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iHeartRadio frees the music

July 7, 2014 | features

The internet has changed the way we do everything from commerce to culture to the consumption of music. Though the airwaves remain strong in terms of radio listenership, fans now also choose to tune into their favourite stations – whether digital or terrestrial – anywhere from their computer to their phones. It won’t be long before affordable WiFi and the internet come standard in most cars, opening up promising opportunities for streaming radio to reach those audiences. Media leaders and innovators are preparing now for that future. With this in mind, The Radio Network partnered with iHeartRadio to bring streaming and personalised radio to Kiwi mobile devices. 

The Radio Network and iHeartRadio partnership is a natural fit, with both companies embracing innovation and forward-thinking business models. The iHeartRadio platform brings together all The Radio Network’s terrestrial stations, including ZM, Flava, Hauraki, The Hits, Coast, Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport, as well as giving listeners access to over 18 million songs, 450,000 artists, and 1,500 stations globally. It not only gives listeners instant access to the music and content they love, it also gives advertisers access to a highly engaged audience, on the go, wherever it is.

“With many of New Zealand’s most popular radio stations, we knew we were well positioned to move into the digital space with all the content Kiwis love,” says Carolyn Luey, The Radio Network’s group general manager of product and digital . “We firmly believe media must stay current and evolve with the technology to ensure there is a future in radio.” 

One of the key benefits of iHeartRadio is its capacity to reach niche audiences, those traditionally underserved by terrestrial radio. These audiences can now be catered to through genre specific stations. One of the first of these, Ultimate Access – a brand new station for the tween and fan-girl market – was launched in March.

“Ultimate Access is a purpose-built station run by young people talking directly to a new audience for advertisers,” says Luey. “Listeners can swoon over the One Direction boys or join in the conversation with like-minded social media superstars like Jamie Curry – and that’s been a traditionally difficult market to reach on radio otherwise.” 

Tweens aren’t the only ones with no place to go on commercial radio, so iHeartRadio developed several new stations. Among them Country Nation for the best new country music; NZ Music, curated by NZ On Air for 100 percent Kiwi tunes; Rock Anthems for all the best dad rock; and The Official New Zealand Top 40 Countdown updated every Friday night.  

Live music and events are in the hearts of all music lovers, so events are at the heart of iHeartRadio’s strategy. Exclusive gigs enhance listener experiences and gives them the chance to connect with favourite artists. iHeartRadio has been getting it right since the very beginning, when it received much fanfare and media attention around its launch and Lorde’s first ever major gig in New Zealand. As a result iHeartRadio and Lorde both topped the trending topics on Twitter, kick-starting downloads and usage of iHeartRadio. 

“With many of New Zealand’s most popular radio stations, we knew we were well positioned to move into the digital space with all the content Kiwis love,” says Carolyn Luey, The Radio Network’s group general manager of product and digital. “We firmly believe media must stay current and evolve with the technology to ensure there is a future in radio.” 

It hasn’t stopped there. iHeartRadio was the first to showcase UK songstress Birdy in an intimate lunchtime show, her first and only performance in New Zealand. Jessica Mauboy and Stan Walker were brought together for their first New Zealand performance together by iHeartRadio at  Auckland’s Civic Theatre, and more recently iHeartRadio hosted the mighty Ed Sheeran. That event  proved so popular over 55,000 Kiwis tried to get tickets through the iHeartRadio and 2degrees promotion. Those lucky enough to go were treated to an exclusive performance of songs from Ed’s up-and-coming album – his only public performance in New Zealand of the tour.

“2degrees were delighted to team up with iHeartRadio for the Ed Sheeran event. We had an enormous reaction from 2degrees customers,” says 2degrees chief marketing officer Malcolm Phillipps. “It proved to be a really successful marketing activity, driving fantastic engagement and brand expansion.  We can’t wait to be involved in the next iHeartRadio event.” 

Consumers’ attitudes and access to music and media is changing. People are more mobile than ever and they want 24-7 access and they want it for free. Because iHeartRadio is free and does all the hard work for users, allowing them to listen to their favourite stations or find one tailor-made to their tastes, audiences are gravitating towards it. That means there are diverse and highly targeted audiences for advertisers to connect with. 

Want to know more? Contact Laura Maxwell-Hansen at LauraMaxwellHansen@radionetwork.co.nz or on 09 373 0000 to chat through iHeartRadio opportunities.

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