Radio stations untangle more direct Web connections
Fri Dec 12, 2008
By Ken Tucker
NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Radio companies took a giant step forward in 2008 by embracing online and mobile applications like never before.
Clear Channel, with centralized Web site design services and such innovative Web programing as its "Stripped" concert series and "New" artist spotlight program, has long led the way, but other broadcast groups also made momentous strides.
No company increased its commitment to the digital space in 2008 more than CBS Radio, which announced a content and advertising partnership with AOL Music in March. Since then, 150 CBS Radio stations and 200 AOL Music Internet stations have become powered by a CBS Radio player. The company also launched Play.it, which enables listeners to create their own stations.
On December 3, CBS Radio announced an agreement to power Yahoo Music's Launchcast Radio. Beginning in early 2009, Launchcast's 150 stations and more than 150 CBS Radio stations will be combined, with CBS Radio assuming sales responsibility for the entire portfolio. A newly created CBS Radio player will be integrated into the Yahoo Music site, and Launchcast will be made available to Firefox, Mac and Safari users.
To meet higher royalty payments as mandated by the Copyright Review Board, Internet radio services are under increased pressure to monetize their Web traffic with advertising. Portals like Yahoo and AOL are geared for national ad sales, not the localized selling that radio specializes in.
Greg Thompson, Capitol Music Group executive vice president of promotion for North America, welcomes radio's digital expansion. "There's an old expression, 'Adapt or die,' which I think is very pertinent," he says. "Radio needs to hold onto their audience. People want their audio streams. They're not hung up on if it comes off this or that or whatever."
Thompson adds that Clear Channel's "Stripped" series gave an early boost to singer-songwriter Katy Perry's career. "It quickly helped build the Katy Perry brand so that it's not the 'I Kissed a Girl' song, it's Katy Perry," he says. "Now she's got a couple of No. 1 records under her belt and they've got some great content. We've built the brand together."
Nashville-based Lynnette Garbonola, vice president of new media for Warner Bros., appreciates the one-stop shopping that Clear Channel Online & Music and Citadel Interactive provide. "You can hit all the stations in one shot," Garbonola says, noting that she's particularly positive about Clear Channel's "New" program. "They're able to introduce newer artists sooner than the radio stations themselves can because of the shorter playlists."
Another opportunity opened when the latest edition of the iPhone made it easier for broadcasters to make their stations available to mobile listeners. Jacobs Media, a radio consulting company, recently announced the development of an application for the iPhone that lets listeners access stations' streams with the touch of a button.
Doug Perlson, CEO of the advertising company TargetSpot, says that the iPhone will help radio. The company works with advertisers to target pure-play sites like Yahoo Music or terrestrial radio streams like those of CBS Radio and Entercom.
"The iPhone has had a big influence on radio for mobile devices," Perlson says, "because, a) you've got everyone working on an iPhone app, and b) we're starting to see a proliferation of BlackBerry apps as well."
And while 2008 seemed like a breakthrough year for radio on the Web, Perlson says the best is yet to come. "It seems like a watershed moment, but next year could also be groundbreaking," he says. "I wouldn't be surprised if we went from seeing a proliferation of applications to a proliferation of actual users."
Online Radio Ad Businesses Booming
Posted on: Thursday, 11 December 2008, 08:05 CST
A New York based company is going where no other firm has gone, and has become the largest seller of Internet radio ads.
Doug Perlson is sitting pretty despite a stinging recession that has meant cutbacks in radio and sluggish advertising. His company, TargetSpot Inc., acquired a rival in October to create the largest seller of Internet radio ads.
TargetSpot Inc. will sell online ads for more than 1,000 stations, including those owned by CBS Radio, and Internet-only radio sites on AOL and Live 365.
They offer 15-, 30- and 60-second audio ads for online radio stations, with companion visual ads, that can be targeted to people in specific geographic areas, or based on the Internet address of a listener's computer.
Partly because this market is nascent, "our business has a good shot at more than doubling in 2009," Perlson said.
However, the growing company does not disclose sales figures.
If TargetSpot can actually bring in needed dollars to Internet radio stations, the timing couldn't be better. Right now, radio stations are under the gun to raise online ad revenue because of the higher royalties they could have to pay to stream music over the Internet.
The Library of Congress' Copyright Royalty Board raised the fees that Internet radio stations pay artists to play their music online through 2010.
Online radio stations opposed the increases and said they were cost-prohibitive and threatened their survival. Congress passed a bill that would give government backing to deals negotiated on more favorable terms.
However, Jake Ward, a spokesman for SaveNetRadio, a coalition of online radio stations, is worried there are no guarantees.
TargetSpot is currently the only independent company exclusively specializing in online radio ads. According to research firm eMarketer the Internet radio ad market is worth around $500 million.
On the Net:
13 dicembre 2008
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Reuters/Billboard e RedOrbit analizzano il buon momento per la pubblicità raccolta negli USA dalle emittenti via Internet. Al centro dell'attenzione l'agenzia TargetSpot che ha l'esclusiva per gli annunci diffusi da Yahoo Music e le emittenti CBS. Anche il ruolo di iPhone e, in misura crescente, Blackberry, come dispositivi per la radio digitale mobile, ha la sua importanza nel quadro evolutivo di un mercato di contenuti sottoposto alla pressione dei costi sui diritti musicali. L'aumento dei canoni imposti per diffondere musica online spinge le Web radio ad arricchire il portafoglio degli inserzionisti.