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Thoughts on the Eve of the Launch of Apple’s Beats1

I am pretty excited to experience Beats1 radio, but I’m also interested to see how this launch impacts the media landscape.  As somebody that loves radio, I’m excited about the on-air product and as a media observer, I think Beats1 could provide a platform for reshaping the existing radio paradigm. At first glance, this may seem like just another internet radio station, the likes of which we have seen Pandora, Live365, and Spotify among a litany of others…however based on the marketing thus far it looks like Beats1 will be an entirely different beast.  Being positioned as a global live broadcaster, Beats1 is in the unique position to provide radio with a rebirth and offer listeners a unique experience akin to the early days of FM radio. In the decades since the rise of the FM dial, radio has become overly programmed, music selected weeks in advance or by computer, and the human element has either been entirely lost, or minimized to simple time and temperature updates.  Yet, Apple’s radio offering is the antithesis of this and instead harkens back to the early days of terrestrial radio – allowing the DJ’s to play what they want and what fits the moment – albeit in this case a much larger global moment.  Hosted by talented and experienced jocks, Beats1 is promising to be more then just a computer driven playlist, and can prove to be a valuable channel for artists while providing listeners with a compelling experience. Secondly, it’s that unique experience that will draw listeners in, and in the long-run may spell trouble for both traditional radio outlets, as...

Is @CharlieSheen A Modern @HowardStern

In the 1980's Howard Stern enjoyed tremendous success on the radio, and as portrayed in his 1997 film Private Parts, a lot of that had to do with people tuning in because they wanted to hear what was next. Fast-Forward to today where the paths of communication have expanded and outlets like Twitter give everyone a platform through which to speak. In terms of large-scale movement and attention, sure there was the Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) vs CNN (@CNNbrk) experiment to see who could reach a million followers first.  And it has become commonplace in this current landscape to hear tweets from celebrities quoted in media coverage.  But until now we have yet to witness a breakout personality that has moved both the online conversation, as well as traditional press coverage.  That's changed with @CharlieSheen in the past week.  Sheen's Twitter fueled campaign has been rather divisive, yet it has attracted so much attention across online and off-line platforms, it begs the question: is Sheen a modern Howard Stern? Perhaps previously an unlikely candidate for this role, Charlie Sheen has captivated audiences, who are simply wondering what he'll do next…and now that he's shown the ability to build an audience and keep us on the edge of our seats.  So with that in mind, could Sheen become the next hot media personality?  How does Sheen capitalize on this success, perhaps with a multi-platform approach unlike anything we've seen before?  Maybe a certain satellite radio provider would be enticed to offer Sheen a show, he could continue to use the web to encourage new subscribers to sign-up, while continuing to build...

The iPadization of Content is Upon Us

Both leading up to, and of course, after Apple’s January 27th iPad announcement the interwebs were, and have been, a buzz about the tablet device that will now debut in less than a week.  It’s certainly been an interesting development to observe, and follow, as the implications could potentially run far and wide – both for the computing industry, as well as those in the content creation business. Personally, I think the iPad taps into the power of the iPhone platform but serves it up in an even more tangible size and for that matter a size that will likely in time become more palatable to a wider breath of audiences.  The iPad unlike the iPhone will have no expensive cellular contract or service usage agreements, it will simply work on any WiFi connection, or those users that wish can opt in to a month-to-month data service with AT&T.  In terms of the interaction, since the web’s introduction it has been a point & click type of world, but the iPad will change that it, and it will morph into a hands-on environment.  We’ll be able to look past the device and become fully consumed with our music, movies, and of course text-based content – or more poignantly those delineations are going to continue to become harder to make.  We’ll see magazines with embeded Podcasts, and electronic books that offer videos about their subject matter, and newspapers that will strike us more as the local television channel than the traditional paper. In the process, this iPad-ization of content is going to further drive consumption, alter the media landscape, and...

Alternative Media In High Gear

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the growing world of Podcasts, Blogs, & RSS Feeds.  Now, PQ Media track’s the growth of these market segments and their growing importance as a part of the modern advertising matrix.  From PQ Media: The culmination of six months of primary research, this report found that blog, podcast and RSS advertising are the fastest growing segments of the alternative media industry. These segments, known as user-generated online media, expanded at an aggregate 198.4% to $20.4 million in 2005, and are expected to grow another 144.9% to $49.8 million in 2006. Blog advertising accounted for 81.4%, or $16.6 million, of total spending on blog, podcast and RSS advertising in 2005, but will comprise only 39.7% of the total in 2010 Podcast advertising, meanwhile, reached $3.1 million in 2005, and is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 154.4% from 2006 to 2010, when it will be larger than blog advertising RSS advertising, non-existent until mid-2005, generated spending of $650,000 in 2005, but will be the fastest growing segment over the next five years A free download is available from PQ’s site that includes the executive summary and index of the report, which is also available for...

2006: The Year of the Woman?

So far this year we’ve seen XM set the tone by hiring Oprah Winfrey to create her own channel on satellite radio geared toward women.  Three weeks later NBC makes a large push to get a digital -hold on the world of the woman consumer by acquiring the popular website, iVillage,   "The Internet Home for Women."  Sirius chimed in with its own version today by launching Cosmo Radio.  The channel devoted to all things Women in the same style as the magazine, Cosmopolitan.  Cosmo Radio is part of Sirius radio’s Lifestyle package that already includes Martha Stewart’s channel and the Lime channel, which addresses healthy living.  This is just the latest example of women being targeted as specific consumers and satellite radio’s timeline for success. Both XM and Sirius have made it clear to become and remain successful in this business, one must produce quality music programming covering all musical tastes.  After that is established, you first go after the tech-savvy "early adopters," then go after the men with incredible sports packages and aggressive radio personalities (Opie and Anthony, Howard Stern) and lastly the women with entertaining and enlightening programs with brand names and people you know and trust. Links:Radio...

Sporting for New Owners

The web has changed the dynamics of information.  The latest example is Paul Allen’s Sporting News, which is now in the market for new ownership.  What is particularly interesting is the direct impact that the internet has had on the Sporting News’ identity.  The magazine which, historically has had a reputation for providing intricate statistical information now faces a challenge in an age where statistics and sports analysis tools are readily available online. The big question is will the magazine’s identity crisis have an impact on its sale price?  We’ll continue to monitor the situation here at The Media Backpage. Link: NY Times...