In-car entertainment? Bring your own, industry says

January 9, 2008

In-car entertainment? Bring your own, industry says: “LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Car travelers should get used to plugging in their own entertainment gear as all but luxury automakers give up a decades-long struggle to build in the latest audio and video equipment.

(Via Jeff Schmidt’s starred items in Google Reader.)


Duh, Duh, Duh, Duuuuuuh

February 1, 2007

NBC: Streaming Extends Reach of Shows: ”

February 1, 2007

NBC: Streaming Extends Reach of Shows

Mike Shields

JANUARY 31, 2007 –

NBC has discovered that some fans of its top prime-time shows are using as their de facto DVR, while curious non-fans are using the site to sample shows they’ve never seen on TV.

According to new research released by NBC, 78 percent of users who’ve streamed full-length episodes of shows on NBC Rewind–’s video player–watched episodes of series that they regularly watch but missed on broadcast TV, according to a research study conducted by the independent firm Insight Express. The network says that dynamic is helping extend the reach of these shows, and unlike with shows recorded using DVRs, fans can’t skip advertisements on NBC Rewind. In fact, 81 percent of those surveyed said that they recalled specific pre-roll ads that were streamed alongside NBC’s shows after two “

(Via .)

Appointment media is dying. TV has an answer. Does radio?

Self Inflicted Disruption

January 11, 2007

iPhone = self-inflicted disruption.

Not only does it disrupt the cell phone market – it also leads the way in a movement that eventually means disrupting and then killing off the iPod.

iPhone won’t kill the iPod all by itself – and it won’t happen this year. Or even next.

But it’s clearly the first bold step in a journey that will eventually make the iPod concept – (the solo portable mp3/movie player) obsolete.

The very product that brought Apple mainstream success and adulation is now having it’s death carefully orchestrated by Apple themselves.

And in radio?

PPM, HD Radio, Internet streaming, Satcasters, The Youth problem etc… – all opportunities to re-make our business and invent the NEXT way.

Instead fear, trepidation, worry and a desperateness to “protect” what was and is appear to be the industry’s average reaction.

And if we really think HD Radio = disruption . . . consider what “HD Radio” might look like if it were made by a 3rd party not tied to protecting the current interests of the radio industry. What if HD Radio were invented by a company or group of independent radicals whose sole interest was to make the radio listening experience BETTER for listeners rather than preserve and protect the group owners?

Think TiVo – not TV Guide.

Dial ‘M’ for Murder me

January 11, 2007

Dial ‘M’ for Marketing: ”


Monday, January 8, 2007


Dial ‘M’ for Marketing

January 08, 2007

By Kenneth Hein

NEW YORK — It’s a grey winter day for train commuters on the Northeast Corridor. Crammed into his seat on his way into Manhattan, a businessman uses his cell phone to log onto just to see if there’s some sunshine on the way. The forecast comes up on the phone’s screen: ‘Seventeen inches of snow expected by the weekend.’ The commuter moans aloud. Just then, a bright blue banner ad with white lettering pops up on and grabs his attention. ‘Aruba,’ it says.

Which gets the businessman thinking. It has been a long time since he’s had a vacation. He clicks on the banner ad, and his phone dials an 800 number, connecting him to an Aruba Tourism booking agent.”

If anyone ever wants to know why I dislike most advertising, it’s because the people who create it think like this.

The premise that a BANNER AD on my CELLPHONE is, will, or even COULD BE perceived as a choir of angels is idiocy.

The “reality” is – the Aruba ad most likely interrupted or stood between me and the forecast I went online to get in the first place.

Cranky? Perhaps – but I’m not alone.

According to a study of 2,000 users conducted by Weekly Reader Research, Stamford, Conn., on Brandweek’s behalf. Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., found 79% of consumers are turned off by the idea of ads on their phones and a mere 3% of respondents said they trust text ads.

“Relevance” is a new buzzword. Everyone thinks all they have to do is make their message “relevant” and it’s full steam ahead.

The problem is that they don’t really know what’s relevant to you. They only know what you’re looking for – so they’ll take every connection imaginable to that 1 sliver of information – and use it to justify sticking all kinds of seemingly relevant messages in between you and what you’re really after.

Obviously, to some people, the Aruba ad mentioned above appears “relevant”. It’s not.

It’s relevant to people looking to book a trip to Aruba, not to someone who wants to know if they should buy a new snow shovel on the way home tonight.

There’s no market for messages.

There’s a thin market for relevant messages.

Creative license for 6 degrees of separation does not a relevant ad make.

Mobile Music = too rich for my blood

January 10, 2007

Via C-Net Apple’s iPhone a threat to mobile operators?

Music and internet streaming over cell phone is supposed to be the killer app. And while I personally can’t wait for true mobile internet the carriers currently charge confiscatory rates.

n Verizon and Sprint charge a premium for over-the-air downloads.

While iTunes charges 99 cents per song for downloading a song onto a computer, Sprint charges $2.50 per song and Verizon charges $1.99 per song for downloads onto cell phones.

What’s more, Sprint customers are also required to pay additional fees to access the network. The company recommends that customers subscribe to one of three data plans, which guarantee them the $2.50 fee per song. The plans are priced at $15, $20 and $25 per month. The $20 plan allows people to get one free download per month. The $25 plan allows for four free music downloads per month. Beyond that, customers pay the $2.50 per song.

Verizon has revamped its pricing and subscribers are only charged $1.99 per song plus the minutes it takes to download the song, which is anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute.

And how many of these high-price downloads are taking place?

Sprint launched its music service more than a year ago, and it claims to have sold more than 11 million music downloads over its wireless network.

Verizon, which launched its VCast service last year, claims to be selling more than 1 million downloads per month.

Find the people paying for those downloads and you’re looking at some of the stupidest people alive. Or – kids with fully parent subsidized cell phones.

Same difference.

Clear Channel and Culture of Innovation

January 10, 2007

I have to hand it to Clear Channel – they’re trying new things.

After killing off it’s San Jose, CA Alternative Station “channel 1049” for a spanish format – Clear Channel uses the database of 7000 “Channel Fans” to promote it’s new interactive radio station on wheels.


Check out the inside pics HERE

Full story – | 01/10/2007 | Kava: Clear Channel launches two interactive radio stations on wheels

“”These are rolling radio stations, although they never use the word radio. They are WiFi Internet stations, programmed partly by listeners at www., with video screens, blaring waterproof speakers running 24/7, and a computer keyboard and screen and a large microphone in the back seat, from which street DJs can do commentary””.

I’m sure most if not all the 7000 Channel Fans would just as soon have their favorite radio station back than the chance for it’s gimmicky mobile offspring to show up at their door and let them DJ an hour.

But honestly – it’s a neat idea. And making it actually happen? That’s most impressive to me.

I can imagine sitting in the meeting where this idea came up – I can imagine the the grimaces of disapproval, groans and strings of “logic” it had to overcome.

It’s not that the idea is so great – it’s that this same idea probably would never have made it out of the “creative meeting” at any other broadcaster’s conference room.

On that alone I have to give it major kudos. Once the creative door is opened – once it’s shown that ideas will be tried – risks will be taken – more ideas will be born by more people and an entire culture of innovation can be born.

Radio desperately needs a culture of innovation.

Very little new ever happens in radio – it’s creative process is so often one of simply re-wording old ideas.

I find it exciting to see radio people being given the ability and freedom to do something different – to take risks and get creative about how “radio” can be done.

Ideally this will inspire other broadcasters to take risks and try new things.

We’re Way Beyond Streaming Now – REDUX

January 10, 2007

With all the CES, Apple and Detroit gadget/tech news coming out – it’s tempting for radio folks to ask “how can we get our station(s) on that new device?”

We’re beyond that now.

Streaming our stations online is the absolute LEAST we can do. It’s the bare minimum requirement to even be allowed to participate in the brave new mainstream personal digital space we’re watching being born right now.

I wouldn’t expect high fives for streaming. It’s like expecting a raise for simply showing up to work everyday.

Here’s a post of mine from July 2006 on this issue.

Getting radio stations to stream online seems like a no-brainer in 2006.

But for many it’s not yet a “no-brainer”. I’ll hit that issue another time.

But for the pro-streaming folks – the question remains – what then?

Is it enough to hook up an audio encoder to our station’s broadcst, pump the bits onto the internet and say “we’re high-tech now“?


Content needs to change to take advantage of the unique opportunities of the medium.

With Newspapers – moving the content online actually makes it BETTER.

Online Newspaper content is search-able, archive-able, copyable, comment-able, e-mailable, reference-able – forward-able – all things the physical paper version is not.

How does putting a radio broadcast online make the CONTENT better?

Streaming our regular broadcast online seems a bit like the early days of TV where the radio shows were performed in front of a camera.

But then, the very nature of the visual content changed to take advantage of the unique opportunities the Television medium offered.

Just as TV people saw that television was much much more than “radio with pictures“ – WE need to see that the internet is NOT just another kind of AM/FM transmitter.

So, let me re-phrase –

How CAN putting a radio broadcast online make the CONTENT better?

What are the opportunities to evolve our product online?

How can we take advantage of the NEW 2 way street that broadcasting on the web allows?

Just in case it’s not clear – this is not an argument AGAINST streaming radio signals online.

It’s an argument against thinking that alone is good enough.

The internet is a perfect tool to re-fashion “radio” under our own existing brands in a brave new medium – to “Fix the Things That Suck” about radio (yes – there are things that suck – admitting it is the first step) and doing the disruptive things that can only be done ONLINE.

For example – Pandora – should have been a creation of the RADIO INDUSTRY. If we are truly a business filled with people that LOVE radio – Pandora would have come out of our own test kitchens.

Remaking what “radio” means in the personal digital space is practically the Radio industry’s birth-right.

But if we can’t see our digital future as anything more than a direct stream of our broadcast signal online & HD Radio – we shouldn’t be too surprised when we discover that no one cares.