The Download on Podcasting: Teaming Up with Texas A&M

August 22, 2016

During the past decade, podcasting has established itself as an increasingly formidable media presence. With more than 60,000 active podcasters on iTunes, generating almost 30,000,000 minutes of content last year alone and 20% of Americans listening each month, podcasting continues to expand, attracting new talent, audiences and advertisers.

With the ongoing growth of podcasting, DMR/Interactive and Texas A&M University’s Digital Media Research and Development Lab are partnering to examine the podcast space during the 2016-2017 academic year. The result will be “The Download on Podcasting,” a series of insights and perspectives released during the next twelve months.

According to Andrew Curran, President and COO of DMR/Interactive, “Radio’s traditional capital intensive barriers to entry including an FCC license, broadcast tower and studio facility, don’t exist in the same way anymore. As a result, the theory of scarcity has undergone a paradigm shift to a model built on abundance.”

Dr. Billy McKim, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University and Director, Digital Media Research and Development Lab believes, “When examining such a shift, it can be helpful to take a step back and look outside of radio. For example, craft beer now generates $22.3 billion dollars in sales each year and continues to gain market share. What was once the hobby of beer enthusiasts has become big business. Podcasting is on the verge of experiencing a similar growth trajectory.”

Areas to be studied include the effort to develop industry wide audience metrics, increased competition for talent and audience, the continued role of consumer mobility in distribution and consumption, and case studies of best in class podcasts.

McKim continues, “If you want to contribute your voice to The Download on Podcasting, we’d love to hear from you.” To participate, email podcast@dmrinteractive.com


Nintendo and Pokémon Go: Mobile Lessons for Radio

August 1, 2016

Nintendo began as a card game maker in 1889. Although it has evolved during the last 125 years, the latest Pokémon Go craze might just prove to be both the biggest opportunity and challenge yet for the company.

pokemon

Some observers are cynical about Pokémon Go, but in the immortal words of the Quad City DJ’s, “Please don’t knock it, until you ride it”.

After all, the numbers speak for themselves.

Since launching last month, Pokémon Go has already become the biggest mobile game in U.S. history. With more than 21 million daily active users, generating $2 million per day of in-game purchases, the stock price for Nintendo has increased 120% and added $23 billion in market cap.

Yet, Nintendo’s transformation into the mobile game space is far from complete or guaranteed.

According to The New York Times, “Nintendo’s drive has helped the Kyoto-based company produce some of the world’s most beloved games and play a major role in creating the modern global video game industry. Yet that same stubbornness and perfectionism led to missed opportunities. It skipped smartphones and app stores and dismissed partnering with other companies with potentially better ideas.”

As a result, after several years without a hit, while video game players started playing on mobile phones instead of consoles, Nintendo was forced to partner with Niantic Labs, a former Google company to launch Pokémon Go.

The NYT article continued, “It’s quite a big change,” said Serkan Toto, a game industry consultant in Tokyo. If Niantic had pitched Pokémon Go two years earlier, he said, “Nintendo wouldn’t have just said no, they wouldn’t even have listened.”

A recent Fast Company article paints an even starker picture of the challenges ahead, “Here’s a fact that many analysts have glossed over: Nintendo didn’t make Pokémon Go (Niantic Labs) …  As for publishing, those honors go to the Pokémon Company, which markets and licenses the franchise … Nintendo’s vague involvement in Pokémon Go isn’t a magic shortcut.”

Even when you add $23 billion in market cap in just two weeks, a feat that publicly traded radio groups would be fortunate to emulate, there is no such thing as a magic bullet. In fact the mobile game space is mostly one hit wonders for the developers including Angry Birds, Candy Crush and Draw Something, which has Nintendo further considering if they want to be the masters of their own destiny in mobile gaming or make huge profits licensing their characters such as Super Mario to others.

Not a simple question for an organization that views itself as “a company of Kyoto craftsman.”

Key Insights for Radio

Regardless of Nintendo’s future mobile direction, Pokémon Go has leveraged several recognizable characteristics to become a cultural phenomenon: Engagement, Retention, Virality, and Monetization.

These are lessons from the game that stations can strategically consider.

Engagement

According to Tech Crunch, Pokémon Go, “offers a quick ramp up that teases a lot of front-loaded rewards to get the player to come through the door and shut it behind them. That’s important to grab their attention, but there are also multiple layers of rewards that keep players wanting to stay in the game … There are different layers of currency built into the game that progress along different time curves, giving each layer of progression its own speed and flavor.”

In the same way, the relationship each P1 and P2 has with your station is not only unique, but each person is at a different point in their journey, not just with your station, but in their own lives.

When your core demo is 25-54, that represents people experiencing multiple life stages: before kids/early in their career, with kids/advancing their career and as an empty nester/with retirement coming into focus.

The value proposition of your station with these subsets of your core demo are going to vary.

Fortunately, we are no longer broadcasting to anonymous cume. We have the tools to build relationships and get to know your Super-Fans by name; while generating engagement, which keeps them coming back.

Retention

Right now, Pokémon Go is rapidly finding its way onto new devices at a rate of 4 to 5 million installs per day, but this pace won’t continue. The typical mobile game sees an attrition rate of 70% of its users after the first day. Meaning that 7 out of 10 who install it, never come back. For Pokémon Go, the tables are flipped and the game is seeing 70% of users return after the first day.

The ability to get more occasions from existing users will define the ultimate success of Pokémon Go.

Same with radio. Heavy listeners turn on the radio just 31 times per week. Your ability to win more of these occasions is critical to your ongoing success. A lot of time and effort goes into extending TSL, but it all begins with your brand being top of mind, as they seek out audio content on the infinite dial (playlist, podcast, Pandora or your station).

Virality

As this game design gets people off the couch and into the world, people are seeing people play and hearing people talk about it, which gets them to download the app and start playing it too. As reported in Tech Crunch, “A lot of people consider it to be an augmented-reality experience, and in many ways you could consider it to be that. But it’s not just an experience that uses your camera to play — it’s an experience that crosses the boundary between an imaginary universe and the real world.”

This concept isn’t new. Radio calls crossing the boundary between imagination and reality, “Theater of the Mind.” Just like Pokémon Go, radio’s ability to take the audience in and out of both worlds is a key reason why people seek us out.

In fact, we’ve long been creating content that gets people talking around the “office water cooler.” Now we have the opportunity to identify these Amplifiers by name and leverage them to bring more people to the station. Across markets and formats, 75% of the people who engage with the station after being invited by a friend are brand new to the station.

Monetization

In Pokémon Go, the best features aren’t gated behind a paywall. As a result, “Players don’t feel compelled to spend money, and instead they’re offered a delightful experience when they elect to spend money.”

In a similar way, Facebook regularly surveys users on the types of ads they specifically want to see, because FB understands that ads impact user engagement and retention.

FB Survey

Not only is Facebook delivering relevant organic content to individual users, but undesirable ads will cost more to serve, if they get seen at all. Delightful experiences and relevant ads are the standard on mobile. When the device is with you 24/7 and you check it 150 times per day, apps that serve irrelevant content (paid or organic) won’t last.

Compare both of these monetization strategies with the knowledge many stations have that their spot load is too high without even factoring in whether the individual ads are relevant and engaging to the user. Streaming with all of the PSA’s creates an even bigger issue of providing relevant and engaging paid content. The overall streaming experience is problematic and part of the reason that it adds so little to overall listening.

Yet there are great ways to offer deals and experiences that money can’t buy to your Super-Fans. We call it Privileged Access and along with bringing in additional revenue from your best advertisers, it deepens the connection between Super-Fans and the station.

Radio is no longer being judged on smart phones by what the competition is doing up and down the dial. Your listeners are comparing their experience with you to their favorite digital brands including Netflix, ESPN, Amazon, Facebook and Pandora.

For more information on Privileged Access, which connects your best advertisers with your Super-Fans, contact us today.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Doug Smith , Tripp Eldredge and the rest of the DMR/Interactive team, thanks for reading.

– Andrew Curran, President and COO, DMR/Interactive


UPDATED FACEBOOK ALGORITHM: Opportunity for Radio to Leverage Biggest Fans

July 3, 2016

Each year radio stations provide Facebook with millions of dollars in free exposure, often promoting the social media platform ahead of their own station website. After spending most of the last decade building Likes, it is becoming increasingly difficult for stations to organically reach their fans on Facebook.

facebook45The latest changes to the Facebook algorithm will further reduce organic brand visibility on the platform in favor of content posted by users. This continues a trend dating back to January 2015 of the company giving preference to content from individuals over brands.

Station posts about an upcoming event or on-air feature that would have previously reached 10,000 fans, regularly now reach less than 500.

Meanwhile, Facebook remains the 800 pound gorilla of social media with platforms such as Twitter providing a fraction of the audience.

Facebook is the virtual version of the conversation around the office water cooler. As a result, stations have an opportunity to engage their most passionate and active listeners as a cornerstone of their social media strategy.

Here are insights that stations can use to build vibrant online communities of passionate fans following the latest changes announced by Facebook.

  • Know Your Audience by Name: Look at the names of the people in the target demo who are consistently liking and commenting on current posts. Reach out to them directly in the voice of the brand, thanking them for their interest and enthusiasm. Ask them to be part of the station’s social media advisory board. If the first responsibility of members is to promote relevant and engaging station content, they will gladly do it.
  • Invite your fans to select your posts as a “See First” pick:
    1. Hover over “Following” or “Liked” near their cover photo
    2. Select “See First”
    3. Keep in mind, your content needs to be consistently worth “Seeing First” before you ask people to take this action.
  • Super Serve Contest Winners: When someone wins a prize, before they get off the phone, ask them to post about it with a specific hashtag, “#(Station name) loves me.” Winners are excited, yet they are an underutilized social media asset. Best of all, since it’s content from an individual, it won’t be suppressed. In addition, when winners pick up their prize, stations should encourage them to take pictures in the studio on their smartphone. Once again, they are willing to share their excitement and it’s user-created content that will be Liked and Commented on by their friends.
  • Like and Comment on Content Created by Your Super-Fans and Amplifiers: Social media is a two way street. Just as fans Like and Comment on station content, be part of their conversations as well. Especially when their posts embody the lifestyle of the brand. It’s another way that stations can use the algorithm to their advantage, while engaging directly with P1s.

Radio has tremendously passionate and enthusiastic fans. This most recent Facebook announcement is a great opportunity for stations to build deeper relationships with those who matter most. For more information on how to maximize the latest Facebook changes and drive results with social media, email dmr360@dmrinteractive.com. Read the rest of this entry »


Olympic Moms: The First Gold Medalists of Rio

June 6, 2016

Proctor and Gamble is the world’s largest advertiser, spending $8.3 billion per year. By comparison, GM at #2 spends $5.1 billion.

In recent years, P&G has put its advertising under tremendous scrutiny and review as it has reduced its annual overall investments by $1.4 billion since 2013.

What hasn’t changed along the way is the company’s relentless focus on its core customer and winning the Moment of Truth whether in the grocery aisle or increasingly on Amazon.com.

In fact, the bigger the stage, the more focused the message. This summer during the Rio Olympics, P&G is once again putting the spotlight on Olympic moms.

In support of this ad, which has already received almost 15,000,000 views on YouTube, the company said:

“It takes someone strong to make someone strong. This summer, as we celebrate the world’s athletes at the 2016 Olympic Games, let’s not forget the person whose strength inspired them along the way: Mom.
Thank you, Mom.”

As a longtime Olympic sponsor, Proctor and Gamble has simultaneously earned the priceless position of “Proud Sponsor of Moms.”

According to Adweek, “The final onscreen lines of the new spot are perfect, too: ‘It takes someone strong to make someone strong.’ That’s an even better exclamation point than the ‘Best Job’ coda (‘The hardest job in the world is the best job in the world’).”

As moms put together their grocery lists, it helps to know that P&G and their 25 billion dollar brands have their back. This position helps brands like Tide, Always, and Crest win the Moment of Truth, even though they are regularly the highest priced product in their aisle.

Who’s the Equivalent of an Olympic Mom for Radio?

Olympic moms represent the moms everywhere that P&G is dedicated to super serving. Who would be your equivalent target consumer and more importantly how do you celebrate them?

Radio listening is done primarily by employed persons. Even millennials, and so much justified concern about their listening habits, utilize more radio as they settle down and start families. After all, they have to evolve and make money to buy all those premium P&G brands like Pampers.

However, winning the workday is not the domain of only a few formats and it’s a stronghold that radio cannot take for granted. In fact, it’s possible that middays will quickly become our strongest daypart once the driverless car emerges, which some predict will happen by the next Summer Olympics in 2020.

Winning the Moment of Truth, the point when someone starts consuming audio, is possible only if they are thinking of you first. If they are thinking of their Spotify playlist, favorite Sirius channel, or another station, you lose that critical tune first occasion.

Consistently getting to know your Super-Fans by name not only maximizes the investment of your marketing dollars, but it gives you a long term competitive advantage.

While you Win the Moment and drive ratings in the current quarter, you are also capturing information and building relationships that will continue to pay dividends in the future.

For more information on how to maximize the impact of your marketing, contact us to schedule a confidential discussion.

– Thanks for reading. Andrew Curran, President and COO, DMR/Interactive


Data You Can Drink: Gatorade Gets Personal

May 9, 2016

“It’s about whether you want to be a premium brand or not. If you want to play in the premium space, then you have to be delivering personalization.”

Coming from a Silicon Valley executive, this quote wouldn’t be newsworthy. Instead it’s a Gatorade executive highlighting the essential role of data analytics for all brands.

 

As Fast Company exclusively reported, Gatorade’s high tech focus can be traced back to 2014 and the decision “to build an internal innovation unit to look beyond bottle shapes and new flavors and toward a higher mission. After all, something had to be done. Gatorade sales in the first half of 2009 had fallen 18% year over year; new competitors such as VitaminWater, Red Bull, and Monster had gained influence and market share.”

The new smart cap bottle communicates with a Band-Aid like smart patch that is monitoring the sweat content of each athlete so that the right nutrients are being replaced at just the right time to maintain optimal performance.

While it’s currently being tested at professional levels including the Boston Celtics and Kansas City Chiefs, a consumer version will be available to weekend warriors later this year. After all, personalization has become the norm if you want to be a premium brand.

Super serving these Super-Fans isn’t just about treading water amidst increased competition. For Gatorade, “the potential for growth is gigantic.”

Another platform with an interesting perspective on the power of data insights is ReverbNation, the online platform that helps 4 million musicians manage their careers with 200,000 songs uploaded per month.

The site, which regularly launches innovative tools, has a new algorithm that identifies specific artists generating unique levels of interest and buzz. As a result, these musicians can be cultivated and a pathway can be identified whether it’s licensing their music on TV shows or the opportunity to appear at a summer music festival.

As Simon Perry, ReverbNation’s chief creative officer and head of A&R says in a recent interview, “We use a whole array of different little signals. The patterns that those signals make tell us something.”

However, even in the world of data analytics there are no magic bullets.

As Perry continues, “You can’t get a load of data and say, ‘This band with this data profile is going to be the next Coldplay.’ But you can say, ‘For this band with this data profile, history teaches us that we should do [certain] things.’”

In a similar way, when you know your heavy P1s by name and study the composition of your ratings, it empowers you to do more of some activities and less of others.

By leveraging data insights, our Audience Management platform empowers clients to personalize the experience of Super-Fans and P1s of the competition. Especially during the 90% of their lives spent not listening to the radio. By Winning the Moment off-air, stations win more listening occasions from those who matter most to their ratings and revenue.

In addition, by building innovative partnerships with companies including PromoSuite and Research Director, we find new ways to help stations incorporate data insights and maximize their ROI.

For more information on how to turn data analytics into your own competitive advantage, contact us to schedule a confidential discussion.

– Thanks for reading. Andrew Curran, President and COO, DMR/Interactive


WrestleMania 32: To Be the Man You Gotta Beat the Man

April 10, 2016

It’s not easy to follow Donald Trump (the focus of our previous End Result that generated significant conversation), but if you had to pick one man for the job, Vince McMahon is a fine choice.

Photo Courtesy of WWE

 

Last week at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Vince drew a record crowd of 101,763 to watch WrestleMania 32. If your recent awareness of wrestling has involved Hulk Hogan in a court room, although both are spectacles, the squared circle offers some valuable business insights.

Here’s a look at the record setting event as reported in the Miami Herald.

• Most social event in WWE history, according to Nielsen Social with 2.5 million mentions on Twitter throughout the day and 1.3 million mentions during the broadcast alone, an increase of 50 percent and 18 percent year-over-year, respectively.

• More than 250 million video views across WWE.com, WWE App and social media during WrestleMania Week, an increase of 122 percent year-over-year.

• Reached 1.82 million global households on WWE Network alone, making it the most-watched WrestleMania in history, with pay-per-view data still forthcoming.

• WWE Network subscribers viewed 21.7 million hours during WrestleMania Week or 12 hours per subscriber during the week. This compares to 15 million hours last year, a year-over-year increase of 45 percent.

Masters of the show, the WWE has an even better understanding of the business and the changing media landscape. With over 1 million subscribers to their own WWE Network, the company is positioning itself for the future of video consumption. “Ultimately, the current cable world will splinter, and controlling your own distribution network will be incredibly valuable.

When the day comes that WWE Raw stops airing live each week on USA, the WWE subscriber base will accelerate towards its target of 4 million monthly subscribers as they continue to build a multi-platform content strategy.

Yet, buried in the recent WrestleMania coverage was Vince McMahon’s most important move, WWE HIRES NEW SVP OF DATA STRATEGY.

Pamela Murrin comes to WWE from Time Warner Cable and she previously held senior level positions at HBO and American Express.

In this newly created role, “Murrin will be a key member of the WWE senior management team, responsible for leading an adaptive and innovative data analytics practice.”

The product in the ring might be pre-determined, don’t call it fake, as Shane McMahon jumped from 20 feet in the air before crashing onto a table at WrestleMania (click image below to see video), but the importance of identifying those who matter most is clearly very real.

However, the record breaking consumption during WrestleMania Week wasn’t evenly distributed across subscribers as reported in the headlines.

15-20% of the audience drove 80% of the 21.7 million hours. Generating insights about these heavy users and leveraging these Super-Fans is job #1 for Ms. Murrin.

In the same way, our Audience Management platform is a powerful tool that helps radio stations unify data sources such as mobile, social, email and other platforms to generate a complete view of the audience and to get to know the listeners by name who drive your ratings and revenue.

For more information on how to turn data analytics into your own competitive advantage, contact us to schedule a confidential discussion.

– Thanks for reading. Andrew Curran, President and COO, DMR/Interactive


Trump Mania: Make Your Workday (and America) Great Again!

March 14, 2016

While mobster John Gotti inspired the name “The Teflon Don,” Donald Trump seems to be perfecting it. So far on the campaign trail, it doesn’t matter what group he offends or how many products with his name have failed. He just keeps rolling along.

As Advertising Age reports, when you’re The Donald, “There is a method to the madness, and from finding a need and filling (or exploiting) it … to tapping into consumer emotions, lessons can be gleaned from the campaign.”

Let’s start with an obvious disclaimer. As Ad Age notes, “a lot of what works for Mr. Trump would seem like brand suicide for a traditional marketer.”

Setting aside the offensive rhetoric, let’s take a look at the strategy he uses to get his point across and how it applies to radio.

Lesson #1: Be Bold and Less Apologetic. In a recent Republican debate, it was brought up that Trump had made multiple campaign contributions to Hillary’s past campaigns. What would be a knockout punch to other candidates was shrugged off. After all, he said, “I’m in business.”

If Trump owned radio stations, imagine him being asked about streaming audio, in interviews or by analysts. “Talk to me when Pandora or Spotify makes money. Next question.”

More importantly he’d be making sure his advertisers, employees and listeners all knew that radio is the 800 pound gorilla of audio.

Trump would also be happy to remind people, “If Pandora is so great at music discovery. Why are they helping you discover new artists you’ll never care about or want to listen to again? Just skip to the next song they play by an artist that you actually discovered on the radio or better yet, just turn on your favorite station.”

Lesson # 2: People Do What’s in Their Self-Interest. US News used the term “Marketer-in-Chief” to describe Trump. The article goes on to say that people support a brand, “because they believe it’s in their self-interest.” Hence the populist appeal on the campaign trail of Make America Great Again!

In a similar way, workers are frustrated with their daily commute and their jobs. For most, both are necessary to receive a paycheck. As a result, Trump would waste no time reminding people that it’s in their self-interest to listen to the radio in the car and at-work.

In fact, he’d empower people to Make Your Commute and Your Workday Great Again. A simple, yet powerful message that he would bring to life by consistently articulating radio’s existing core strengths.

Lesson #3: Focus on Your Most Passionate Fans. While other candidates are busy courting undecided voters, Trump’s strategy, focuses exclusively on his target audience.  As Email Insider reports, Trump has honed in on his segment of the party faithful and all of his messaging toward it, apparently not caring whether his outrageous statements resonate with moderate voters.”

Trump would size up radio the same way. In any major market, the #1 station often has less than 10% share, which means 90% are listening to someone else. Hardly a populist mandate. Yet, he would see how much money can be made from consistently delivering P1s in a target demo.

Coupled with the ongoing nature of PPM participation, he would hyper focus his on-air and off-air messaging to build relationships with his most passionate fans. He would see marketing as his programming off-air and his programming as his on-air marketing.

Will these strategies work in a general election? Too early to tell.

Right now, he’s not at that phase of the campaign yet. He understands how the game is currently played and what he needs to do at live events and on social media to Win the Moment and capture delegates.

While as an industry radio needs to be bolder and less apologetic, consistently dominant stations are already focusing on their most passionate fans (P1s) and tapping into their self-interest, which drives occasions and TSL.

A strong marketing strategy doesn’t just work for The Donald. Take a look at our latest campaign victories across ownership groups, markets and formats at dmrinteractive.com/win.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to vote.

Andrew Curran, President and COO


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