If you're not familiar, think of TuneIn as a directory of online radio streams from all over the world -- a single app which gives you more than 70-thousand choices of broadcast and online-only streams. (They're probably most similar to Clear Channel's iHeartRadio service, but not broadcaster-owned.)
Now CEO John Donham reveals in a paidContent interview his service will run "pre-roll" audio ads before launching a listener's chosen stream. To this point, TuneIn has only added display ads (like "banners"), never audio or video.
"We’re going to do audio adverts before the stream and have a companion display ad associated with them," he said. But only if that broadcaster or webcaster themselves isn't scheduling pre-rolls. "We don’t touch any broadcaster streams. If a broadcaster has a pre-roll in front of the stream, we won’t stomp over that. It would be a double-negative to user experience if you got multiple pre-rolls before the content."
Donham believes the "free, ad-supported" approach has far more potential for revenue than subscription/premium models. Though the TuneIn app has both a free and a premium paid version of its app (with built-in recording capability), Donham told the publication, "The number one way we monetise is advertising on the free app. We would rather you listen to the free app than the paid. We would urge you to switch.
"One of the cool things about radio is, it’s free. There are literally billions of people who consume radio every month. What a gigantic opportunity – we’re not going to get them all to subscribe to something – we’re going to get them to listen for free and monetise that."
TuneIn raised $16 million in funding this summer. Donham says the money will go to hiring experts to better develop "discovery" for listeners, such as presenting new listening options based on the listener's history. He also wants to establish his brand in the minds of consumers as the "Netflix/iTunes/Amazon" for radio.
Read more in paidContent here.
TuneIn VP/Sales & Business Development Carl Rohling will participate in "The Connected Dashboard," a panel discussion about establishing Internet audio as a simple yet powerful in-car entertainment medium at RAIN Summit Europe, October 4th in Berlin.