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RAIN 3/18: Radio expert says Net radio's low spot load could pressure broadcasters

Posted on: 03/18/2010

ROSS: “12-14 MINUTES OF SPOTS AN HOUR WILL NOT BE TENABLE MUCH LONGER

Radio expert Sean Ross was at the RAIN Summit North last Friday and heard Slacker VP of strategic development Jim Rondenelli declare his service has “not had a month since second quarter of last year when we did not sell out our inventory.” Ross’ reaction was, “Well, he would never be able to fill up 14 minutes an hour” (a typical spotload for broadcast radio). But he reconsiders this stance in his “Ross on Radio” column published Tuesday: “Slacker and Pandora will never have to fill 14 minutes of inventory. And it’s clear now that terrestrial radio is on the verge of its own Drake moment [Bill Drake who brought “more music” to Top 40 radio] where the expectation of an acceptable spotload is forever redefined—particularly as streaming radio continues its march to the dashboard.”

Ross continues, “Commercial FM music broadcasters must come to the realization today that the present 12-14 minutes of spots an hour will not be tenable much longer. And for many listeners they are untenable already…A drastically reduced spotload is going to become the new paradigm. And the only question is whether it’s going to be current commercial operators who offer it.” You can read Ross’ full column here.

PANDORA ROYALTY PAYMENTS ACCOUNT FOR 45% OF NON-INTERACTIVE STREAMS

Pandora recently announced it earned $50 million in 2009, but that nearly $30 million of that revenue was paid in royalty fees (RAIN coverage here). Now Digital Music News reports that Pandora accounts for roughly 44-45% of total SoundExchange royalties for non-interactive streams.

Moreover, Pandora founder Tim Westergren said the service represents “1 percent of the overall radio marketplace [that is, Pandora now accounts for about 1% of radio’s total U.S. listening]…multiply [Pandora’s royalty payments] by 100, and you get the found revenue flowing to labels and artists if we were in an Internet radio world instead of a broadcast world.” Digital Music News has more here.

WSJ: SPRINT’S FIRST 4G PHONE TO BE ANDROID-BASED, UNVEILED NEXT WEEK

The Wall Street Journal reports (here) that Sprint’s first 4G smartphone will be the Android-based HTC Supersonic, which will be unveiled next week at the CTIA industry conference. 4G networks deliver data at speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G (RAIN coverage here). There are also rumors buzzing that the Supersonic may have an FM radio tuner built in (more from Inside Radio here, subscription required).

INTERNET RADIO, SERVED VIA CUBE

Internet radio is delivered through a wide range of devices nowadays: phones, picture frames, beanbags, Bluray DVD players and cubes. We’ve seen cube Net radio players before (here) but InTouch’s IT3500 Wireless Internet Radio Cube is a bit more straightforward. The device features an attractive color screen on the front (useful for the radio’s secondary role as a digital picture frame) and back-lit controls on the top. The whole package begs to be the newest device on your bedside table, though there’s no word on pricing or availability yet. Wireless Goodness has more here.



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