Monday, November 30, 2009

Mel, Howard, Liberty, World Space, and SiriusXM

Two stories surfaced on Reuters regarding the future of SiriusXM.  One about distribution and the other a story we've seen before--Mel and Howard getting ready to do the contract dance.  Hadn't seen these stories in the trade press yet--thought you might find them interesting. 

Sirius, Liberty could do WorldSpace deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sirius XM Radio Inc (SIRI.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) could team up with Liberty Media Corp (LINTA.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to take its satellite radio offerings global through a partnership with WorldSpace Inc (WRSPQ.PK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Chief Executive Mel Karmazin said on Monday.
"We understand that Liberty has expressed an interest in WorldSpace," Karmazin said at the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York.
But if a partnership with Liberty does come about, Sirius would not invest any money, he added.
"We would put our expertise and experience in the pot and Liberty would put their money in the pot," Karmazin said.
Liberty Media, controlled by cable pioneer John Malone, rescued Sirius from a possible bankruptcy filing earlier this year with a loan of $520 million. In return, Liberty secured a 40 percent equity stake in the company.
Through a subsidiary, Liberty Media has also bought up the debt of WorldSpace recently, leading to speculation that Malone would seek to combine Sirius and WorldSpace. Most of WorldSpace satellite radio's subscribers are in Asia and Africa.
"So one would think that if Liberty were to do something there that they would want as strategic partner somebody who has successfully done satellite radio in 5 percent of the world," Karmazin said.
Such a partnership could involve Sirius bringing its relationships with car makers and expertise in building satellite radio gear to WorldSpace's operations, he added.

(Reporting by Anupreeta Das and Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Tiffany Wu and Richard Chang)

Sirius CEO Karmazin limbers up for the Howard Stern dance

Posted by: Alexei Oreskovic
Tags: Media and Communications, Mediafile, , , , , ,
It’s been five years since Sirius lured shock jock Howard Stern to satellite radio with a $500 million contract. Whether Stern can re-up with a similar deal when his contract expires at the end of next year is anyone’s guess, but it ought to be entertaining. Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin is preparing himself for negotiations with the self-proclaimed King of All Media.
In a meeting with reporters at the Reuters Media Summit on Monday, Karmazin gave us a thumbnail sketch of his version of “The Art of the Deal.”
“I could tell you, it will start with Howard feeling that he is working too hard and doing too many shows and not making enough money. Our side would say, ‘We want you to do more, and get less money,’” Karmazin said.
“That would be how we would go into the room once the time came to go into the room. And the hope would be that we would come out with Howard staying with our service,” he said.
Karmazin praised Stern as “a talent like no other in radio,” but would not say whether such a talent was still worth a half billion dollars.
“You have to now assume that the negotiations are at a stage where everything is in print, so if I were to say, yes, we got every penny’s worth, Howard would come in with that piece of paper and say ‘See? I sold myself too cheap,’” he said.
Stern is one of the biggest draws of Sirius XM’s satellite radio service, which counts 18.5 million subscribers. His decision to exit FM radio for Sirius in 2004 is credited with establishing satellite radio as an established form of media, though some analysts have also noted that high-priced contracts like Stern’s contributed to financial woes that pushed Sirius to the brink of bankruptcy earlier this year.
Stern is not the only big personality whom Karmazin may face at the bargaining table; Oprah Winfrey’s contract for her Sirius talk show ends in 2011. While Karmazin said he has not yet had talks with Oprah, he said that satellite radio could become a more valuable promotional tool for Oprah once she quits her broadcast TV show.
Asked whether Oprah or Stern was the tougher negotiator, Karmazin said both previously got the best of him.
“I’ll tell you who was the worst negotiator: It was always Mel because they got all that money from me.”


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Do You Know The Way To Creativity?

There are many detours in our work lives that distract us or prevent us from being our creative best.  When we are focused on creativity it sometimes can become a chore given the pressures surrounding us. 

Here's a short deck of helpful thoughts on creativity. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Is Facebook An Effective Advertising Tool?

Does your station have a fan page on Facebook?  Looking to attract fans to your page?  Want to do it for a reasonable price?  Facebook offers targeted advertised, by region and demo, to reach out to your listeners.  You know, those ads on the right-hand column of every page.  You can buy ads by impressions or clicks--your choice.  I have a client who was looking to build up its Facebook presence and we decided to give it a try. 

The station that is testing this out is a Top 40--targeting young adult women. 

Here's how it's going:

We've been up and running for about three weeks, in that time we have increased our fan's by a whopping 260%!  We spent around $1,500.00.  About 2/3 of those who clicked the ad have became fans.  And we have had over 5 million impressions.  

Everyone involved is very happy with the results.  Not hard to imagine given how well it's worked for us. 

Next steps:  engage our new fans in meaningful ways. 

That will be the subject of a future blog. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mood Music

Came across a music site that programs the tunes according to your mood.  Seems to be more word based than mood based, but an interesting idea none-the-less. Click here or the picture to check it out. 

An All-Time High

A new Nielsen study reveals that daily televison viewership has reached an all-time high.

Interesting at a time when radio stations are fighting to maintain their declining TSL.
Nielsen says, "For the 2008-2009 TV season, the amount of television watched reached an all-time high as Americans spent four hours and 49 minutes a day on average in front of the TV, up four minutes from last year and up 20% from 10 years ago. The average household watched eight hours and 21 minutes a day on average, also at an all-time high".
Certainly there are many differences between radio and TV. One of the biggest being the expanding channel line up on cable and satellite which expanded the programming choices 24/7.  I also believe the DVR has played a large role and has fueled the expanding viewing patterns buy sucking people into watching more episodes in less time as the can skip the spots.

The bottom line for radio can be summarized in three words:  content, engagement, digital. Program entertainment or information worth listening to, entice your users to participate, and use the available digital tools to provide your unique content on multiple levels. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cloudy Skies Ahead

No, this post isn't about weather forecasting.  In fact, the cloud referenced in the title is all about information and entertainment.  In your car.  Soon.  All from a system that hosts all of your information and entertainment choices in a cloud. is always good for scaring the digital bits and bites out of to speak.

Automobiles will soon be linking up with servers in the cloud to enable everything from crowdsourced pothole detection, personalized radio stations, video selections that include YouTube and even video streams from the front windows of other cars.

Yeah, but how fast will it be? 
a high speed LTE internet connection that promises to make 3G feel like dial-up.
The cloud will do a lot of the heavy lifting thus reducing the installed hardware needed in each car; potentially keeping costs within reach of the average buyer.  
“Once you assume constant connectivity, the whole mindset changes of where you partition what’s in the car and what’s out in the cloud,” said Dodge. “Other than this nice, rich touch screen, a lot of the computing power has been moved onto the cloud, so the car of the future may be physically cheaper to build.”
 Of course they have to mention radio in more detail...
The losers in all of this: satellite navigation and radio. They appear to have about three years, tops, before personalized applications and cloud computing make them look as outdated as black-and-white television.
Thanks for that!

Look, we already knew this was coming.  No surprise here.  Surely audio streaming will be part of the plan for these systems and they probably will still provide traditional radio tuners as well--so we'll still be in the game. 

Like now, how good we are will determine how well we do.

How well will you do when your competition is 40,000 competitors vs. the 30 or 40 radio stations in your market now? 

Read the full article here

Monday, November 2, 2009

Don't Target Me!

"...most people who are members of online communities don't really want to be the targets of marketing campaigns..."

I have been and continue to be a loud voice regarding the need and value of utilizing social networks for radio stations.  But, the prize here is not only promotions and forced listening events BUT relationships and engagement on a higher level.   

Does your station offer something worthy of that deeper relationship?  Something interesting enough to cause two-way communication between the station, a station personality, and the listener(s).  Worthy of telling a friend?  Valuable enough to return a second, third, or forth time?  

Don't feel too bad, companies of all kinds are feeling the same pain.  Everyone is trying to figure it all out. 

 Mediabistro's WebNewser had this piece this morning:  

Companies Continue to Fund Social Media Initiatives (Even Though Many Really Don't Get It)

Shaky economy and tight budgets notwithstanding, companies still recognize the potential of social media to help their businesses.
Computerworld's Mitch Betts reports on a recent Deloitte LLP survey that shows an overwhelming percentage of respondents intend to "maintain or increase their investments in social media tools and online communities."
new_deloitte_logo.gifSpecifically, 94% of the 400 companies surveyed said they'd keep spending as much or more on social media going forward, with only 6% reporting they would cut social media spending.
This despite the rather primitive efforts to measure the ROI of social media. As Betts reports:

Businesses use metrics such as the number of active users and how many people post or comment to gauge the success of their social networking efforts.
And what are the top goals of corporate social media initiatives? Deloitte's 2009 Tribalization of Business Survey reports:

Increasing word of mouth -- 38%
Customer loyalty -- 34%
Brand awareness -- 30%
Idea generation -- 29%
Improved customer support quality -- 23%
There's a potential problem inherent in those numbers. As Deloitte concludes:
In the majority of companies surveyed, marketing continues to be the primary driver of online communities, resulting in a significant gap between community goals and the organizations' capability to fully leverage these communities on an enterprise wide basis.
In other words, most people who are members of online communities don't really want to be the targets of marketing campaigns. Yet that's what many companies see as the primary value and purpose of social media. That's a real disconnect.
You can read more details of the survey here.