Monthly Archives: March, 2014

Momentus Momentum

Last week we learned from the Radio Advertising Bureau’s 2013 Revenue Report that digital dollars continue to increase at a much faster rate than other revenue segments for radio broadcasters. Up 16% over 2012, and 18% for the last quarter of the year, the digital sector for radio is picking up steam and promising to top a billion dollars this year.

One of the obvious reasons why the digital sector is growing quickly is that the streaming audience is growing in all the right ways – more and more of the 12+ population listens weekly and monthly, the time spent listening is increasing year over year, and the younger demographics are listening in much greater numbers than older generations – signalling promise for the future of the medium (and marketability to advertisers as well). All of these trends are recently documented by the updated Triton Digital/Edison Research Infinite Dial Report.infinite dial 2014

At the same time, radio broadcasters are tuning in to the huge growth opportunity that digital audiences represent. They’re refining their online offerings, improving their ad platforms, and becoming more savvy at managing and selling their inventory. All of this is creating a more sophisticated online marketplace – impacting radio’s ability to capture more digital dollars.

One of the things we do really well at RAIN Summits is examine trends and tools, and discuss best practices that the online audio industry is employing. We create panels that highlight opportunities in the industry – hoping that our attendees will engage and learn about ways that they can maximize their opportunity. We don’t restrict our topics to broadcasters only – instead, we sit broadcasters who stream side by side with online only platforms, and place the focus entirely on online audio.

I think we have a fantastic lineup of panels and speakers on our agenda for our flagship event, RAIN Summit West, on Sunday April 6th in Las Vegas. If you haven’t made plans to join us, you should. There’s a tremendous amount of momentum in our industry right now, and we need all hands on deck to join the conversation and feed the buzz. I hope to see you there.

Are Your Listeners For Sale?

Earlier this week, RAINNews reported that an FM station in Boston – WKLB – is running spots for iTunes Radio. The spots are live reads, done by radio station personalities, and they sound like this.

When asked, the station, owned by Greater Media, issued some statement that kind of sounded like: “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” This doesn’t seem like an especially well thought out strategy for a company that owns a bunch of nicely branded radio stations with loyal listeners. Apparently, the requirements for the ad campaign from iTunes Radio included guaranteeing first in a commercial stop-set placement, and live reads (also known as endorsements) by radio station personalities.

The first time I listened to the live ad, I could barely believe my ears. I played it for  my husband (who is not in the industry), and he couldn’t believe it either. A radio station personality literally encouraging its listeners to listen to something else, going on and on about how great it is!

Years ago, I worked at WTIC AM in Hartford, one of the best AM radio stations in the country. At one point, that radio station’s morning show with Bob Steele had a 60 share of the market. When I worked there, Steele was retired, and we ONLY had about a 20 share in morning drive. We charged a lot of money for those spots, and live reads went for a huge premium, because we understood the value of them. Live endorsements by radio station personalities are very effective. So I’m guessing that iTunes is paying a lot for these spots.

Yesterday Edison Research and Triton Digital did an initial webinar release of their Infinite Dial update. iTunes Radio makes its debut in the study, having launched just last fall. And they’re off to an impressive start, with 8% of persons 12+ in the US saying they listened in the past month.

And that’s before broadcast personalities started telling their audiences how swell it is…

 

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