Monthly Archives: October, 2012

New Service Puts Talk On-Demand

Michael Robertson is a serial entrepreneur who has spent a lot of time thinking about on-demand streaming business models. An outspoken guy who is a perennial favorite at RAIN Summits, he’s often out in front with new ideas. Ubertalk, his latest online platform, is no exception.

UberTalk combines programming from thousands of radio stations into a fast, standardized, easy to use guide. Shows are crowd ranked so that the most popular shows are displayed at the top. Listeners quickly sort by category to dig deep into a particular content area they like (sports, politics, etc).

“Radio needs to be reinvigorated and making it easy to find shows and play them would be a tremendous boost to radio programming online.” says Robertson. “My goal is to bring the programmed radio business into the internet era and UberTalk is a big step in the right direction.”

Ubertalk lets the listener access shows as they are being played, or record them for time-shifted listening at other times. Robertson says mobile apps are coming soon.

This is a deep guide to talk radio programming, paired with a nifty time shifting tool that enables listeners to listen to that programming when and where they want it. It has the potential to bring talk radio into an on-demand space which could greatly increase its audience. May they thrive..



Digital Audio Listeners Respond to Ads

Listeners are not just embracing Internet radio, they are also enjoying its advertising component, according to a new white paper released by Targetspot today. 42% of the population is listening to Internet Radio, which is up 8% from 2011. What’s more, these listeners are engaged in ways that benefit advertisers —  67% often check the player to see the name of a song or artist, 57% of Digital Audio listeners actually buy products online and 56% research products for future purchase.

Digital audio listeners are “highly accepting” of targeted advertising – 65% are comfortable receiving ads based on their profiles, and 70% are comfortable receiving messages that target them based on their usage and content selections. And they respond to those ads: 58% of Internet Radio listeners recall having seen or heard an Internet Radio ad in the last 30 days; up 12% from last year. Of those who recalled an Internet Radio ad, 44% responded to it in some way, up 10% from last year.

Based on this study, digital audio platforms present an excellent value proposition to advertisers: engaged listeners who like targeted ads and respond to them. Kudos to Targetspot for sponsoring this study, and then sharing it with the industry…


Rdio Takes a New Approach to Growing Audience

Image representing Rdio as depicted in CrunchBase

In an interesting approach to growing their audience, Rdio has launched a new “Artist Program” which rewards recording artists for bringing new listeners to the service. From their blog: “We’re committed to supporting the artist community and the music industry as a whole. That’s why today we’re launching the Rdio Artist Program — the first program of its kind, offering an innovative new model for artists to directly earn money from streaming music.”

The Rdio Artist Program encourages artists to create their own pages by uploading photos and connecting Twitter accounts. They can then share their music (if they upload their own content, they also agree to grant Rdio a royalty free use of that content.) Artists get ten bucks for each listener that signs up for a paid subscription (and maintains it for a certain period of time). Subscriptions cost ten bucks a month if you want access on your mobile device.

Kudos to Rdio for taking a new approach to gaining listeners that tries to engage them through the artists that they are passionate about. They report thatScissor SistersSnoop Lion (aka Snoop Dogg), ChromeoA-Trak and Brendan Benson — already fans of Rdio — are among the first artists to join the program.

For that matter, why limit this kind of thing to recording artists? Why not let anyone who is passionate about music create their own page, tweet about it, and make ten bucks when their friends sign up?

Getting Hip to Hispanics

Internet radio stations that neglect to offer programming for hispanics are missing out, since of the leading demographics in terms of mobile usage, smartphone penetration and web radio listening. One in four Hispanics reported listening to Internet radio in the last 7 days, compared to about 18% for the general population (in a US based study by The Media Audit).

One streaming service that has been catering to that market for a long time is Batanga, which launched in 1999. I spoke with the guys who started it a few times about joining the Net Radio Sales network, but they always assured me that they were doing just fine on their own. In 2005 they merged with a company called Planeta out of Miami Florida. They recently announced upgrades to their platform that enhance interactivity – allowing users to build digital radio stations by adding the songs and artists they love, offering similar sounding songs, and excluding the music that they don’t want to hear. Other new features include lyrics and more songs.

Meanwhile Pandora has been paying close attention to the Hispanic portion of their audience, which accounts for 20% of their overall audience, according to AdWeek. Reporting on a discussion hosted during Advertising week recently, AdWeek quotes Pandora sales vp Priscilla Valls, who said that 80% of Pandora’s Hispanic users are on mobile devices. Pandora plays 7,000 latino artists in its offerings. While Pandora does not ask for race or ethnic background in its listener profile, but does conduct a yearly survey among listeners for supplemental information for advertisers. This info enables them to target Hispanics on behalf of advertisers.

“We have a variety of marketers who advertise to that audience in Spanish, Spanglish and in English,” Priscilla Valls, a vp of ad sales for Pandora…. “What we are finding is that brands are using their general budgets to also reach a Hispanic audience.”

With 20% of their audience speaking Spanish, Pandora is hip to hispanics…





Pandora Leads In Mobile Ad Share

Ad supported models will be the key driver for mobile music, according to research released recently by eMarketer. In fact, by 2016, ad supported revenues will make up 86% of that marketplace. In fact, that figure is already at 69%, with the remaining revenue share coming from subscriptions or download fees.

In fact, Pandora leads the way in mobile display ad revenue share, eMarketer predicts that their share of the mobile display marketplace will be 20.5% in 2012, besting the likes of Google, Twitter and Facebook

Mobile ad revenues remain a small portion of the advertising pie with a 1% share overall, but eMarketer predicts that marketplace will grow 102% over the next year. As companies like Twitter and Facebook shift their attention to better monetization of mobile impressions that number will continue to grow.

Pandora’s role as the lead driver in development of the mobile display ad and mobile music marketplace is good news for the industry overall. As they say, “all boats rise” and as Pandora raises awareness and brings ad investment into the mobile music space they will be creating opportunities for other streaming mobile music services to share in that revenue…


A Good Day For Internet Radio

Last week’s debut of RAIN Summit Europe in Berlin was . The event, which was held at the nhow Hotel Berlin, featured a really strong list of speakers, including keynote presenter Jonathan Forster of Spotify. Forster started his talk by saying that Spotify isn’t radio, and I think he was half afraid he might get pelted with rotten tomatoes for saying so. Not so — despite the fact that Spotify isn’t “radio” in the sense that it offers songs and artists on-demand to listeners, it is streaming audio. There’s a joint mission for all forms of streaming audio to attract advertisers, and Spotify is working hard on that and making some really nice progress. Forster spent a lot of time illustrating ad campaigns that they have created for advertisers, and it was very inspiring stuff. 

The quality of the discussions at RAIN Summit Berlin were excellent and featured lots of experts outside of the Internet radio industry who contributed their expertise. There was a great agency roundtable discussion featuring advertising executives from Starcom MediaVest (UK), Pilot (Germany) and Havas (France). A discussion on Connected Dashboards featured an expert from BMW. The founder of Mixcloud joined a panel discussion on personalized streaming.

Whether you are streaming in Europe or not, there was a lot to learn about the marketplace among the folks at RAIN Summit Europe. We had a strong showing from US companies who are either already there or thinking about expanding to Europe with their services. We had far less interest from US based content providers, who declined our invitations to speak, and decided not to come. Which is fine, although I would say they missed out on an opportunity for some fantastic inspiration.

The hotel was beautiful, a hip and trendy setting along the River Spree in Berlin. The room was crowded – we exceeded our expectations, registering over 150 people for the event. And everyone that I spoke with said they learned a lot and were happy to be there. All in all, a good day for Internet radio (and streaming audio)…

RAIN Summit Europe is This Friday


I’m heading to Europe this week for the very first RAIN Summit there – in Berlin on Friday October 5th. It is looking like it will be a great event – the room is close to sold out at this point, and the agenda and speaker list are impressive. I expect to learn a lot. 

AdSwizz, Triton Digital and Liquid Compass are the presenting sponsors of this event, and they were instrumental in convincing my colleague and partner Kurt Hanson and I to bring RAIN Summits to Europe. We’ve been planning this day for almost a year.

The event will take place at the very trendy nhow Hotel on the River Spree in Berlin, a city that is full of folks who know a lot about new media in general, and Internet radio as well. I’m looking forward to panel discussions that will focus on technology and programming, business and monetization. A panel discussion on the Connected Dashboard will feature execs from BMW and Open Synergy. We’ll hear experts talk about measurement topics, both from the content side, and then from the agency perspective. Our Agency Roundtable features executives from agencies across Europe.

There will be two keynote presentations – Kurt Hanson, Publisher of RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter, and Jonathan Forster, General Manager of Spotify Europe.

No doubt we’ll discover many similarities as well as differences between the US and European streaming marketplace. In fact, that’s the point of RAIN Summit Europe: provide a format for discussion and debate among industry experts, in a group small enough so that everyone can network and communicate. I hope to see you there, and can’t wait to tell you all about it…


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