize that audience will on the services ability to monetize by both subscription and ad revenue options.

Broadcasters are well positioned to fund digital initiatives, according to the report, by virtue of their high margin traditional businesses. This should enable them to develop digital initiatives without the pressure of needing immediate return. The report notes that risks and opportunities include performance royalties, station formats, HD radio, satellite radio, in-car listening, and market valuations in flux.

It’s interesting that a large global company like Fitch Ratings is offering guidance that makes note of broadcasters’ digital initiatives and sees the ability for broadcasters to grow their audience via such as an opportunity to offset declines in their broadcast audience.

You Won’t Want To Miss RAIN Summit West

The stage is set for RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas on Sunday April 15th to be one of the best RAIN Summits ever. This year’s event will take place at LVH – Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, formerly the Las Vegas Hilton, which is adjacent to and attached to the LV Convention Center. RAIN Summit Las Vegas is an education partner of the NAB Show.

The program is a good one – designed to examine and discuss many aspects of the Internet radio and digital audio marketplace from a business perspective. Panel discussions will focus on programming, revenue and planning strategies in a format that allows competitive businesses to sit together on stage to discuss, agree and disagree while sharing ideas with the audience.

The day will feature a keynote speech by Traug Keller, SVP at ESPN Audio, one of the most successful digital audio platforms. Under Keller’s leadership, ESPNRadio.com became the most listened to live stream of any terrestrial broadcaster in the world, reaching more than three million unique users per month. His insights are sure to be informative. There’s a long list of other interesting panelists, and at the risk of leaving someone off the list, here are a few names: David Carson, US Copyright Office; Jim Cady, Slacker; Jon Mitchell, Spotify; Jim Lucchese, The Echo Nest; Tim Murphy, Entercom; Steve Jones, ABC News; Steven Kritzman, Pandora; Sandhi Kozsuch, Cox; Michael Robertson, mp3Tunes; Larry Rosin, Edison Research. And lots of other smart folks.

Did you read that list? Hopefully you noticed the best thing about it – that RAIN Summits is a discussion that includes every side of the Internet radio conversation. From streaming broadcasters to online only platforms, straight up simulcasts to on-demand and personalized services, it’s all part of the discussion at this event. Lots of smart talk, dynamic agreement and disagreement. That’s how an industry evolves.

A new feature this year at RAIN Summits will be POVs – short talks by industry leaders on the same topic. This year the topic is “Redefining Radio” and we’re looking forward to hearing what Triton CEO Neal Schore and Liquid Compass CEO Zackary Lewis, among others, have to say on the topic. We’re still looking for a third POV speaker, so if you have an idea of who you would like to hear from, let me know.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already made plans to attend, now’s the time. The complete agenda and growing speaker list for RAIN Summit West is available here, and right now you can register for $99 including lunch and cocktails, and all registrants can save $100 on an NAB registration and get a free exhibit floor pass as well.

RAIN Summits are the best educational and networking events for our industry – providing a full day of programming and plenty of opportunities to meet people. I hope I’ll see you there!

Pandora’s Revenue, Audience Grew 100% Last Year

Pandora reported 4th quarter 2011 and fiscal year results during a call tuesday afternoon, during which they highlighted huge gains in revenue and audience last year. Fiscal 2012 revenue of $274.3 million grew 99% year-over-year and total listener hours of 8.2 billion grew 109% year-over-year. Total revenue was $274.3 million, a 99% year-over-year increase. Total advertising revenue was $240.0 million, a 101% year-over-year increase. Total subscription and other revenue was $34.3 million, an 87% year-over-year increase.

Pandora now has 47 million active users and 125 million registered users in their database.

These are impressive numbers by any account, Pandora’s ability to grow audience seems endless. Advertising revenue is growing only slightly more slowly than audience. But despite all of that, profitability is eluding them, fortifying some who argue that Internet radio’s basic model, which has a high per play performance royalty, will be impossible to monetize. “Pandora put up impressive numbers but the royalty treadmill will always match their speed making them unable to ever get to profitability.” said digital music entrepreneur Michael Robertson.

At one point during the Q&A, Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy talked about Pandora’s need for audience measurement that is more like radio station measurement that is integrated into ad planning and buying software by Donovan and Strata. He said Pandora is working with Triton to accomplish that. In answer to another question about Pandora’s mobile listening, Kennedy said that they still see about 70% of their audience on mobile, but that number is edging up and they expect that trend to continue. Pandora’s ability to monetize their mobile ad units will continue to be a measure of their success.

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