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Streaming is Maturing as a Product Category

Mobile is best opportunity for radio now, says Clear Channel’s Jim Castelli

Streamed radio is maturing in the minds of early adopters.

“Years ago you couldn’t get consumers to criticize streaming radio,” said Kelly Ellis of knowDigital. Now, consumers in focus groups say things like Pandora’s “old fashioned” or sometimes the audio cuts out on another streamed service, she told attendees of the R.A.I.N. Summit in Dallas on Tuesday. R.A.I.N. is an acronym for Radio and Internet Newsletter.

Consumers are also beginning to use the word “Pandora” to describe the streaming category, she said, with the implication that the personalized audio service “owns” the category.

Clear Channel President of National Sales Jim Castelli said even though traditional radio has lost some of its luster it’s still one of the “big three” for media — meaning TV, the Web and radio. Digital, he said, will help radio “get some of its sexy back.”

Digital, meaning streamed radio, “amplifies everything we know is great about radio. It’s personal, it’s local. It’s social,” he said.

Switching to Clear Channel’s streaming service iHeartradio, he said it has 1,500 custom stations and 10 million registered users.

Mobile is the best opportunity for radio now. “It fits for radio and it fits into what people use the phone for,” Castelli said.