It's Official: Cumulus And Rdio Partner -- 'This Is Our Digital Play,' Says Lew Dickey
Partners With Skype Founder Janus Friis On Global Digital Audio Platform
September 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM (PT)
It's now official, as CUMULUS MEDIA and RDIO announce a powerful content, promotion and advertising partnership that provides listeners with a one-stop solution for their audio needs while offering advertisers new opportunities to engage with consumers.
"This is our digital play," CUMULUS CEO LEWIS W. DICKEY Jr. said in a joint interview on FRIDAY with RDIO CEO DREW LARNER. "This partnership leverages our premier broadcast and content assets along with RDIO’s acclaimed digital audio platform -- enabling consumers to listen to whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want," added DICKEY.
The deal also provides RDIO with a sales partner, with CUMULUS set to sell advertising for a free version of the service in the U.S.
"The biggest challenge we face is really awareness," said LARNER. "We live in this bubble in which everybody is talking about this stuff constantly, but to the wider world, streaming is still relatively nascent."
"We’re trying to be much more active in the audio ecosystem than just passively handing our streams over," DICKEY added. "That has severe limitations in terms of our ability to monetize."
"We are thrilled to be partnering with CUMULUS and their robust network of radio stations and premium content," added LARNER. "This monumental deal is the first time a digital and a broadcast platform have come together in this way and we’re eager to bring the Rdio experience to the greater CUMULUS listening audience."
Cumulus Staying With iHeartradio
A CUMULUS spoekperson contacted ALL ACCESS to clarify some of the media's reporting on the transaction.
"Some of you have asked about The NEW YORK TIMES reference to CUMULUS and iHEART RADIO. The reporter used the word 'marriage' in his question so the reply included the word marriage. To be clear, the logical decision by CUMULUS to pursue business opportunities in the growing digital space -- ensuring listeners have access to CUMULUS content wherever, whenever they want -- should not be interpreted as any disappointment with the existing beneficial partnership between CUMULUS and iHEART. Indeed, iHEART has been instrumental in driving in driving huge increases in Cumulus traffic growth and that arrangement is complementary to our deal with RDIO."
Bottom line: CUMULUS stations will remain on iHEART when the RDIO deal kicks in, as RDIO does not currently even offer a streaming feature for individual stations.