Category Archives: TV/Radio

IAB Leadership Meeting: Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman

Clear Channel Entertainment CEO Bob Pittman, speaking today at IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Desert, said that radio has been able to leverage its undiminshed strength with digital providing a new channel and new listeners for the medium.

Pittman, a legenday industry figure who was one of the early leaders at MTV and then a leader at Six Flags over America, Century 21, AOL and Time Warner (and a BIA/Kelsey keynoter at ILM 2011), noted that “digital was the obvious way to go” for reinforcing Clear Channel’s value when he took the company’s helm a few years ago. “My entire career since the early 1970s has been about trying to find new ways to connect to the home,” he said. But now we have reversed it,” with the latest trends –driven by mobile — about doubling or even tripling out of home usage.

While digital is a great enabler, it is still not the centerpiece of marketing, Pittman stressed. “You want a product strategy.” With Clear Channel, his team has built out “I Heart Radio” with an annual, in person concert that leverages the comapny’s relationships with on air talent and musical artists. The concert is now the anchor of the company’s marketing, and has helped raise awareness of the digital channel to 70 percent (along with what Pittman described as millions of dollars worth of on-air advertising).

DataSphere: ‘Online Coupons Prove Value to SMBs’

Local media companies have increasingly zeroed in on smaller SMBs for growth. In many cases, however, they don’t have the resources to go after them. Enter DataSphere, which handles telemarketing, content and search optimization for its growing list of media company partners, while harnessing the media company’s local brand in each market.

The company was launched six years ago by former Amazon execs, and primarily works with TV station groups in 103 DMAs. The station groups include Gannett, Meredith, Cowles, Raycom, Fisher, Local TV, Morgan Murphy Media — and as of this month, Belo and Sinclair. Earier this year, DataSphere also launched services for Gannett’s Arizona Republic – its first newspaper. Adding Belo and Sinclair have provided a significant boost to the size of its network to 600 million page views a month.

DataSphere works with its partners on either a revenue share basis, or it buys space to place its inventory. Either way, the media partners don’t pay upfront and appreciate pure profit.

The 500 employee company, with offices in Seattle and Arizona, currently has over 20,000 SMB accounts through its partners. Each account is worth roughly $200 each on average, although the value of each account varies widely. Typical accounts come from such categories as restaurants, insurance, financial services, veterinarian hospitals, dentists and tree trimmers.

While the focus on SMBs has remained the same for the last 4 years, the offering has significantly changed. DataSphere’s initial efforts were centered largely on LocalNet, a platform for hyperlocal news content effort driving traffic to local blogs and SMB landing pages. LocalNet enabled DataSphere’s TV station partners to provide a more neighborhood-centric perspective.

Over time, the company has continued to provide a range of hyperlocal traffic drivers, including local event calendars and SMB landing pages. But it has expanded its anchor offerings to focus on coupons, which incorporate more tangible direct response components. Coupons in particular, clearly demonstrate value to SMBs, according to SVP Gary Cowan. “Unlike a news story, the beauty of coupons is that the content is the ad,” says Cowan.

Cowan notes that coupons are easily exposed beyond local media sites to a wide network of national coupon sites that localize, which includes such giants as coupons.com. The coupons also can be shown on multiple partners in a single market. In all, the DataSphere Coupon Network now attracts 40 million unique users a month.

The company’s coupon business also differs from traditional coupon leaders, such as Cox Target Media’s ValPak. “we offer a lower priced solution, which can be a better fit for many businesses,” says Cowan.

DataSphere’s marketing outreach, meanwhile, remains focused on telemarketing. Its 300-strong telemarketing sales force is based in Seattle and its growing Arizona office, with the majority of the growth planned for Phoenix. But the company is also doing more with self-serve advertising. The company learned from its roots in real estate leads that “self-serve develops warm leads,” says Cowan. “It leads to upsells for more extensive efforts.”

DataSphere SVP Gary Cowan appears on the Coupons section of the Deals Superforum at ILM West, along with ValPak President Michael Vivio and Savings.com CEO Loren Bendele.

The Super Lineup at ILM East March 26-28 (Boston)

ILM East is coming back to Boston March 26-28 with a lineup of do-ers and innovators that are transforming and re-defining the local space.

Highlights include a featured keynote from industry legend Ted Leonsis (Groupon Vice Chair/Amex Board Member/Sports team owner/AOL mastermind), along with keynotes/interviews from Jason Calacanis, Leslie Berland, Jay Herratti, Michael Zimbalist and Michael Silberman.

Other highlights of the 2 ½ day event includes a pre-conference rundown on Local search run by Andrew Shotland of Local SEO Guide; a full plate of Top BIA/Kelsey research and forecasts; a special Venture Capital panel; and innovator panels on Social, Mobile, Deals, Video and Hyperlocal (the latter co-moderated with Merrill Brown.)

KEYNOTES/KEYNOTE DISCUSSIONS
Ted Leonsis: Owner, Monumental Sports (Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards;) The Vice Chair of Groupon;, Board member of Amex, former Vice Chair of AOL; Author, The Business of Happiness
Jason Calacanis: CEO, Mahalo; Investor. Calacanis’ career has been at the cutting edge of local and social media and reflects all the big trends, from his development of The Silicon Alley Reporter to Weblogs (AOL), Mahalo, and the creation of TechCrunch50 and Launch.
Leslie Berland, Vice President, Social Strategy, American Express. Berland’s a major deal maker deeply involved in Amex’s mega FourSquare and Facebook deals.
Jay Herratti, CEO, CityGrid Media. Herratti always gets top rankings at our events. He runs IAC’s super quad of the CityGrid Media Network, Citysearch, UrbanSpoon and InsiderPages.
Michael Zimbalist, VP, Research Operations, New York Times Co. Zimbalist leads the NYT’s 12 person research unit. He’s deeply immersed in cutting edge social, mobile, tablet and video efforts.
Michael Silberman, GM, New York Magazine Silberman is the mastermind of NYMag’s development of a super set of verticals catering to the “New York state of mind.”).

FEATURED SPEAKERS
Bill Bice, CEO, SpaBoom
Merrill Brown, co-founder. MSNBC.com, Court TV
Jim Douglass, EVP, Cartera Commerce
Jere Doyle, CEO, EverSave
Walt Doyle, CEO, Where
Adam Japko, CEO, Digital Sherpa
Maria Kermath, Dir.,, New Tech & Sales Apps, AT&T Advertising Sales
Mark Josephson, SVP, AOL Local
Charlie Kim, CEO, Next Jump
John McIntyre, CEO, Pixelfish
Randa Minkarah, SVP, Revenue, Fisher Communications
Randy Parker, President, SMB Apps
Mark Schmulen, GM, Social Media, Constant Contact
Andrew Shotland, Publisher, Local SEO Guide
Andy Slater, VP, Digital Agency Sales, Katz 360
Christopher Tippie, CEO, FindNSave
Darren Waddell, EVP, Product and Corporate Marketing, Reply.com

Join hundreds of senior level local executives at ILM East for the local community’s best networking and insights. You can register here for earlier bird rates.


Internet Pioneer Ted Leonsis

CBS Goes Deeper with Local Content Via Examiner.com Deal

CBS plans to build deeper local online content by commissioning specific local topics for articles from thousands of writers at Examiner.com. Both parties were mum about whether there is revenue sharing involved, but did note that writers will receive a different payment plan than they receive on Examiner.com.

Leonard Brody, president of Clarity Digital, which is Examiner’s parent company, told BIA/Kelsey that the economics of the deal will make it profitable for both companies. Examiner has been approached by many media companies to lend its editorial resources. While such loaners of editorial resources aren’t likely to become a dominant revenue stream, “you may see us do a few more of these,” he says. CBS, for its part, is free to also work with other content aggregators and developers.

CBS brings to the table a network of 15+ city sites, such as CBS Denver, CBS Los Angeles, etc. Some sites have had customized Examiner.com content since December 5. “It is a great showcase, and brings great reach for content. It also provides strong credibility via the CBS brand,” says Brody.

While Examiner’s content for CBS will have some branding elements on it, the intent is not to bring people to Examiner.com, Brody emphasizes. It is CBS’ audience. CBS Local Media President Ezra Kucharz adds that the deal with Examiner is “a great way to augment our great content in local markets.”

New at ILM West: Google, Facebook, SoLoMo Day +++

ILM West is shaping up to be one of the great ones. Taking place Dec. 12-14 in downtown San Francisco, ILM West really reflects a sea change in local marketing from advertising to the new hybrid model of advertising and commerce (i.e. prepaid deals, reputation management, mobile app sales etc.).

We’ve made some big additions since our last update, starting with Google and Facebook. These add to the existing lineup, including our “rock stars” (Clear Channel CEO and industry legend Bob Pittman AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher, Media News Group/Journal Register CEO John Paton and Deseret Media and former Harvard Business School Professor Clark Gilbert), and major sessions on deals, offers, verticals and the whole spectrum of local trends.

We will pursue three unique angles on Google at ILM West:

1- The local efforts, under Marissa Mayer’s local team. Jeff Aguero, head of local marketing, will present on everything local, from Zagat, to Google Places, to the Big G’s new “Get Online” program for SMBs. These strategies have really developed since this summer.

2- The global reseller effort. Global Channels head Todd Rowe will engage in an in-depth conversation with BIA/Kelsey President Neal Polachek on all his efforts.

3- Google Mobile. Mobile and Local Search exec Surojit Chatterjee will provide insights into this critical area for Google as part of our All SoLoMo morning on Day 3.

We’re also going deep with Facebook at ILM West. Facebook’s new local leader Matt Idema is our afternoon keynote on Day 2, with a lot of new details and a progress report on the local and vertical strategies. On Day 1, we are also taking a special look at working with Facebook’s platform with execs from Trada, Oodle and Kenshoo Local/Social weighing in. Eager but not sure how to play with Facebook? You will be when ILM West is done.

The SoLoMo event on Day 3 itself is going to be quite the cornerstone for ILM West. Curated by the research teams from our Social Local Media and Mobile Local Media programs, SoLoMo features top line data; and indepth and fresh looks at SoLoMo implementations from leaders at Google, AT&T Interactive, Zaarly, PayPal, XAd, JiWire and AppStack (Steve Espinosa’s new project.)

You can see the full agenda here. And register here.

Remember: We are making a donation to the SF/Marin County Food Bank for all registrations that come in by Thanksgiving.

Matchbin Becomes Radiate Media; Focuses on Ad Network & Services

Matchbin has spent $10 million to acquire 800 radio and TV accounts from Navteq’s Radio and TV Group (formely Traffic.com). It has also raised $12 million for working assets from Silicon Valley Bank, and is rebranding the combined entity as Radiate Media. The money to acquire the Navteq broadcaster accounts came from Level Equity, Greycroft Partners and vSpring Capital.

The company will have dual headquarters in Malvern,PA and Salt Lake City, with additional offices in several media capitals. Radiate Media CEO Chris Rothey will now assume the same title for the combined entity, while Matchbin CEO Hal Widlansky becomes President and COO.

Matchbin been one of many vendors vying for local media partners to build an ad network and provide online services such as directories and SEO. It has been competing with the likes of CItyGrid Media, Local.com, Datasphere, Local Thunder, Planet Discover, Triton Online Services, MediaSpan, Ellington, ShopCity and others. The challenge has been to differentiate itself from the pack. One way has been to assert itself as a cutting-edge technology provider. Along these lines, it has focused on such things as providing mobile apps and iPad specific services.

The purchase of the Navteq broadcast accounts is a bolder move. It includes the accounts that had been grandfathered from Navteq’s $210 million purchase of Traffic.com in 2007, but never deeply integrated into the main business of providing map and data content to mobile carriers.

The new accounts will be added to Matchbin’s 1,300 existing media accounts – which are mainly newspaper and local news media. They now put Matchbin in 49 of the Top 50 markets, reaching 50 percent of U.S. households. Previously, Matchbin’s largest market was Orange County, CA via The OC Register. More typical markets were Marietta,GA and Albuquerque, NM. The company also reports having a base of 6,000 advertisers.

COO Hal Widlansky told us he likes the new positioning because it creates a network of 4,000 ad spots a day on the network. He also notes that the former Navteq properties will provide near-term cash flow, accounting for roughly 75 percent of the company’s revenue. Over time, however, he anticipates that the provision of online services from a variety of players will even things out. Much of the growth of the new company will come from the digital side of the business.

Mobile also figures largely in the company’s plans, adds Widlansky, especially with HTML 5 changing the mobile dynamic away from apps.

ClearChannel, Living Social Team for On-Air Deal Mentions

A new partnership between ClearChannel and Living Social is seeking to leverage the power of on air personalities on 500 Clear Chanel radio stations. The personalities will rap about the deals in unscripted segments. It would be interesting to know what the split is for something like this. The arrangement is described as a “commission.”

We know that on-air mentions by radio personalities provide a lift for websites and e-commerce – especially for things that have urgency requirements, such as events. But there hasn’t really been the much cross-over between the two channels.

Many station groups, however, are adding deals and other offers to their websites. BogoPod, for instance, leverages a local radio show for mentions. Similarly, Cumulus Media has developed its own daily-deal site, Sweetjack. That service will be live in 18 markets by the end of 2012. On a much broader basis, CBS Local stations push out deals powered by BluLabel. http://blulabel.com/ But we aren’t sure they have been pushing them with on air mentions.

ClearChannel CEO Bob Pittman is the opening keynoter at ILM West Dec. 12-14 in San Francisco.