NextRadio’s progress since launch on August 15th
One month ago, we eagerly held our breath as the press release went out announcing the inclusion of the pre-installed NextRadio® app on two models of smartphone from Sprint. It was a soft launch. Piggybacking on Sprint’s exclusive release of a red HTC One® was fantastic, as most of the hype generated from that also noted the news of NextRadio’s inclusion.
But aside from the press releases that went out from Sprint and Emmis on the 15th, a consumer marketing push only really began this past Friday. The goal for launch was to get the app as full of content as possible so that initial experience of picking up the phone and opening the app left an amazing first impression with the listener rather than a “maybe it just needs time” impression.
So how do you market a product to consumers that can’t yet boast the complete experience? The app is ready. It works beautifully. But it’s thirsty for content. As new users activate it on their phones, they’ll be able to find and hear their favorite local station, but that experience we’re all expecting – with branding, album art, and interactive promotions – won’t be a reality without action on the part of the station.
An obstacle in the path of full participation from the radio industry has been the number of unknowns. Because this product and launch were unprecedented, projections were difficult. And that’s a hard sell. Hopefully reports like the one below can generate the kind of enthusiasm that will kickstart truly compelling content creation for the app.
BY THE NUMBERS
So without further ado, here are the results we’ve been anticipating. Since the launch on August 15th, we’ve seen…
• Over 13,000 app downloads
• a 14% activation rate on NextRadio-enabled phones sold
• Nearly 2,400 stations tuned to from the app
• over 2,500hours of listening through NextRadio
…and these numbers are climbing daily.
Inside of a 5 star review in the Google Play Store, HTC One user Nat G. says of the app, “…Just a note – There is some back-end work required to feed data to this app beyond what most stations use to send to their online streams. As the app takes off, more stations will add it I’m sure. It’s really slick when you hit a station that feeds data.”
That, and dozens of other positive reviews so far are encouraging. Not only do users understand the potential of the app, but they look forward to what the future holds. Our job now is to push toward the complete experience. A couple current happenings should help.
RADIO SHOW 2013
We are excited to have a dedicated session at the NAB Radio Show this week. “The State of the FM Enabled Smartphone”, presented by our own Paul Brenner, will highlight current statistics and future projections, and delve deeper into the relationship with Sprint and talk about what success means from the wireless consumer perspective. We’ll also discuss funding and open a forum for questions.
NextRadio will also have booth #313 in the exhibit hall where we’ll be giving live demos, answering questions, and offering on-the-spot TagStation sign-ups. Stop by and see us!
Helping to get NextRadio activated on as many phones as possible, Sprint launched a consumer marketing push this past Friday featuring in-store promotional materials pairing the HTC One with JBL headphones for a great NextRadio listening experience. In addition, sales associates will understand and highlight NextRadio as a new and exciting feature, and other in-store visuals and audio for FM Radio in smartphones are planned.
Also starting Friday, users of the HTC One and EVO 4G LTE phones will get a push notification from their “Sprint Zone” encouraging them to download or activate the existing app in their phones. Since NextRadio is compatible with a large quantity of pre-launch HTC Ones and EVOs, it’s a HUGE potential audience to activate.
Now that the app is in stores and the consumer marketing push is underway, the most important focus is that broadcasters need to build out compelling content and take advantage of the interactivity available through the app. We hope every FM radio station in the country will at least be branded in the NextRadio guide and ‘Now Playing’ screen by signing up for TagStation’s Free Logo Service. But more importantly, as this new marketing push moves forward and as confidence swells along with the positive trends we’re seeing in the numbers above, we hope more stations will opt for a full TagStation license so they may start delivering compelling data.
We encourage stations to get involved and think creatively. The TagStation team has put together some great resources on our support site to serve as a programmer’s guide. Topics there include getting started, suggested workflows, and inspiration.
While enthusiasm has understandably been tempered initially as many radio groups are taking a “wait and see” approach before they dive into the deep end of content creation, the optimism is definitely there. Bruce Reese, President/CEO of Hubbard Radio says they’re excited about the Sprint deal. “The opportunity to put FM radio on smart phones puts immediate, easy access to local radio in the hands of millions of Americans who won’t have to use their data plans for audio anymore. Imagine, free, over-the-air radio in a product you carry with you all the time! Not since Walkman. And, the NextRadio platform creates convenient, immediate interactive opportunities for our advertisers and audiences that have not been realistic to date. This is a huge opportunity for the industry.”
The next few weeks will tell a tale: between Sprint’s new marketing push and the shot in the arm that will hopefully come from a successful Radio Show, we think that urgency and opportunity will become more and more apparent to radio groups everywhere.
Stay tuned for another update in a couple weeks.