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5 Questions With TuneIn CEO John Donham


Perhaps the real competition for the consumer will be between TuneIn and iHeartRadio and not Pandora and iHeartRadio. On the heels of announcing they would both be adding their radio stations to iHeartradio, Cox and Emmis have also also jumped on TuneIn to distribute their stations. Entercom is also going with Tunein (they are not on iHeartradio). TuneIn CEO John Donham says TuneIn now has over 70,000 stations from 230 countries and over 30 million active listeners.We spoke to Donham last night about the growth of TuneIn

#1) Looks like you are in a battle with iHeartRadio when it comes to adding AM/FM radio stations. How's that going? Can TuneIn be the one app that all consumers eventually use, even over iHeart and Pandora? Is that your goal?
We find that nobody really offers the same experience as TuneIn. A few things make us stand apart:
-        We connect people with content from around the world
-        We aren't a broadcaster - other players in the space are also broadcasters and have an inherent conflict of interest
-        We don't make judgments about the content - we let our listeners decide. Content types that have been squeezed out of terrestrial radio can still thrive on TuneIn. As an example, most markets don't have a bluegrass or indie rock station anymore. You can find this content easily on TuneIn.
-        We provide the maximum number of options - 70,000 stations, and 2 million podcasts. Did you miss the last episode of Fresh Air? You can hear it on TuneIn.
-        Our ultimate vision is to serve the listener with having the greatest options and the best listening experience, and to serve the broadcaster by being everywhere with the largest listener base and tools to maximize their business.
#2) Are you satisfied with the way the look and functionality of the app on, for example, the iPhone?
Were a product-first company and do everything to serve our listeners. We're a 4.5 to 5-star app on iOS - some competitors are 3-star apps.  But we're never satisfied with the app, and we constantly work to improve the experience at every chance we get.  We're obsessively consumer focused and will never stop trying to super-serve the listener.
#3) How are you making money now and how do you plan to make money?
TuneIn monetizes through display ads.
#4) You say you have 30 million listeners, how do you come to that conclusion and how often are they listening?
Remember were a 10-year-old company. We have a big head start with our 150+ platform integrations, and measure these statistics through our robust back-end database. We offer our broadcast partners free analytics via TuneIn Amplifier, which is powered by this database. We measure our audience in monthly active listeners - we dont quote total downloads, total visitors or total accounts created. We measure active listeners. This is the only metric that matters because it conveys not just an audience, but an engaged audience.
#5) Have you had anyone ask you to sell them the company?
 Our interest is in serving our listeners and broadcast partners in the best way possible, and we are entirely focused on that.

(6/28/2012 4:31:54 PM)
Jeff,,First Mark Cuban had nothing to do with Real Networks, your thinking of, which offered a total streaming solution for its clients.

Stations that streamed through had everything taken care of for them, including all royalties

Tune in is an aggregator, just like Iheart radio, the aggregator gets some ads, the radio station gets exposure to new listeners,,everyone wins

- Andy Collins
(6/28/2012 12:28:34 PM)
Uhm, how is TuneIn even making any money (besides a few people giving a few bucks for the premium app)?

- Jim
(6/28/2012 8:58:03 AM)
This is a really amazing company that has the industry duped into allowing it to make money off their content in exchange for metrics of a medium that attracts very small numbers. While I'm not sure it's even legal, the industry is allowing it. Sad. Reminds me of what Mark Cuban did with Real Networks. Becoming a billionaire on the back of radio and other content providers a decade ago.

- Jeff

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