Clear Channel’s relationship with Verizon will put the broadcaster’s iheartradio digital platform on Verizon’s FiOS high speed network, available to FiOS customers, according to a report in Inside Radio. It’s a move that expands upon a strong relationship between Verizon and Clear Channel that put iheartradio on VCast, Verizon’s mobile entertainment platform, in December.
Clear Channel COO Gerrit Meier tells Inside Radio (which is owned by Clear Channel) that iheartradio has established itself as a brand over the past year, and they’re ready to expand the places where it is available. They’re also expanding the platform’s offerings – this time with CBGB Radio – a new channel devoted to the New York Club that was founded in 1973 and launched the careers of the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Patti Smith and other big names in punk and new wave music. The new channel will feature music, artist interviews and commentary from those associated with the club formerly located on Bleeker Street.
It’s a great concept – taking an iconic club from music history and recreating it online. The club closed in October 2006, but lives on at iheartradio.com .
AT&T, faced with complaints about its coverage area, is blaming it on users that stream audio and video on their smartphones, and indicating that they may move to restrain heavy users from unlimited streaming.
Last week, at UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York City, AT&T head of consumer services Ralph De La Vega told investors that 3 percent of smartphone users are consuming 40 percent of the network capacity, and that the most high-bandwidth activity is video and audio streaming.
AT&T has taken lots of criticism for the broadband coverage offered by their network, and is locked in an advertising war with Verizon over the same. Apparently, they think the solution is to penalize their heaviest users.
AT&T has sold many iPhones and data plans on the excitement of unlimited untethered streaming activity. I know my husband cancelled his subscription to satellite radio, upgraded to an iPhone and data plan, and started listening to Pandora in his car. Now, AT&T customers like him that bought the phone and the data plan, and are getting the most enjoyment out of it, may be limited.
My point is this. Internet radio and Pandora in particular have witnessed great audience growth as a result of smartphones and wireless broadband connectivity. AT&T built a customer base in part around that. People didn’t buy iPhones because they want to talk on them – they bought them to do all the other stuff…including streaming music.
The impact of streaming on AT&T’s network cannot be coming as a surprise to the company, which has been promoting Pandora and streaming radio to its customers since 2007 when they were using Pandora to sell MEdia Max bundles for $19.99 a month. There’s a name for this way of selling your products to consumers, it’s called Bait and Switch, and it’s a bad business strategy for AT&T…
Clear Channel will offer a special Verizon Wireless only version of iheartradio in a new release/upgrade of the software due out by Christmas. More than 4 million people have already downloaded the iheartradio mobile app which is available for iPhone. This new release will include an application for Android and Blackberry devices.
As part of the latest upgrade to the app, Clear Channel worked closely with Verizon Wireless to integrate V Cast Music and enable mobile purchases of full-track downloads, ringtones and ringback tones into a special Verizon Wireless-only version of iheartradio. V Cast is Verizon’s branded content platform. Ed Ruth, director, strategic business development and partner management at Verizon Wireless calls it “the ultimate in user choice and convenience”.
Clear Channel’s iheartradio platform has developed into a more than just a launching pad for broadcast station’s streams. It includes nearly 400 unique stations, including America’s most popular local radio stations and a growing number of digital-only channels such as Christina Aguilera Radio, Megadeth Radio, White House Brief and others. The company has also used the platform to build out interesting advertiser sponsored channels that integrate brands into the programming such as the recently launched Pirate Radio channel to promote the Focus Features film, and Red Star Radio sponsored by Macy’s. This new partnership with Verizon is an extension of that concept.