“We REALLY like NextRadio.”
So state Marci Ryvicker and several colleagues from Wells Fargo Securities. Ryvicker is a financial analyst who covers broadcasting and whose opinions are followed closely.
In a newsletter item for investment clients, she, Eric Katz and Stephan Bisson commented not just on radio but media business trends overall, based on several days of broadcast conferences and regulatory meetings that included her appearance at the Radio Show in Orlando.
The analysts took particular note of the app that Jeff Smulyan and Emmis have been spearheading as a way to encourage FM listening with enhanced features on smartphones. That app and the related launch deal with Sprint were mentioned prominently in keynote speeches and several sessions in Orlando.
“We spent a lot of time on NextRadio and were pleasantly surprised with how well this app has been received,” they wrote. “At this point, we don’t know why the entire radio industry wouldn’t jump on board — with little to no downside, it feels like this really inexpensive option could be worth a lot of money down the line.”
That’s an opinion likely to be quoted by NextRadio’s backers as they seek to get other major radio companies to provide financial support for the Sprint agreement as well as full station participation in the enhanced data delivery services.
Commenting on broader industry trends, Ryvicker and company wrote: “We came away incrementally positive on the broadcasters, as most of our contacts suggested that the local ad environment is trending a bit better than expected — driven by auto, wireless and healthcare.” In radio, they wrote, industry revenue remains relatively flat; they quoted sources as saying July was “awful,” August “okay” and September “en fuego.” New York and Los Angeles remain the big-performing markets for radio revenue.