Home  › Media › Media Buying

One-to-One Radio

  |  February 7, 2001   |  Comments

iM Networks gives you the convenience of Internet radio on your stereo. Its huge opt-in base gives media buyers very targeted buys on ads that are interactive and sequential.

The idea probably hit me in 1997 during one of those interminable commutes along Route 85 in Silicon Valley. The trip was only 15 miles long, but thanks to insane traffic conditions, it often took longer than the fabled tour aboard the S.S. Minnow from "Gilligan's Island."

Being an NPR junkie and a New York snob, I thought, "If only I could listen to my local New York public radio stations while stuck here in traffic, life in California might be grand." I even went so far as to discuss the idea seriously with my old friend David Frerichs. David is one of those brilliant people who understand technology right down to the molecular level. Give him a weekend, and he'll learn Japanese, fly to Tokyo, and lecture about it.

So I wasn't surprised when he called me one day to tell me he wanted to show me something. There in his New York hotel room was the first prototype for Sonicbox, now called iM Networks.

While I was ruminating about the idea over beer fumes, David had run into some folks who had actually done the work and built the thing. It didn't work in my car, but there it was: a radio pulling in stations from around the world in perfect clarity, controlled by a remote control device -- and not a computer in sight.

Niko Bolas, the CEO, asked me to write the revenue portion of the company's business plan. I came up with an idea that included highly targeted and sequential advertising messaging across what amounts to a traditional radio network: iM Networks. Imagine being able to own and sell into the entire FM channel, worldwide, and completely control the reach, demographic, and frequency of the advertising message.

Well, guess what? While I went back to my beer fumes, the folks at iM Networks went out and built it. It works. And it's available now.

David calls it "friction-free advertising." iM Networks aggregates content within vertical affinity groups: 32 channels of blues in the "B" band, 32 channels of classical in the "C" band, etc. Small broadcasters who address niche audiences can leverage iM Networks' bulk broadband purchases and suddenly open themselves up to an audience that competes with any Clear Channel station. And also start making some money.

iM Networks rewards users who provide opt-in demographic information by enabling a "Tell Me More" button on its hardware remote controls: Anytime a song comes up that listeners want to learn more about, they can press the button that triggers sending a rich media email to them with information about the selection.

The huge opt-in base allows media buyers to make very targeted buys. For instance, a media planner can specify that the campaign should target males between the ages of 35 and 55, that every person should hear the messages in a certain sequence (message one first, message two next, etc.), that the sequence should be heard a maximum of 20 times per listener, and that the campaign should run for 20 million listens. Planners can also target specific radio stations or types of stations.

Whatever station is being listened to when the ad runs receives 65 percent of the ad revenue. And unlike pre-roll messages that can run before online video or audio content, adding to the clutter of online media by stuffing ads into every conceivable place, ads on iM Networks simply replace existing radio ads. This means that listeners are not exposed to more ads, just more targeted ones.

Says David: "We look at the Internet as just another pipe, rather than something that needs to be accessed through a Web page. We are leveraging the one-to-one relationship that the Internet provides to do a targeted overlay of traditional spots over what has been thought of as a broadcast-only medium."

Currently, average session times on iM Networks are more than an hour. I can believe it. My iM Networks connection is running almost constantly. In fact, I'm listening to a local New York station right now as I write this, telling me how much snow we're getting. As it turns out, I don't have to be living in California to want to listen to my local New York radio stations on the Internet. They just come in clearer on the Internet than they do on my radio.

Hey, what was that song? Sorry, gotta go. I've got buttons to push.

Until next week, keep it rich!

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!*
*Early Bird Rates expire April 17.


Bill McCloskey

Bill McCloskey is the founder and chief evangelist for Email Data Source, a competitive intelligence resource for e-mail marketers. He was named one of online advertising's 50 most influential people by "Media" magazine and one of the 100 people to know by "BtoB Magazine." He's been a recognized pioneer in interactive advertising for over 10 years.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Media newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?


    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...