CBS RADIO has signed a non-exclusive deal with tunein, giving tunein listeners access to news, sports and talk content on more than 40 CBS RADIO stations. This news flies in the face of several exclusive deals recently leveraged by Clear Channel on its iHeartRadio platform, where some major broadcasters were signing away their rights to work with multiple online portals to engage listeners, and instead agreeing that the online online portal they would work with would be iHeartRadio.
“We have always believed in the value of great local content, and this agreement validates the demand we know exists for our original programming while at the same time creates a new revenue source for the company,” said Ezra Kucharz, President, CBS Local Digital Media. “By forging relationships with premiere distribution services such as tunein, CBS RADIO will significantly grow its audiences by exposing our content to new listeners.”
The CBS RADIO deal make a lot of sense, although it’s disappointing that only talk radio content is included. This may be due to tunein’s global appeal – CBS Radio restricts streaming of its music stations to the US. tunein has a suite of very popular mobile apps as well as deals with many devices and automakers, high rankings on iTunes for its popular app. According to Alexa, it’s one of the most popular websites in the US and world, ranking just above the top 1000. That’s a lot of potential listeners…
Clear Channel’s iHeartradio showed a surge in audience for October following the relaunch of the streaming platform with a 10 million dollar promotional budget that included a two day live and streamed concert in Las Vegas. Newly released audience data from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics audience measurement platform shows that iHeartradio gained 15% in the number of average active sessions from September to October’s 106,733, after gaining 10% in September, the month during which the relaunch of iHeartradio took place.
Meanwhile, Pandora‘s audience continued to surge as well, growing 7.5% to more than 800,000 Average Active Sessions Monday – Sunday 6am – mid in October.
CBS Radio‘s streaming audience fell again, after losing AOL Radio which migrated to Slacker in August. The AAS for CBS Radio dropped 14% during October. Slacker consequently saw their AAS grow by 18%. The Cumulus group of streaming stations is looking strong on the ranker as a result of their purchase of Citadel since the last release, however, their 45,489 AAS is actually lower than the combined Cumulus and Citadel numbers from September by about 4%.
WNYC debuts on the report, although we do not know if that’s a result of audience growth or that they are new to the measurement platform. Triton’s Webcast Metrics is server based measurement Other groups such as Cox, Entercom and others were pretty stable in the month to month report.
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.
AndoMedia has released a new ranker for June 2010 which resolves an ongoing issue that had prevented some key online only (or pureplay) stations from being presented in their domestic ranker. Digitally Imported, 977Music, and 1.fm had previously shown up in the All Streams ranker, but due to some technical measurement issues AndoMedia was unable to report on their US only streams. This month those stations debut in the US based streams report as well, joining AccuRadio and Pandora for a total of five online stations in the listing of the top streaming stations or networks measured by AndoMedia.
Pandora, which sits prominently atop the ranker with more than three times the average number of streams per minute (AAS) than the next platform (which happens to be CBS Radio, including AOL and Yahoo’s streaming radio platforms). Thanks to Pandora, listening to online only stations exceeds listening to broadcast streams on the top twenty domestic ranker as well.
Another highlight from this monthly ranker is ESPNRadio’s number, which reflects a huge increase thanks to massive listening to streams of World Cup matches. The average number of domestic streams for that service leapt from 10,103 to 16,758.
After some delay due to AndoMedia’s working with the MRC on accreditation, AndoMedia has released two months worth of Internet radio audience data for March and April. They’ve also implemented some changes in the way they calculate and credit listening – for one, they’re not going to count sessions that last longer than 24 hours. The second change has to do with the way they assign credit using IP based geolocation data – when it is not available they will use the central time zone.
Accreditation is a good thing, I’m strongly in favor of Ando doing everything they can to make sure their Webcast Metrics server based audience measurement service meets with the approval of the Media Rating Council. We also see for the first time the IAB logo on the released rankers, signifying that AndoMedia has become a member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
With regard to the data…the lineup remains the same, with Pandora furthering their lead in terms of listeners on the domestic ranker and Cumulus debuting on the ranker. Missing from the All Streams ranker below is Pandora with 324,886 AAS, which would appear at the top of the pack.
Besides that, there are few noteworthy changes. You can see the rankers here. AndoMedia will host a teleconference to review the new data on thursday June 17th at 3pm (no indication of what time zone). To register for that, click here.
Update: I’ve been hearing from some sources that the report that all of the companies involved in the lawsuit may not have been involved in this settlement, as was reported by Inside Radio on 12/30. That report was my only source of information on the settlement.
Key broadcasters have settled a patent lawsuit that claimed they were infringing on a patent owned by Aldav for streaming ad-insertion. Aldav and its subsidiary Acacia are companies that specialize in buying up patents and pursuing licensing agreements – often through litigation. Earlier this year they filed suit against a long list of key broadcast companies including CBS Radio, Citadel, Clear Channel, Cox Radio, Cumulus, Entercom, Gap Broadcasting, Radio One, Regent, Saga, Univision.
While the Acacia website shows news of settlements with Cox and Regent, Inside Radio (which is owned by Clear Channel) reports that a settlement has been reached with all of the companies, without any money changing hands. IR reports that just before Christmas the companies and Aldav agreed to a dismissal of the suits. Broadcasters had asked that the court declare the patent invalid because Aldav had failed to assert its rights for years and its patent is unenforceable. The case was set for arbitration in February.
AndoMedia has (finally) released audience data for May, June, July, August and September 2009, now called the Internet Audio Top 20. The long wait for new rankers was a result of an overhaul to the ratings. Substantial changes include moving to a one-minute listening session as qualifier for measurement instead of the old five minute rule; and new metrics such as Session Starts, Average Active Sessions, and Average Time Spent Listening to replace Average Quarter Hour and Cume. From the press release, here are the definitions of each term:
- Session Starts is defined as “The number of streams of one minute or more that are started within a time period.”
- Average Active Sessions is defined as “The average number of streams of one minute or more that are active within a time period.”
- Average Time Spent Listening is defined as “The average number of hours for each session lasting more than one minute within a time period.”
There’s no sign of Targetspot’s network in this ranker, although they announced in April that they would begin using Ando’s measurement, consolidating the industry on one audience measurement platform. Katz’ Online Network is the only sales network reflected in these new rankers.
At RAIN Summit East in Philadelphia this week I got an overview of two nice applications that broadcasters can use to make their streaming offerings more creative and engaging.
Jelli is both an Internet radio station and a tool that broadcasters can use to create their own unique programming. It works like this: listeners can go on the site and choose the songs or artists they want to hear. The playlist is controlled by these requests. The fun starts when lots of people want to hear the same songs, which drives the song up the playlist and puts it on the air faster, or when listeners don’t want to hear a song, which does the opposite. If enough people don’t like a song that is playing, they can actually blow it up mid song, complete with sound effects. The program uses crowd sourcing technology to track listener influence. CBSRadio is using it in San Francisco, airing a three hour Jelli show on Sunday nights on … The guy who presented said it’s available on an exclusive by market basis.
Listener Driven Radio is another application that stations can plug in to get their listeners more involved in the station. It features tools that enable listeners to select songs, deselect songs and generally influence what gets played on the station. Using similar technology, it ties in directly to a radio station’s automation system, feeding real-time commands into the automation system based on the latest crowd-input. Listeners can interact via a website or mobile platform.
Both of these platforms are great ways for stations to engage with listeners and make their products more interactive and relevant.
Today’s announcement that CBS RADIO has entered into an agreement to “power” Yahoo’s Launchcast Internet radio portal in a deal similar to the one they announced with AOL Radio earlier this year definitely takes the cake. As David Goodman, President of Digital Media at CBS RADIO states in the press release, “this announcement along with our relationship with Last.fm, and other distribution partnerships, reinforces our Company’s position as the No.1 internet radio company in the world”. No doubt about that.
CBS RADIO has made significant investments in Internet radio. In the past year they aquired Last FM, and added AOL Radio and Yahoo’s Launchcast listeners to their group through agreements to manage their sales while putting CBS RADIO stations as channels on their platforms. Prior to deals with CBS RADIO, Yahoo Launchcast and AOL Radio ranked first and second independantly on Arbitron’s monthly survey. In recent surveys, with Last FM and AOL Radio already incorporated into their numbers, CBS RADIO had more than 2.2 million for a weekly cume, and Yahoo Launchcast had over a million weekly listeners. Their combined weekly cume should climb to over 3 million.
As they become the major player, CBS RADIO will have significant clout to impact and influence some of the as yet undefined issues in the space, such as audience measurement. CBS RADIO has a partnership with Ando Media and uses their audience measurement tool along with many of their other ad related technologies. They also subscribe to Arbitron’s comScore audience measurement surveys. It remains to be seen whether they will they see the value in supporting two separate measurement products for the industry or look to create a standard measurement tool.
This announcement does more than just reinforce CBS RADIO’s position in the space. It demonstrates that they mean business. A very big media company is making very big investments in the space – that’s meaningful to investors as well as advertisers, and good for the industry.