Posts from Targetspot

Monetizing Mobile Audio

I'm going to the gym in a few minutes. I'll bring my android and stream some music while I'm on the treadmill. Maybe I'll listen to my soundcloud dropbox, or maybe I'll check out the popular tracks on hypem, or maybe I'll listen to some I stream music on my mobile phone all the time. I don't have a single mp3 on my android and I don't have any desire to put any on it.

This is the future. We won't be buying files, moving files, and listening to files. We'll be streaming audio from the cloud onto our connected devices in our homes and offices, and onto our mobile devices at the gym, on the bike, in the car, etc. And I think mobile streaming audio is going to be huge.

How will the mobile audio streaming services make money? Some will charge a subscription. But I believe, like the radio industry for the past 50 years, most will make money by running commercial messages in the stream once or twice an hour.

And yesterday, our portfolio company Targetspot, launched the first mobile audio ad network. Initial mobile streamers include AOL Radio, Yahoo Music, CBS Radio, and

Targetspot built and operates the largest streaming audio advertising network and has been the leader in this market for the past three years. This move into mobile is very exciting to me because it will allow advertisers to reach music and audio listeners when they are out and about. Imagine combining mobile audio advertising with geolocation and time of day targeting.  Imagine hearing a Starbucks audio ad on your morning run alerting you to a discount on expresso drinks at the store a block away?

But most importantly, this mobile audio ad network provides a much needed monetization system for mobile audio apps (and actually any mobile app that wants to run audio spots). I believe Targetspot's mobile audio ad network will allow developers to build and launch innovative new streaming audio apps and make money from them.

If you have a mobile app that streams audio or that you would like to run audio advertising in, please contact the Targetspot team and they will give you the tools to build audio advertising into your mobile app.

#Music#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Everyone Can Be A Radio Advertiser

Our portfolio company Targetspot launched a new simplified self serve interface to their radio advertising platform this week. If you have a local business and want to reach hundreds of thousands of radio listeners in your area for a few hundred dollars, you should check it out.

It's one click to try a new form of radio advertising.

And to make things easy on everyone, they are offering a free voice ad, spoken by real voice over talent, to anyone who tries out the service for the first time.

I just tried it and made a voice ad for this blog. Yes, you may hear some on air advertising for AVC in the coming weeks. It's really simple. If you have a business you'd like to advertise on radio and internet audio sites like Yahoo Music, AOL Radio, Myspace Music, etc, you should check it out and let me know what you think.

#VC & Technology

Mobile Audio

There's a reason why radio and outdoor (billboard) advertising together became a $30bn to $50bn annual domestic market. When people are mobile, like driving a car, they are not reading, they are not watching video, they are not opening email. At least they should not be doing those sorts of things while driving a car.

While radio and billboards will still be attractive advertising opportunities for some time to come, there is a new way to reach the mobile consumer – on his or her phone.

I'm not talking about calling you or text messaging you on your phone. I am talking about when you connect your android phone into your car's audio jack or when you put on your iPhone headphones and hop on the treadmill at the gym.

In these situations, you are likely listening to audio and increasingly streaming audio. That audio stream can contain commercial messaging if it is done right. And because the phone, as opposed to the car radio or the billboard, knows a lot about you, including where you are, the messaging can be targeted (ie made relevant).

This is the opportunity our portfolio company TargetSpot was built to go after. When the company was started, it decided to focus on terrestrial radio companies and help them monetize their internet streams. It is the leader in that market today. Then it added "pure play internet radio" providers like Yahoo! Music, MySpace Music, and AOL Radio to it's network and further solidified its lead.

And today, TargetSpot is rolling out its first mobile audio advertising service, in partnership with Slacker. If you want to reach people who are listening to streaming audio via their phones in their cars, in the gym, at work, and at home you now can do that via TargetSpot.

Slacker is one of several streaming audio companies focused on the mobile phone. Others include Pandora and I expect we'll see hundreds of providers over time.

And I expect that we'll find out that the audio format is one of the most powerful forms of mobile advertising. Just like it has been in the offline world for the past century.

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#VC & Technology

Local Media's Hidden Asset: Their Salesforces

I've said this before on this blog and I'll say it again. Traditional local media companies; radio stations, TV stations, local newspapers, and the like, are in a tough situation. Each of those businesses had a monopoly or near monopoly on their audiences a decade ago. Now none of them do.

The owners and operators of these businesses have been trained to think their strengths are local and relevant content, their monopolies or near monopolies on distribution (spectrum in the case of radio and TV), and their brands. All of these assets are waning quickly.

But there is one asset that is still quite significant and the value of it is growing, not shrinking. It is their large, well trained, and well connected salesforces.

I was reminded of this fact when I read Claire Cain Miller's piece on Curbed and the Village Voice today. Before I go on I should disclose that The Gotham Gal and I are small investors in Curbed and The Gotham Gal is what I like to call a "hands on investor" in the company.

As Claire explains in her piece:

The Village Voice …. has built this sales force over
five decades as a weekly newspaper. So it is acting as a local ad
network for Curbed, Mr. Steele said, selling local businesses ads for
its Web site as well as the Curbed blogs and then sharing revenue. In
return, it gets to offer Curbed’s articles and readers, in addition to
its own, to lure advertisers.

This story is playing out all around local media these days.

We have an investment in the leading online audio ad network, Targetspot. Targetspot has online audio advertising inventory from many of the largest radio station groups, as well as audio inventory from "pure play internet" services like AOL, Yahoo, Live365, Slacker, and several more that have not yet been announced. Advertisers don't buy the individual stations or services, they buy the network, either on a national, spot, or local basis.

When the network is "sliced" along a local dimension, like "all online audio listeners in New York City" that inventory is valuable to a local advertiser. And Targetspot's radio station partners who have salesforces in New York City can make good money selling the local network buy. And increasingly they are interested in doing just that.

But it doesn't stop at CPM buys like banners and audio ads. The same thing is happening in search and leads. Our portfolio company Clickable has a service called Platform that local media companies use to resell search and leads that come from search ads to their local advertisers.

This makes all the sense in the world. The media business, either on the national or local level, is losing its grip on audiences as they fragment and disperse all over the digital realm (including of course mobile). But they do not need to lose their grip on the relationships they have built up with local merchants since the days of Mad Men. What they need to do, and what they are increasingly doing, is reselling the inventory of others to their customers. As Claire points out in the NY Times piece on Curbed and The Village Voice, it is a win win for everyone, including the local merchants and their customers and potential customers.

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#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Tracking Audio Advertising

Our portfolio company Targetspot announced something pretty interesting today. They are calling it Targetspot Analytics and the announcement is here.

When you run an ad campaign on the web, you can track its performance. That's been a vital part of the online advertising value proposition from the early days of web advertising. We can argue about what metrics are worth tracking, and we do, but the ability to measure online advertising is a key reason it is growing and other forms of advertising are in decline.

But it has been hard to measure the "performance" of video and audio advertising, particularly "in stream" advertising like pre-rolls and mid-rolls. That is because users don't click on the ads and leave the stream.

But we know that radio and video advertising works. People see and hear things and they remember them. I listen to WEHM on long island all summer and I know where to get outdoor furniture, get a tennis court resurfaced, and where to get my bike tuned up because I listen to the ads in between the music.

So back to Targetspot Analytics. This is how it works:

TargetSpot Analytics tracks the unique and total visits to any
advertiser-designated destination website along with other data,
following the delivery of an online radio ad. This information gives
agencies and advertisers the ability to measure a true return on
investment and optimize the performance of their online radio campaigns.

TargetSpot Analytics is easily implemented: An advertiser simply adds a
small snippet of code to their destination website that corresponds to
their TargetSpot ad campaign. TargetSpot Analytics can then provide
information on each visit to the advertiser’s website, even if the
consumer arrives there later through a search engine or by typing the
website directly into the browser.

The bike store on long island doesn't know that I showed up to get my bike tuned up because of their ad on WEHM but if they ran that ad on WEHM's internet stream and I went to their website to look up their location before heading over, they would. That kind of tracking and measurement is the power of internet advertising in action and I am excited to see it come to audio and video in stream advertising.

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#Music#VC & Technology#Web/Tech