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RAIN 11/10: UK on-demand service We7 to rebrand as Europe's Pandora

Posted on: 11/10/2010

COMPANY TO FOCUS ON CUSTOMIZABLE WEB RADIO SERVICES

The UK’s we7 has, for two years, been primarily an ad-supported on-demand music service. The company’s CEO Steve Purdham now says they’re changing focus to become a full-fledged personalizable Internet radio service.

“Becoming the Pandora plus of the UK and Europe would be a great aspiration to have,” he told TechCrunch (here). Pandora is not currently available outside the U.S.

Purdham says the decision was fueled by how the site’s 3 million monthly visitors actually use we7. In the beginning of 2010, we7 launched an experimental customizable radio service, similar to Last.fm or Pandora. In the last month, 63% of all visitors and 83% of regular users used the radio service.

“We always watch what our consumers do,” Purdham told Billboard (here). “This [repositioning] is actually trying to reflect how people are using the service,” said Purdham.

The new focus on streaming radio will involve bolstering the existing personalizable service with new features over the next 6 months. Users will be able to request specific songs or albums in their stream, for example. We7 also plans to also roll-out entertainment, sports, and weather radio content, according to MusicAlly (here). For example, users could be notified about important news regarding their favorite sports teams, right in their radio stream.

The realignment also carries some financial advantages. The BBC reports (here) that royalty fees paid per-song on webcast services are around one-third that paid by on-demand services. That was “a big factor” in the decision, said Purdham.

TRITON’S REYNOLDS SHARES LESSONS FROM EUROPEAN ONLINE RADIO

Triton Digital’s EVP Marketing Patrick Reynolds recently spoke with analyst Mark Ramsey about web radio abroad and the lessons U.S. webcasters and broadcasters alike could learn from their international peers.

Reynolds (pictured left) pointed to the new unified Radioplayer (RAIN coverage here) as an example of cross-company cooperation in Europe. Listeners will be able to easily browse different company’s radio streams within the same player. That unification helps advertisers adopt the web radio medium, reasoned Reynolds.

Additionally, while many U.S. services restrict access to U.S. listeners only, European services are usually global. Reynolds asks if Europeans are perhaps capitalizing on opportunities while U.S. services are artificially restricted (primarily through licensing hurdles). You can watch the entire interview with Reynolds at Mark Ramsey’s website here.

XM CANADA SHUTS DOWN FREE STREAMING SERVICE, POINTS USERS TO PAID OPTION

XM subscribers in Canada can no longer stream their satellite radio channels for free via the Internet. The company has reportedly shut down the free online service, pointing users instead to a $3-8 per month streaming radio subscription service.

Digital Home notes (here) that Sirius’ free streaming radio service is still available. XM Canada reportedly said it had cancelled the free service to better serve its customers.

TRITON DIGITAL ROLLS OUTHYPER-TARGETED” AD TECHNOLOGY FOR BROADCASTERSSTREAMS

Triton Digital has announced the release of Targeted Ad Injector, new technology that allows streaming radio ads to specifically target niche audiences. “Targeted Ad Injector lets broadcasters place highly-relevant ads into the stream based on the geographic location of the listener,” Triton Digital explains, “enabling a reach into niche audiences broadcasters couldn’t reach with traditional advertising spots.”



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