Bob Pittman, Ryan Seacrest Talk Up iHeartMedia, Radio At International CES
January 7, 2015 at 4:13 PM (PT)
iHEARTMEDIA Chairman/CEO BOB PITTMAN and RYAN SEACREST appeared at a session in the "C-Space" of INTERNATIONAL CES in LAS VEGAS WEDNESDAY afternoon, touting radio's relevance in the new technological age. "At the end of the day," PITTMAN insisted, "radio is the most relevant medium riding the technology (on display at the trade show) ... radio is your best friend."
PITTMAN and SEACREST stressed their company's success in generating social media impressions, but asked what exactly that means to the business, SEACREST said, "Our job is to figure out how to put all those pieces together," and PITTMAN said that it means the public "is spreading the word for us.' PITTMAN also noted that the company dropped "radio" from its name because "we didn't want our businesses to be silos ... it doesn't matter" in which medium the content appears. "We're in the business of managing relationships," he insisted.
Both men raised the image of radio as being connected and engaged with audiences as if it, and the hosts, are friends; SEACREST repeated his story, told at other conferences, about fans seeing him dining with a celebrity and asking him to take a picture of the fan and celebrity as if he is the fan's friend, and PITTMAN called TV "AMERICA's hobby; radio is AMERICA's friend," adding, "we're not 'mini-TV.' We're a conversation with a human being." But regarding radio's engagement with the advertising community, PITTMAN admitted that "the radio business did not do a good job," adding that the brand of radio is fine with the public but not with agencies and buyers.
The conversation also addressed radio's curation versus algorithms (PITTMAN saying that "music is part of what we do ... (and) no one does it better. We have brilliant curators"), SEACREST's interest in technology ("I like what SNAPCHAT is doing now"), and the idea of disruptive technology (PITTMAN insisting that "disruption" is actually just someone serving a consumer need, and admitting that his previous employer AOL had opportunities for AIM Messenger to be Twitter and AOL Chat to be Facebook but that the company just did not go in that direction).
Neil Young Announces Retail Debut Of Pono Hi-Res Audio Player
Rock legend NEIL YOUNG made an appearance at the convention to show off the long-anticipated PONO high-resolution audio player and to announce that the audiophile digital music player will be available at retail starting MONDAY (1/12). The player will be sold at a limited number of outlets, including FRY'S ELECTRONICS, and will sell for $399. The PONO ecosystem, which was launched via a Kickstarter campaign, debuted its online music store this morning and is also working with HARMAN to incorporate PONO technology into connected cars. YOUNG said that he thinks his player has a chance to compete in an era when ubiquitous smartphones are used as music players, adding that he had not listened to music for 15 years because he "hated the way it sounded" and "could only hear what was missing"; he said that he thinks people will be able to tell the difference between MP3s and lossless audio files.
Twitter For Media Businesses, In More Than 140 Characters
Earlier WEDNESDAY at C-Space, TWITTER representatives gave a presentation about how content creators and businesses are using their service, VP/Data Strategy CHRIS MOODY, noting that the company mines data from 500 billion daily tweets and that it is a "super power to know what the world is thinking," said that the building blocks for businesses to use TWITTER data are to listen (understanding the customers), activate (create dialogues with the customers), and evolve (look for new solutions a step ahead of everyone else). The building block theme continued in segments in which VP/North American Media Partnerships KIRSTINE STEWART chatted with UTA's DAVID HERRIN and BRENT WEINSTEIN and online video star "iJUSTINE" EZARIK and TWITTER's U.S. Head of Strategy and Development, Entertainment JENNIFER PRINCE conversed with LEGENDARY ENTERTAINMENT Chief Analytics Officer MATT MAROLDA.