Slacker added another big radio brand to its growing list of branded audio content yesterday when they announced that they would be adding access to an interactive ESPN channel that will give listeners access to lots of customizable content from the largest sports network in the country. Slacker already offers its listeners ABC News, plus both genre based and personalizable music channels, artist programmed channels, comedy and hispanic programming.
It’s a very nice play for Slacker, and one that certainly gives them bragging rights to what may be the most varied program offerings in the land. Slacker, which is US based, streams audio content to listeners in the US and Canada. The ESPN station will be available to all Slacker listeners for free and Slacker Radio Plus subscribers will have access to the full ESPN experience for $3.99 a month.
ESPN Radio already has a really nice online presence, ranked 7th on AndoMedia’s Webcast Metrics ranker for December with an average number of active sessions streaming of around 15,000. So why this deal? “It has long been our mission to provide listeners with the ability to experience ESPN Audio content wherever they are and through whichever medium fits best into their busy lifestyle,” said Traug Keller,senior vice president, Production Business Divisions, ESPN, Inc..
It’s all about extending the brand, which may well mean this is the first, but not the last streaming audio deal for ESPN.
Slacker meanwhile is rapidly becoming the largest streaming audio content network, with a nice list of big name radio brands to offer its listeners, in customizable formats that make it easy and appealing for them to get what they want. Which is probably the key to getting them to pay for it – Slacker’s got some deals in place with mobile phone companies that make that a little easier with the phones preloaded with Slacker apps and direct billing from the phone companies for customers that subscribe.
I’m impressed, this is a nice move by Slacker, who seems to be well on its way to building a nice streaming audio content network. Now if they would just change their name…
While broadcasters gathered in DC last week, digital folks were in NYC at the Interactive Advertising Bureau‘s annual MIXX Conference, part of Ad Week in that city. (It’s a shame that the two events are at the same time.) During their event, the IAB released its “Digital Audio Advertising Overview” Platform Status Report, a first ever effort by that organization to define the digital audio space and make it easier for digital advertisers to understand it.
The document “defines the digital audio category and provides a snapshot of the marketplace audience size and demographics as well as outlining the players in the market, the vehicles currently used to deliver content and advertising formats, and some of the most important metrics for measuring success.” It’s a white paper that provides a nice overview of Internet radio in terms of audience and measurement, ad opportunities and standards. While the report calls itself an overview of the digital audio space, in fact it concentrates solely on Internet radio – I saw no references to podcasting, on demand streaming, HD, or any other types of what I consider to be audio of the digital variety.
The paper provides research from Nielsen, Bridge Ratings, AndoMedia as well as Edison Research/Arbitron’s comprehensive annual Infinite Dial Study to define the market size, provide listening data and identify the ad units typically available. It also lists major advertisers such as Chevrolet, Ford, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, American Express and Home Depot (the list is longer), and includes a case study of OnStar on the Katz Online Network as well as Pandora.
With this white paper the IAB, the main ad association for the digital market, is finally acknowledging digital audio as a digital ad option for advertisers, so it’s a great thing. With all due respect to those involved, it’s long overdue. While there is little that’s new in the report, it’s all pulled together very succinctly into a credible presentation that sellers can use to educate advertisers. It should be particularly useful with digital ad agencies who have been slow to spend on Internet radio. Having the IAB stamp of approval means a lot.
Congrats to Brian Benedik of Katz360 and Andy Lipset of TargetSpot, co-chairs of the IAB’s digital audio committee, and the companies that are on the committee: AndoMedia, Google, Clear Channel Radio, Comcast, comScore, Cox Cross Media, ESPN, Pandora Media, and others. Hats off for a job well done.
You can download the report here.
AndoMedia has released its monthly ranker of listening estimates to Internet radio platforms that are measured by Webcast Metrics, which uses a proprietary platform to track audience data and convert it to audience metrics that can be easily understood by stations, publishers and advertisers.
For Domestic total week listening, Pandora’s audience continues to rank first, followed by CBSRadio’s online radio platform, which includes all its streaming broadcast stations as well as AOL and Yahoo Launchcast (but does not include CBSRadio-owned Last.fm). Clear Channel, Citadel, Entercom, Cox, EMF, ESPN and Radio One round out the top ten online radio platforms on the domestic ranker which counts only verified US based listening.
The All Streams ranker, which counts all listening to an online group or station’s streams, shows some stations that are not providing location verified listening data. Big online brands Digitally Imported, 977Music, 1.fm and AccuRadio push some broadcaster based platforms out of the top ten in this ranker.
AndoMedia points out that this month the average number of listening sessions, sessions started and time spent listening all increased. More info and the actual rankers are available here.
Pandora has partnered with AdReady, a display ad platform that allows partners to build display ads for new advertisers using ready made templates, and then serve, target and optimize those banners on the AdReady platform. This opens up a new basket of revenue for the ever innovative Pandora.
“As we grow our user base, it makes sense to identify ways to scale our business and provide access for every size advertiser, from the biggest brands to the specialty and neighborhood shops who want to get their marketing messages out to their best prospects,” said John Trimble, chief revenue officer for Pandora. “Now we are able to offer broader, multi-platform marketing solutions with deep targeting and campaign optimization to businesses that previously didn’t have an affordable advertising solution.”
By partnering with AdReady, a pioneering technology company that makes display advertising accessible to advertisers of any size, Pandora’s new sales team will be able to develop creative assets, traffic and manage campaigns for clients that it previously could not cost effectively service. Now marketers of all sizes such as bands, summer festivals, and local colleges, will be able to leverage the effectiveness and reach of targeted display ad campaigns across Pandora’s growing audience.
“In this current climate of immediate accessibility, the team at Pandora steps it up and delivers what you want, when you need it,” said Kathleen Pittman, president of Green Bottle Media LLC, a full-service media planning and buying service. “With virtually no turn-around time at all, the folks at Pandora were able to present multiple, well-thought-out solutions for a multi-market, regional client — a popular chain of burrito eateries in Texas, implement the plan seamlessly, and report promptly back to us.” The results of the campaign on Pandora generated more than three times the click through rate than any other online placement for Green Bottle Media’s fourth quarter 2009 campaign for this client.
This is a great platform that many broadcast groups would find useful. AdReady works with ESPN, Univision and The New York Times as well as Pandora.