RAIN Summit Las Vegas: Choice, Control And The Next Generation
April 18, 2016 at 5:25 AM (PT)
The annual pre-NAB SHOW edition of the RAIN SUMMIT was held in LAS VEGAS SUNDAY (4/17), and the talk centered around the rise of podcasting, the importance of data, and consumers' desire for choice and control of their media.
Ginny Morris On The Next Generation
An opening keynote conversation between JACOBS MEDIA's PAUL JACOBS and HUBBARD Chair/CEO GINNY MORRIS offered insight into her company's digital strategy and plans for growth, including bringing along the "next generation" of company managers who are being groomed for future leadership roles, tasked with coming up with new ideas and being brought to events like last year's NAB/RAB RADIO SHOW.
"What is radio right now?," MORRIS asked, noting that the majority of dollars remain in broadcast but the majority of growth is on the digital side. "I don't think there's ever been a more exciting time for radio," she said. "We think of it all as audio." Adding that "when new things come along, it's important to lean into them, not be afraid of them ... we all know radio works, and some of this other stuff works, too," MORRIS asserted, "we'll take digital nickels and dimes because we know they're going to (turn into) digital dollars."
On HUBBARD's investment in PODCASTONE, MORRIS admitted "we're not exactly sure where it's gonna go," adding that she sees podcasting as "an additive ... an extension of what we're doing on the radio." She said that she first listened to podcasts with "SERIAL," becoming so engrossed by the final episode while driving that she ran a stop sign and got into an accident. MORRIS related that a recent series of special reports that was released as a podcast from News WTOP/WASHINGTON was initially not doing as well in downloads as the company had hoped but an appearance by the producers on ADAM CAROLLA's podcast produced a spike in listening. And asked what keeps her up at night, after drawing a laugh with the response "hot flashes," she said that the autonomous car, in which riders will be free to consume other media like video, is a concern.
Owen Grover: iHeartRadio Built On Radio Foundation
SVP/GM OWEN GROVER made the case for iHEARTRADIO in a talk with industry veteran TED COHEN, calling iHEARTRADIO "not a digital success story, it's not an app success story, it's a RADIO success story ... iHEARTRADIO does not exist without radio," crediting "the power of the local radio DJ explaining the use case" for the app's growth. Wondering how other companies missed the boat -- "Shouldn't MTV by all rights own digital media?" -- he explained the company's thinking behind adding PANDORA-like customized streams ("we don't think it's a stand-alone business ... we saw it as a nice feature") and putting all of the company's stations in a single app ("How many radio apps do you expect people to have?"). "We don't have a digital strategy," GROVER insisted. "We have a brand strategy."
State Of The Ear On Smartphone
EDISON RESEARCH's LARRY ROSIN presented a "State of the Ear on Smartphone" study, leading with the news that 76% of Americans own a smartphone in 2016 -- and 93% of 12-24s do. Total online listening -- up to 57% now -- is rising, he pointed out, at a similar rate to smartphone ownership, and while the AM/FM platform still ranks number one among listening options with 51%, smartphones are up to 19% (and that number is 35% for 13-24 year olds). 34% of Americans listened to audio on smartphones in a single day, and among 13-24s, that percentage is 68%.
State Of The Industry: Choice And Control
RAIN founder KURT HANSON's annual "State of the Industry Address" focused on the theme of "Choice and Control," the attributes he said consumers increasingly desire. Using an AMAZON Echo on stage to demonstrate voice control, HANSON noted declines in use of AM/FM radio but also in other media like print, and how smartphones have taken over as the primary radio (and as a replacement for other devices) for the vast majority of users. Among trends HANSON listed were connected home stereos like the SONOS systems, voice control, Bluetooth headphones (with an impact, he noted, on the NEXTRADIO app, which needs a cord to receive FM stations, and on NIELSEN PPMs), smartwatches, in-dash "infotainment," and self-driving cars.
Zach Sang's Gang: Millennials
Syndicated host ZACH SANG stated the case for focusing on Millennials in an energetic chat with BENZTOWN's JUSTIN CASE, offering that "in order to bring in the next generation of listeners, we have to BE the next generation ... we need to embrace Millennials, we need to embrace Generation Z." He advised radio managers to trust Millennials, who he positioned as changing social attitudes: "They don't see black or white, they don't see color, they don't see sexuality ... we have eliminated ignorance in the next generation of AMERICA."
Pattiz On Podcasting
PODCASTONE's NORM PATTIZ related his company's development and why he got into the medium, noting that "there wasn't a VIACOM of podcasting" when he started the business and terming podcasting's upside "limitless. It's a medium that really, really works for the advertiser." Podcast listeners, he said, are the "P1 listeners of audio talk programming," and said that he looks at a host's fan base or the strength of the topic category before adding a new podcast to his roster. He also rejected the idea that measurement is a critical problem for podcasting, insisting that "it's not holding me back" and saying that his company uses downloads, filters, tracking pixels, and audience research commissioned from EDISON RESEARCH. PATTIZ' appearance was followed by a panel including MIDROLL MEDIA's ADAM SACHS, SPREAKER's FRANCESCO BASCHIERI, NEW YORK PUBLIC RADIO's PETER WEINGARD, and ReVOLVER's JACK HOBBS examining the podcasting landscape.
It's All About Data
Measurement took center stage with a panel including JELLI's MIKE DOUGHERTY, NIELSEN's ROB KASS, ADSWIZZ's ALEXIS VAN DE WYER, and TRITON DIGITAL's JOHN ROSSO, explaining the importance of first-party and third-party data collection and the balancing of clients' desire to narrowly target buys with the need to grow revenue. A presentation from RUTH PRESSLAFF followed that up with insight on how companies are collecting and using first-party data.
Royalty Outlook And More
A panel updating the royalty situation with WILKINSON BARKER KNAUER's DAVID OXENFORD moderating and BMI's DAVID LEVIN, the NAB's CURTIS LE GUYT, FLETCHER HEALD AND HILDRETH's KEVIN GOLDBERG, and SOUNDEXCHANGE's BRAD PRENDERGAST on the panel debated the issue of small webcasters getting hit hard in the CRB revisions, with GOLDBERG noting that the webcasters have been complaining that they got "screwed" but responding "not really -- you screwed yourself by not being fully prepared" or represented in the negotiations. The panel also addressed the lack of a collective license for podcasts ("pay direct," GOLDBERG said. "We haven't figured out a better mousetrap.").
FUTURI's DANIEL ANSTANDIG unveiled a new product, POST, that automates the creation of on-demand audio from broadcast material, logging and archiving audio and allowing posting of the content with a few clicks, even adding SHUTTERSTOCK photos (access included with the software license) to pair with the audio posts. And MUSICWATCH's RUSS CRUPNICK gave a talk on the value of disruption, advising the industry to see YOUTUBE as a music streaming force and the replacement of genres for music selection with mood.