Category Archives: RAIN Summits

European Streaming Service Enters US Market

Radionomy, a French-Belgian service that enables users to set up their own online radio station and share it with others, is opening an office in San Francisco. The service, which has 6,000 user programmed stations, is similar to Live365 in its business model, taking care of the actual broadcasting and promotion of the stations, rights management, scheduling and audience monitoring and reporting.

They also have an advertising option that sells advertising across their network of stations, helping users of the service to monetize their content.

Radionomy has more than 42 million listener hours per month across its group of user generated stations. The new US office will be their fifth – they currently have offices in Germany, Spain, France and Belgium as well.

Radionomy CEO Alex Saboundjian will join a panel discussion on monetization strategies for Internet radio at RAIN Summit Europe on October 5th in Berlin. Also joining the panel will be Caroline Graze, NRJ International (Germany); David Deslandes, Deezer (France); Frank Nolte, RMS.de (Germany); and Zachary Lewis, Liquid Compass (US).

RAIN Summit Europe promises to be an exciting day of discussions focused on Internet radio in Europe. Check out the impressive speaker list here, and make plans now to join us!

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Be Part Of The First RAIN Summit Europe

BThis fall, on October 5th, a very smart group of people are getting together in Berlin, Germany to spend a day networking and discussing Internet radio. RAIN Summits, the very popular conferences for the Internet radio industry in the US and Canada, will debut RAIN Summit Europe this fall. If you are involved in Internet radio in Europe, or globally, this is an event you will want to attend.

RAIN Summit West 2011

The keynote speaker at the event is Jonathan Forster, General Manager of Spotify Europe. The most successful streaming service on the continent. Spotify launched in 2008 and has millions of users. About 25% of those users pay for a premium version of their service. Spotify originally launched in Sweden, and in that country their market share is unbelievable – one in every 3 people (37%) listen once a month! The service reaches 85% of 16 to 25 year olds and 55% of them listen daily!

In addition to hearing Forster, attendees to RAIN Summit Europe will meet and hear a long list of prestigious and smart speakers from across Europe discuss the business of Internet radio, from content to revenue. Agency executives from across Europe will debate online audio’s value proposition, sales experts will discuss monetization, and programming peeps will examine content trends. There will be dynamic discussions of online audio targeting and audience measurement. All taking place in a format that promises to enable lots of networking and idea sharing, similar to what takes place at RAIN Summit events here in the US.

I don’t have to tell you about the buzz that already surrounds Internet radio, if you’re reading Audio4cast you already get it. So contribute to the future of Internet radio by joining the conversation. If you are part of the online audio marketplace in Europe, don’t miss this chance to be part of the very first RAIN Summit Europe in Berlin on October 5th.

You can get more information about the event here. And save €20 when you register by entering the special code Audio4cast20 . See you there!

Clear Channel Exec To Keynote RAIN Summit Dallas

Tim Castelli, President of National Sales, Marketing & Partnerships for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s RAIN Summit Dallas, Tuesday, September 18th at the Anatole Hilton in Dallas. Castelli joined Clear Channel in March from AOL as their digital chief.  His resume also includes Tech Industry Director for Google and Publisher of Rolling Stone Magazine.

Clear Channel’s role as a leader in the development of radio’s digital future is significant and Castelli’s keynote should be an insightful perspective from one of the company’s key players.

RAIN Summit Dallas will be held on the day immediately preceding The Radio Show produced by RAB and NAB.  A “partner event” of The Radio Show, RAIN Summit Dallas is the premiere educational and networking event for Internet radio, focusing on the intersection of radio and the Internet.  RAIN Summits are geared to both broadcasters on the Web (like Clear Channel Radio and CBS Radio), and Internet-only webcasters (like Pandora, Slacker,  and AccuRadio).

As another highlight of the event, “RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter” Publisher Kurt Hanson will present his “State of the Industry” address on the future of radio in this age of new media.  Hosted by Hanson, the Summit will feature a variety of other speakers and panelists, offering insights on the business, programming and technology aspects of online radio, including topics such as “Monetizing Mobile” and “Social Radio.”

RAIN Summits are a great way to learn and network in the Internet radio space. The speaker list for September is growing and already includes execs from NPR, CBS Local, Myxer, Cox Media Group, TuneIn and many others. For more info, click here. Hope to see you there!

By way of disclosure, I am the President of RAIN Summits.

RAIN Summit Europe Will Feature Keynote By Spotify Exec

Spotify’s General  Manager for Europe, Jonathan Forster, will be a keynote speaker at RAIN Summit Europe – the first-ever pan-European conference specifically focused on the fast-growing field of Internet radio – to be held in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, October 5th.

As you may have read here before, RAIN Summits are the premiere educational and networking events specifically focused on the Internet radio industry. I’m very involved in RAIN Summits, in fact, I’m the President. So naturally I think they are just great. We’re especially excited about this one because it will be our European debut.

RAIN Summit Europe will take place at the award-winning nhow Hotel (“Berlin’s Music and Lifestyle Hotel”).  The conference will be a day-long event, including panels, keynote speakers, and various networking opportunities.

Spotify’s Forster is responsible for the overall development of Spotify’s European business, leading the strategy and development of advertising sales at Spotify and managing Spotify’s workforce across the region including the UK, France, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands and Denmark.  Spotify is the most listened to streaming service in Europe, with more than 20 million registered users worldwide.

“Internet radio is an extremely fast-growing field,” said Kurt Hanson, Publisher of RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter, and CEO of RAIN Summits.  “In some countries, Internet radio listening now comprises up to 10% of all radio listening, and it is growing at the rate of 50-100% per year.”

RAIN Summit Europe will feature a pan-European list of speakers who are experts on various aspects of the field of streaming radio.   Other featured speakers include:

  • Stephan Moller, President, Association de European Radios
  • Ali Abhary, CEO of Spectrum Medya
  • Elisa Escobedo, CEO AudioEmotion
  • Patrick Roger, VP Global Sales, Adswizz
  • Franck Si-Hassan, Directeur Délégué Mediametrie
  • Clive Dickens, CEO, Absolute Radio
  • David Deslandes, Sales Director, Deezer
  • Mike Agovino, COO Triton Digital
  • Caroline Grazé, Head of Internet and New Business, NRJ International
  • Frank Nolte, Deputy Director of Sales, RMS

For more information on the agenda and speakers, visit the RAIN Summit Europe website. Hope to see you there!

Listener Registration Is a Critical Streaming Strategy

At RAIN Summit West last week we introduced a new segment called POV, a familiar acronym for Point of View. In business circles, POVs are a type of presentation used to briefly define a position – often on a new or widely debated topic. We thought it would be interesting to invite leaders in the industry to weigh in on a broad topic, so this time around we invited several folks to make  a brief presentation on “Redefining Radio”. We didn’t offer any further instructions about the topic than that. 

Triton CEO Neal Schore took the stage early in the day and used his POV presentation to talk about something that I think is critically important for Internet radio – listener registration. Schore told the audience that it’s time to require listener registration in exchange for online content.

I couldn’t agree more. As Schore pointed out, most online stations are already requiring registration. This enables them to offer highly targeted ads and content that is more interesting to the listeners and more valuable to advertisers. It expands the time that listeners are willing to spend with a station, and it raises the likelihood that they’ll interact with an ad because that ad is specifically targeted – by gender, geography, or perhaps other criteria, to their specific situation.

Folks that don’t register their listeners argue that it depresses audience growth. But in the next breath they’re arguing that streaming expenses are too high. Those two things go hand in hand — require registration and maybe you lose a few listeners but that lowers your overall expenses while at the same time raising your ability to effectively monetize the remaining listeners. They’re more valuable because you know exactly who they are, you can interact with them and expand your relationship, and offer them targeted ads.

This is not broadcasting folks. Internet radio has the ability, as Schore pointed out at RAIN Summit West, to uniquely target every single listener and develop a unique one to one connection that is far more valuable and meaningful in today’s content marketplace. There is no reason not to. Schore’s message was an excellent contribution to the smart exchange that took place at RAIN Summit West last week.

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!

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…

New Study: Car Streaming is Here

KnowDigital presented the results of a new study focused on Internet radio listening in cars at RAIN Summit West which revealed that Internet radio is – despite technological challenges – already in cars, and many of those who listen to Internet radio on a weekly basis have already found a way to listen in their cars.

“Despite these challenges, it appears that in-car streaming radio is far from the “next frontier.” according to the study presented by VP Sam Milkman. While obstacles such as technological ease, smartphone battery use, and data plan expenses were of concern to some, 71% of those who listen regularly to Internet radio are already listening in their cars. 

90% of those listeners are also listening to terrestrial radio in the car, and Milkman points out that broadcast radio continues to be a choice out of habit, ease of use and live and local content such as traffic, news, weather, and personalities. Broadcasters should continue to focus on these services as they brace for the coming wave of Internet radio in cars, he advises.

As new devices emerge to put Internet radio into the dashboard of the car, consumers will be forced to choose which stations they want to lock into presets. KnowDigital found that when offered the chance to program up to ten presets, consumers only chose to program five of those positions. This means that as the in-car audio system opens up to offer on-air and online audio options, terrestrial broadcasters will have to sharpen their skills to hang onto a preset. “There only appears to be interest in one or two FM stations,” cautions the study. 

According to this study, it’s game-on for in car Internet radio. As newer devices make access and listening easier, the stakes will get higher. It’s important that stations develop strategies and relationships that enable them to leverage the car streaming opportunity.

Mason Tells RAIN’s Hanson: Digital Is Critical to CBS Radio’s Future

CBS RADIO President and CEO Dan Mason is excited about broadcasting’s digital future. In a keynote interview at RAIN Summit West last week, Mason shared his thoughts on radio’s future. During the 30 minute “fireside chat” with RAIN Publisher Kurt Hanson, Mason outlined his perspective that digital is now an essential component for success for broadcasters.

Broadcasters should embrace personalization and explore sidechannels, said Mason. He mentioned Phillies Radio as an example of a sidechannel (HD, not streaming) that CBS RADIO is pleased with. Mason touched upon some other investments that CBS RADIO has made and is planning. He encouraged the audience to find him on Last.fm, where he listens to the Yardbirds, among other things.

He also said that plans are in the works to relaunch mp3.com in May. That’s big news – mp3.com was a free music download site that got into legal trouble with the record labels over licensing. Its history includes a huge IPO and eventual sale to record label Vivendi Universal, where it eventually died. CNET picked up the url, but it’s been inactive for several years. Now Mason says CBS RADIO will relaunch the site next month. A look at the site this morning shows the structure of a platform that will offer downloads, interact with Last.fm, and tie in videos, podcasts, entertainment news and more. (In an ironic sidenote, mp3.com’s original founder, Michael Robertson, also appeared at RAIN Summit later in the day on a panel discussion of The Future of Music.)

Later last week, Mason sent a memo to CBSRADIO employees that echoed the digital excitement he expressed at RAIN Summit West, commenting  “never have I been more certain as to what an incredible opportunity we have before us.” and “the digital side of the business is just as important as our over-the-air operations.”

There were many impressive moments at RAIN Summit West, it was an event that in my opinion really exemplified the positive place that Internet radio is occupying. Listening to CBSRADIO President and CEO Dan Mason talk about the digital opportunity for broadcasters as a critical element to future success was one of those.

Arbitron Tells Broadcasters Digital Opportunity is Big

Radio is not in decline, it’s expanding, and that represents an enormous opportunity, according to Arbitron‘s SVP Paul Krasinski. Krasinski and SVP Bill Rose presented results of their recently updated Infinite Dial Study at RAIN Summit West last week and encouraged broadcasters to recognize the opportunity that digital distribution offers.

With 86% of the 12+ population connected to broadband and one-third of consumers owning a smartphone, it’s a different world. Embracing the fact that radio’s audience is distributed beyond the broadcast is key to future success. Access to audio has changed, has radio changed? asked Krasinski.

Online radio’s audience is expanding, with 89 million listening last month. And 89% of those listeners listen to both broadcast and online radio. Krasinski urged the crowd to alter their view of “audience” and see it across all of radio’s channels. In that regard, the audience is growing. With that growth comes a responsibility to offer great content to listeners.

A key component for radio will be developing innovative solutions for advertisers that enable them to use and measure the effectiveness across these distributed channels. Over the past few months we’ve heard hints that Arbitron is planning to step back into streaming measurement and while they have not announced anything yet, it sounds like it will be a product that enables stations to aggregate audiences from distributed channels. While their PPM product does measure streaming now, it only measures such for stations that simulcast 100% of the time, meaning that stations that sell streaming ads separately from over the air ads don’t qualify. Whether this will change is unclear.

The streaming audience measurement game is stepping up its pace – with the recent accreditation of Webcast Metrics and Arbitron beginning to talk about new plans for the space, more and better options are available to stations, which is bound to be good for the industry.

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