RAIN Summit West Explores Internet Radio's Future
April 16, 2012 at 3:27 AM (PT)
SUNDAY's RAIN SUMMIT WEST seminar on digital radio occupied a new venue for the event, the LAS VEGAS HOTEL (formerly the LAS VEGAS HILTON), and new timing (before the main NAB SHOW schedule got underway), thanks to its new relationship with the NAB SHOW.
Measurement A Big Issue
The INTERNET ADVERTISING BUREAU's MICHAEL THEODORE, moderating the opening session on measurement of Internet audio, noted that research shows 4 out of 10 Americans use online audio, with audio having more than double the time spent listening of digital video. EDISON RESEARCH's LARRY ROSIN and PANDORA's DOUG STERNE agreed that finding a solution to the measurement issue is a matter of working through the process ("Advertisers want a solution, publishers want a solution," STERNE said); TRITON DIGITAL's ROBERT FAVRE noted the change from the "statistical guesses" of the past to actual direct measurement. STERNE raised the issue of the challenge of providing agencies with numbers they can use to directly compare digital audiences to other media, and ARBITRON's GREGG LINDNER stressed the problem of comparing numbers compiled with different methodologies, prompting STERNE to point out that network radio is already measured with varying methods and FAVRE adding that he doesn't see the difference between the results even if the methodologies used to reach those numbers are different.
You And The Friendly Folks At The Copyright Office
Attorney DAVID OXENFORD interviewed U.S. Copyright Office General Counsel DAVID CARSON, who offered an overview of his agency's activities and explained how the office offers advice to Congress but leaves hearings and decisions to the legislators, as well as discussing his view on how the controversial SOPA and PIPA legislation got torpedoed by forces playing outside the usual boundaries of political debate; TARGETSPOT's EYAL GOLDBERGER presented an update on online listening trends (listening up, desirable demographics, 65% still listen as much or more to regular radio but the number drops to 47% among 18-24-year-olds, and most Internet listeners listen to music).
On a panel moderated by SNL KAGAN's ROBIN FLYNN looking at how digital audio ads are being sold, the panelists -- SPOTIFY's JON MITCHELL, ADSWIZZ's ALEXIS VAN DE WYER, PANDORA's STEVEN KRITZMAN, and KATZ 360's BRIAN BENEDIK -- discussed the added sales benefits of interactivity, video integration, and live events, and the different expectations (like fewer ads) of the online audience. The panel echoed the earlier sentiment that the measurement debate needs to be resolved for the benefit of the industry. "We're in the second inning of a nine inning game," BENEDIK said. KRITZMAN noted that his company had about 1,400 advertisers last quarter.
The session's theme this year, "Redefining Radio," was featured in three presentations by TRITON MEDIA GROUP's NEAL SCHORE (stressing the social connection of radio and how listeners "follow content," and calling for broadcasters to require registration for online listening) , BORRELL ASSOCIATES' GORDON BORRELL (on "why I'm so pissed off" about radio's approach to the Net, including having the access to the second-largest overall ad sales force but only fifth for digital due to lack of training, the tiny percentage of local ads corralled by radio online, and other underperformance issues, and suggesting that interactive sales managers be free to develop new sales possibilities rather than be restricted to using only radio's distinguish assets), and LIQUID COMPASS' ZACKARY LEWIS.
Another Golden Age
In his traditional "State of the Industry" address, RAIN founder KURT HANSON repeated his assertion from previous Summits that radio is entering its "fourth golden age." To his previous list of four characteristics of the age -- variety, low spot load, ubiquity, and personalization -- HANSON added a fifth, "precise measurement.". He also analyzed PANDORA's financials and the tricky nature of defining "mobile" when considering mobile device docks and the difficulty for legacy companies to prevail after a disruption of their industry.
News-Talk-Sports In The Digital Age
ENTERCOM's TIM MURPHY moderated a post-lunch panel on the News-Talk-Sports formats' adaptation to the digital realm. In the session, ABC NEWS RADIO VP/GM STEVE JONES asserted that the industry "hasn't done a very good job" so far in selling users on customizable spoken- word content and noted the need for content that is not quickly perishable; STITCHER RADIO CEO NOAH SHANOK described how over half of users of his service use its recommendation engine. FOX NEWS RADIO Dir. and Exec. Producer of Web Operations WILLIAM SANCHEZ agreed with MURPHY about the importance of appearing "above the fold" in searches and social media about trending news topics, and said that the "Quadcast" podcast of BILL. O'REILLY, SEAN HANNITY, NEIL CAVUTO, and "THE FIVE" and the individual podcast of JOHN GIBSON's radio show are FOX NEWS' leading podcasts. Former MERLIN News WEMP (FM NEWS 101.9)/NEW YORK VP/Programming LIZ AIELLO talked about the success she had at SIRIUS XM RADIO with a THANKSGIVING MARTHA STEWART LIVING channel promotion with additional content in the form of a PDF "cookbook" that became a viral success, leading MURPHY to wonder if she could have offered the first ten pages free as an enticement for users to pay for the rest (the next year's edition included participation from advertisers). JONES noted the difficulty of selling ads on a popular "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" podcast (leading to a new deal with TARGETSPOT to handle sales); SHANOK said that he would "rather be in the advertising business than the advertising business" but that STITCHER is set up to do both by necessity, with the expectation that 85% of listening will be advertiser-supported. As in other panels, the panelists cited the importance of user registration as well as social media user recommendations.
More Stats On Internet Radio
THE MEDIA AUDIT's PHIL BESWICK offered a study on Internet radio, showing adoption of the medium is growing, especially in younger demographics. He broke down some local market listening and found that Internet radio as a "cluster" wold be th third-ranked cluster in the NEW YORK market behind CBS and CLEAR CHANNEL; it would also be third in LOS ANGELES and fourth in CHICAGO. Internet radio also performs better among college-educated listeners, those who only use cell phones, and Hispanics. About 10% of Internet radio listeners say they don't listen to traditional radio, indicating that streaming can add reach to a radio buy.
Streaming In The Car
The Internet's incursion into the car was examined by a panel moderated by knowDIGITAL's SAM MILKMAN and featuring AHA RADIO's ROBERT ACKER, COX MEDIA GROUP's SANDHI KOZSUCH, LIVIO RADIO's JAKE SIGAL, TUNEIN's CARL ROHLING, and LIVE365's DAN STEINY. ROHLING said that users are "looking for simplicity," offering his company's product as an example of helping a listener find programming quickly. SIGAL said he expects high-end cars to come with data plans and lower-end cars to connect through the driver's cell phone.
Music Issues: Royalties And Bubbles
Music industry veteran TED COHEN moderated a panel on streaming music with TUNECORE's JAMIE PURPORA, RHAPSODY's BRENDAN BENZING, AMAZING RADIO's PAUL CAMPBELL, and DAR.FM founder and veteran entrepreneur MICHAEL ROBERTSON, who noted the lack of discussion at the Summit of the royalty issue and how it could create major problems for the development of online radio (he noted that no streaming music company is making money and advised the NAB to "get off its ass" and address the royalty issue). He raised the topic of SIRIUS XM's lawsuit against SOUND EXCHANGE and suggested that everybody in the room "better hope (SIRIUS XM) win(s)." After some dire predictions, COHEN asked why, then, SPOTIFY has been valued at $4 billion, and BENZING noted that people like companies that can reach large audiences. CAMPBELL called the era "the second coming of dot-commery."
Keller Speaks On ESPN's Evolution
Marketing strategies and monetization were the focus of a panel headed by ACCURADIO COO JOHN GEHRON and including LYRICFIND's DARRYL BALLANTYNE, TRITON DIGITAL's MIKE BECKER, LISTENER DRIVEN RADIO's MAUREEN LESOURD, and 10LOCALCOUPONS' ERIC STRAUS, primarily promoting their companies' offerings. Following that panel, ESPN SVP Production/Business Divisions TRAUG KELLER gave a keynote presentation outlining his network's development of its programming and digital philosophies, and a final panel looked at customizable Internet radio, with EDISON RESEARCH's SEAN ROSS comparing results of an artist channel selection (ADELE) on iHEARTRADIO and PANDORA and discussing the need for a human touch in programming personalized streams.
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