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The Download On Podcasts

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There’s buzz and activity around podcasting these days. Podcasting isn’t new, but I think it’s become reinvigorated of late with a few players moving things forward. Organized access to content that makes it easier for listeners and producers to connect and easier for advertisers to purchase and track ads, is the force behind this new momentum.

A key company in the space is Podcast One, owned by Norm Pattiz. Founder of Westwood One, Pattiz has the know-how to build a content network, and he’s now applying that skill, and his relationships with celebs, to build a network of podcasts. Launchpad Digital Media is a sister company that sells ads for the network. According to a recent article in Bloomberg News, Podcast One hosts 200 shows in its network and averages 100 million downloads a month.

There are other players in the space as well — Earwolf is a comedy network that also offers producers the tools they need to connect with advertisers through sister company The Midroll. WNYC in New York offers a substantial suite of downloadable audio including Freakonomics hosted by author Stephen Dubner, Radiolab, and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. Stitcher’s been around for a few years, organizing access to content and offering a mobile app that has been downloaded 12 million times, and is integrated with several car manufacturers and both IOS and Android phones.

Meanwhile, the elephant in the room when it comes to podcast networks is iTunes, which offers a huge library of downloadable audio but no monetization opportunities for the producers. Which creates a nice opportunity for the other companies who are willing to figure out the measurement and monetization piece.

We’ll be discussing that aspect of podcasting, and a lot more at RAIN Summit NYC on February 5th in New York City on a panel called “The Download on Podcasts.”

The all new RAIN News site has launched, and I’m sure you will want to check it out and then use your social media tools to tell your friends about it. There’s a new url, a new site, and a lot more content there which will be updated throughout the day. 

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Jelli Partners With Westwood One

Image representing Jelli as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Crowdsourcing music platform Jelli has partnered with Westwood One in a multi-year agreement for the network to exclusively represent on-air advertising sales for all local and nationally syndicated Jelli radio programming. Commercial air time within Jelli programming will be available to advertisers through both the Westwood One Network and Metro Traffic divisions.

This news apparently reverses a deal between Jelli and Triton Media announced a year ago. Triton owns Dial Global, a national radio network competitive with Westwood One. Note: According to Jim Kerr from Triton “Dial Global is still providing distribution and back end broadcasting services to Jelli for their nationally syndicated product.”

Jelli’s platform enables listeners to broadcast radio to vote for their favorite songs and impact what gets played – or not played – in real time. From the web or their mobile device, listeners use Jelli to vote for the artists and songs they love and want to hear, together creating dynamic playlists that determine in real time what will play.

Jelli’s local and nationally syndicated shows air on radio stations from coast to coast, including those in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and San Francisco. Jelli’s been bartering its all request radio format for a couple of minutes of commercial inventory in the hour long program, which makes selling those spots critical to Jelli’s success. “This partnership marks an important milestone for our company and for social radio as a whole,” said Jelli CEO Michael Dougherty. “Working together, we will be able to connect more advertisers and provide more opportunities for advertisers to actively engage with listeners.”

RadioInk declared this an interesting and innovative deal and compares Jelli’s functionality to personalized online platforms like Pandora. RadioInk seems to think that Jelli, which allows bunches of listeners to pitch in and build a playlist that everyone will hear on the air at the same time, is personalized radio that can compete with Pandora and Slacker’s ability to stream unique individualized playlists for each and every targeted listener. Listeners who are registered so that ads can be targeted demographically and geographically. Jelli is a fun way to add interactivity to broadcast radio, but it’s none of that.

While there is a list of things that Jelli isn’t, there is also a list of things that it is – it’s fun, innovative broadcast radio that encourages listener participation and probably increases engagement. If Westwood One can position it as that, rather than trying to compare it to Pandora, Slacker or any other type of personalized online radio offering, it will be far more successful in growing Jelli’s ad revenue.

comScore: Targetspot Has Lots of Website Traffic

Newly released data from comScore puts Internet radio rep Targetspot’s network at the top of the “Entertainment-Radio” category for the month of February. Targetspot reps all of CBSRadio’s Internet radio sites which include AOL Radio and Launchcast as well as CBSRadio’s broadcast stations’ streams. In addition, Targetspot sells streaming audio ads on Slacker, MySpace Music and GOOM Radio.

It’s no surprise that their reach is large and their rank in comScore shows that is indeed the case. A Targetspot press release touts the info, saying “the company reaches more than 64% of the Entertainment-Radio category and 14% of the total Internet audience.”

It’s good to finally have some data to quantify the extent of Targetspot’s network reach. It’s important however, to understand what this comScore data is telling us, and what it is not. This ranker measures the number of persons that visit a website, not the number of listeners to a stream. The “Entertainment-Radio” category compares networks with websites in that category, and tracks traffic to those websites. comScore’s data is a useful tool for selling website impressions such as display banners.

So while it is good information, it’s data that is not about the number of listeners that a station has, and it’s information that is difficult to use to sell or purchase audio ads. It’s not as good as it would be if we could finally see the Targetspot network measured in AndoMedia’s Webcast Metrics report – which is a report that contains data about listeners to streams rather than visitors to websites.

This is Targetspot’s first inclusion in the report, which also measures Clear Channel Online, Pandora, Westwood One, and ReplaceAds’ network. Targetspot aggregates more than 29 million unique site visitors within its network.

The following chart shows the adjusted comScore data from the top five companies in the Entertainment-Radio expanded category report ranked by largest audience:

                                                       Total Unique     %
Rank                        Name                       Visitors (000)  Reach
-----  ----------------------------------------------  --------------  -----
1      TargetSpot - Adjusted Reach*                    29,452          64%
2      WestWood One Partner Sites -potential reach     27,430          59%
3      ReplaceAds - potential reach                    18,638          40%
4      PANDORA.com                                     12,556          27%
5      Clear Channel Online                            9,164           20%
       * Based on adjusted numbers released by
       comScore on 3/10/10
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