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RAIN 11/19: CNet takes Mini's in-car web radio for a spin

Posted on: 11/19/2010


Back in February, car-maker Mini announced it would bring Internet radio to the dashboards of its 2011 Mini Countryman through mobile devices (RAIN coverage here). Here in November the feature is nearly ready for prime-time and CNet tried it out at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The system streams Internet radio through Mini’s ConnectedDrive iPhone app. The iPhone must be connected the car via USB. Once the iPhone is attached, the driver can control which Net radio station is playing through the in-dash display. CNet doesn’t specify which web radio streams are available, though RadioTime said in March it would be a part of the Mini system (RAIN coverage here).

Mini’s connected dashboard also allows drivers to control the Genius feature of their connected iPhones or iPods. That feature builds custom playlists from a user’s iPod library based on a currently-playing track. It basically creates an instant radio station out of the users’ own music.

Mini’s in-dash web radio system and app should land in the U.S. in early 2011. It’s reportedly already available in Europe. CNet has more coverage here.


Industry news source Inside Radio reports this morning that as the lines between media platforms (and their usage) blurs, Arbitron intends to expand its focus into the Internet and mobile space.

Inside Radio quotes Arbitron executive VP of U.S. Media Services Sean Creamer as saying, “There’s inbound interest from outside our existing customer base and their interest is just not limited to television, internet, radio — it’s the combination of all and increasingly on the mobile side.”

Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr told the trade the move “can be exceedingly helpful to radio… Radio has got to
start to capitalize on the digital implications and possibilities.”

Enabling the new focus is Arbitron’s acquisition of Integrated Media Measurement Inc., which should help integrate Arbitron’s existing panels and PPM tech with mobile and online.

Arbitron has, in the past, rated Internet radio streams, originally with its “Arbitron Webcast Ratings.” Later, it revamped the service after acquiring Measurcast technologies. Most recently, it rating Net radio listening as a joint project with comScore (read RAIN coverage here ; the service ended quietly early last year, read here.)


According to data from comScore, Facebook’s U.S. traffic has increased 55% over the past year. Facebook attracted 151.13 million U.S. uniques in
October 2010, compared with 97.37 million uniques in October 2009. Since then, Facebook has unveiled many changes to pull new users to the site and keep old ones coming back.

One of the biggest changes, from Internet radio’s perspective, was the advent of the Open Graph API in April. The system allowed external sites (including early adopter Pandora) to access users’ Facebook data to present customized information about their friends’ activity on the site. RAIN has more coverage of Open Graph here and here, while Mashable covers Facebook’s growing traffic here.


Two new articles tackle the potential for radio and media brands in a more digital future. The first comes from MediaPost’s Ellen Oppenheim, who compares media brands to others and provides a handy 6-point check list. She asks, “are [media brands] ready to act like successful brands?” You can find that article here.

Meanwhile, Mark Ramsey writes that broadcasters are in fact “in the brand amplification business.” He points to recent announcements from Wired Magazine regarding licensing deals and wonders, “what does all this mean to the average broadcaster?” You can find his blog post here.

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