Over the holiday season, we spent a lot of time in this forum reflecting. It seemed appropriate and felt good. But as we march into February we thought we’d get on the offensive and talk goal-setting for the upcoming year. We’ve got big plans and players, and that’s our message today.
We’ll get into detail below specific to NextRadio and TagStation, but first, let’s recognize that there’s an overarching goal of bolstering the demand for FM chip activation in smartphones. The concept is gaining traction, but we need to work harder to let people know this is a valuable service that should never have been turned off or left out of devices where it could be the most useful. In that regard, we see friends both old and new advocating for FM radio in smartphones. In this great message to their members, the heads of NPR and American Public Media Group encourage action on the part of their stations to inform their audiences about the issue and inspire listeners to let their voices be heard in favor of it. Wireless carriers and phone makers won’t act on a whim, they need to see real market demand.
In this BBC Technology video that came out over the weekend, the FM chip issue is spelled out so effortlessly:
“At the moment, most modern smartphones contain a chip in them that allows you to receive an FM radio signal – the same signal you get in your house or in your car – it’s just that most carriers disable that chip. Change that, and well suddenly, most people are walking around with a radio in their pockets that’s free to use and doesn’t require gobbling up your expensive data allowance. That’s the idea behind NextRadio, a new service just launched in the United States.”
– David Grossman, Technology Editor, BBC Newsnight
Working with Sprint on getting more supported devices into the marketplace is also key in helping create that demand. People need to know something exists before they know they just HAVE to have it… That’s why we were happy to see TWO new NextRadio-enabled phones come to market last week: The very cool Boost® MAX available from Boost Mobile, and the innovative LG G Flex – the world’s first curved smartphone – available at Sprint.com.
Before we move on, here are the latest results of our efforts with Sprint…
By The Numbers
- Over 140,000 app downloads
- Over 6,700 FM radio stations tuned to from the app
- Over 98,000 hours of listening through NextRadio
- A 4.2/5.0 Google Play Store user rating
So that’s where we currently stand. But what will be our focus in the upcoming year? Let’s break it down by app and data service.
NextRadio App Goals
Consumer awareness – More market saturation, radio station promotions, Sprint marketing efforts, internal marketing efforts, word of mouth, great press, social media, and more are required for people to not only know our name, but also understand the concept of real FM radio on their smartphone and how it differs from all other streaming music apps.
More activations – Coupled with getting phones to market, getting users to activate the app once the phones are in their hands is a matter of informing the consumer and increasing demand.
User retention – We strive to boost our user retention from our 32% benchmark set before the holidays. Our metrics show that delivering more enhanced content to the app can achieve this. It all seems to come back to content, right?
Better reviews – Our worst reviews are still complaints that headphones are required (an educational issue) and that favorite stations lack enhanced content. Ahem.
Industry visibility – In an effort for NextRadio to become a household name, we’re out in force this year at Mobile World Congress, National Alliance of State Broadcasting Associations, NAB Show, Radio Show and more…
Automotive relationships – We continue to actively work with automakers on NextRadio in-car capabilities.
TagStation Data Service Goals
More station sign-ups – Station participation is as easy as filling out a short web form and uploading a logo. But we strongly encourage stations to consider a full TagStation license to deliver that all-important content we”ve been talking about.
Active station participation – Once a station is signed up, we stress the importance of completing their station settings for the Free Logo option, and completing at least basic song-matching and schedule for our Full License partners.
Enhanced content delivery – Stations delivering enhanced content is key to user retention and good app ratings. As noted above, our metrics tell that tale well.
Exploring enhanced advertising – We need a solid platform on which to sell advertising, so we knew exploring enhanced ads would take some time. We”ll be advancing that effort this year.
To that end, Power 106 in LA was the first station to sell an ad campaign on NextRadio, and value in the platform for their sales team was apparent:
“NextRadio offers our clients higher engagement with our audiences and provides so many options we can utilize to focus on their goals. As our audio content evolves to be available wherever consumers want to use it, this will increasingly offer immediacy, interaction and quantifiable results.”
– Matt Montemayor, Account Manager, Sales, Power 106
And with all of this in mind, we move forward. In a live Q&A with Mark Ramsey on radio’s future, industry analyst Gordon Borrell talks about the challenges radio faces in today’s media landscape. He says this of NextRadio:
“I do like this movement… I think that’s really cool, and I think that’s an initiative that the entire industry should be behind. But inevitably… I think there’s just greater and greater competition and you have to face it. All media is facing it. Radio better face it at some point.”
– Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates Inc.
Looking over these goals, we realize that we have a lot of work ahead of us. This effort is a game of inches. Every move forward counts – more phones, more users, more station involvement, more awareness – and we all are a part of helping move the chains.
One last goal we’ll mention, of course, is to continue to keep you posted on our progress. Thanks for checking in, and stay tuned for another update in a couple of weeks!