EP #519: What happens when you can talk back to the radio – with XAPPmedia founder Pat Higbie

Radio has always been one of the things that has been consistently ripe for mobile disruption on two fronts. The first is broadcast which is being handled by the likes of RDIO, Spotify, Pandora, Songza, iTunes Radio and now Amazon among many many others. All-told there are roughly 140 million Internet radio listeners that share their time across the new broadcasters. Not a huge global industry, but enough to warrant a rethink of the business and engagement models – which is the second piece ripe for a rethink.

This is where XAPPmedia comes in. The company focuses on creating action within the ads broadcast over Internet radio. An ad that is enabled by XAPP prompts the listener to engage – by voice – for more information about the product being featured. What’s really cool about this is that it can actually bring the listener into a commerce-enabled world over the air.

Pat Higbie is the founder and CEO of the company and joins us to talk about the state of radio and Internet radio today, where the revenue does and will come from going forward, how long the idea of paying for radio will be sustainable and some key things that are needed in order to make this industry thrive. We also discuss the impact of Internet radio and mobile on the way advertising is done and paid for as well as a glimpse into the short future to see what is in store for this industry. Pay particular attention to what Pat has to say about the impact that what this industry will do to traditional search.

Enjoy!



Key takeaways from this episode. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip

1. What does XappMedia do? 2:00
2. The state of radio today 3:00
3. How to take advantage of two-way Internet radio 5:20
4. How are the leaders in Internet radio? 6:20
5. What does Apple’s acquisition of Beats mean to the industry? 7:35
6. Why did Apple buy Beats? 8:30
7. How big is the Internet radio industry? 9:45
8. How have things changed for Internet radio? 10:30
9. Will people continue to pay for radio? 13:25
10. What has to happen for radio stations to not be for-pay 15:40
11. Case study: Coka-Cola 17:00
12. What about 2-way radio station engagement? 18:00
13. Will advertisers be shocked when things can be measured? 19:10
14. Will Internet radio put downward pressure on advertising costs? 21:00
15. Why hasn’t Google moved into Internet radio? 23:00
16. What does the future of this industry look like to you? 24:25
17. What are your results? 27:20
18. Do companies need to rethink advertising to accommodate Internet radio? 29:20
19. Is this the perfect scenario to aim towards? 31:00
20. How does this technology lead directly to commerce? 34:00

Audio

Raw Transcript

Rob: Hello everybody and welcome to UNTETHER.tv, your single source for deciphering the mobile experience. I’m your host and founder, Rob Woodbridge. Today we are talking to Pat Higbie, who’s the co-founder and C.E.O. of a company called Xapp Media. They’re based out of Washington D.C. Some say the radio is dead. I look at the radio as the last big media that has a captive audience. But how does mobile improve that experience without detracting it, just like what is happening in the television world with the second screen the mobile device as the second screen or the TV as a second screen. Pat is here to help us understand that very question and so much more. Welcome to UNTETHER.tv, Pat, and thanks for being here. I appreciate your time.

Pat: Thank you for having me, Rob. It’s great to be here.

Rob: Yes. We were just commiserating before we started about the weather. He’s in Washington, which is obviously your nation’s capital. I’m in Ottawa, which is my nation’s capital. And we seem to be exchanging weather patterns. So I’m glad you enjoyed a little bit of summer. We’re back into full-on winter here even though it is at the end of May while we’re recording this. Also, I didn’t talk about this before, but I always have a bone to pick with you Washington folk, because you took my baseball team away. From Montreal, the Montreal Expos and you moved it down to Washington to become the National’s, but it’s okay. I can get over that for this conversation.

Pat: We’re enjoying them.

Rob: Yes, and rightly so. Competitive team, all that hard work that Montreal did to build a good team, I’m glad you guys can reap the benefits of that. So Xapp Media, I’m interested, we covered you guys on an episode of this week on Location Based Marketing, which is another show that I do, and so intrigued by what you guys are doing because we were so excited about the potential of the technology. Why don’t you explain who Xapp is, what you guys are doing?

Pat: Well Xapp is really based on giving consumers a voice and enabling them to connect directly with brands. And what we’re doing is, our first product is called Xapp Ads, and that’s designed to make audio advertising work better for consumers, advertisers, and publishers. So that’s really what we’re all about.

Rob: I mean, it’s amazing. So these are voice-prompted ads that require interaction from the user, but this is one of these last things that, I don’t know, do people believe that there’s a possibility to take these audio ads and create two-way interaction? Are you having a hard time selling this?

Pat: People catch onto this very, very quickly. It’s not difficult at all to sell.

Rob: No. I . . .

Pat: People want it.

Rob: Well yeah, because they’re doing it. Obviously, do you believe that radio is, I mean, what are your views on the way things are going with radio right now?

Pat: Well, I think there’s a paradigm shift going on. Terrestrial radio’s been around almost a hundred years, and things have been done a certain way. But internet radio over the last ten or fifteen years has come on strong. The listener-ship of internet radio, there are 140 million people in the U.S. that listen to internet radio already. The total market for terrestrial radio is 238 million, so it’s caught up most of the way very quickly. And why is that happening? It’s happening because people get a more personalized experience. They get to hear the content that they want to listen to, in the order they want to listen to it. So that’s really the big deal, is personalization. To some extent, music discovery, but a personalized experience and to take it with you wherever you are, those are really positive things.

Rob: You know, here’s my experience with internet radio, because I love it. I mean, I don’t have a clock radio in my bedroom. The only place I do have a radio, in fact, is in my car, like a traditional radio. But I was in Amsterdam recently speaking at a conference, and the hockey game – I’m a Canadian, right – and it’s the Montreal Canadians versus the New York Rangers, and that game was on broadcast here in Canada, but obviously I was in Amsterdam. I woke up at 5:00 in the morning in Amsterdam, which was 11:00 p.m. Eastern time, and my immediate reaction was to tune into the Montreal radio station and listen to the end of the hockey game right from where I was in Amsterdam. That kind of stuff. My mother traveled extensively. She worked with our development agents here up in Canada, and back in the day she would carry a short wave, short wave radio. So this is what we’re seeing is this revolution that is happened, where radio all of a sudden, you’re not contained to your local geographic region anymore. Aren’t you?

Pat: That’s right.

Rob: It’s amazing.

Pat: And another thing about internet radio that have not been exploited before is the fact that it’s being streamed over the internet, actually gives you a two-way connection. And that’s what we’re taking advantage of.

Rob: Explain how you do that.

Pat: Well, the way we do it is through a combination of voice technology, cloud technology, and mobile technology, but we have software that lives inside the internet radio app and that communicates with our servers in the cloud. So the plugin that we have that goes inside the app, that allows control over the microphone. So in between stories or in between songs when an ad typically plays, that’s when our plugin takes over. We deliver an advertisement then we prompt the user, the user speaks, and we control the microphone. We listen to that, we figure out what they’re saying, and then we respond accordingly.

Rob: So there’s 134 million internet radio users, that’s what you were saying.

Pat: Hundred forty million [inaudible 00:06:18] . . .

Rob: Hundred forty million. And is it scattered across multiple apps? Is there a leader in the internet radio application world? Are they individual apps? What’s the landscape like that?

Pat: There are a couple of leaders. The largest is Pandora and they have 76 million active users followed by Spotify, which has 40 million. But 40 million, that’s sort of world wide. Spotify is much more of a global company.

Rob: Right, right.

Pat: So they’re the two leaders, but iTunes radio is coming on fast. They’re something over 20 million listeners and then there are a plethora of other apps that are everything from ESPN to ABC News, all kinds of other content that’s available through internet radio today.

Rob: So I use Tune In radio. All it does is broadcast traditional radio stations into one application. Right? It brings in all of that.

Pat: Yes.

Rob: It’s fascinating because we’re talking right around here where at this time where Beats was just acquired by Apple. And there’s a lot of speculation around the wearable use case, but also the Beats radio, right, the music service that Beats has been able to do with Jimmy Iovene and Dr. Dre. So when you see a company like Apple who has their own music or their own radio station go out and make something, an acquisition like this. That’s got to be a sign. It’s one of the biggest acquisitions since, I think, Next. Right? Since they bought the operating system. When you something like that you’ve got to think this has to be an indication that we’re in the right business.

Pat: We see only positive trends for what we’re doing. It’s not only a big market already, it’s growing rapidly and really just getting started when you think of it along the timeline. So yeah, we’re very encouraged not only about where we are today, but the growth prospects. And when you think about what it is we’re doing with advertising today, there are many extensions that can come from that, that just make it better and better.

Rob: Do you have a theory on why? Everybody is speculating why Apple bought Beats. Do you guys in the industry look at this and have a special theory on this or do you subscribe to the combination of everybody’s got them on their ears which is a wearable device and everybody’s using, everybody’s raving about the usability of the internet radios.

Pat: Well, I know what I know from reading just like you have. So the latest thing that I read said really they want Jimmy Iovene and Dr. Dre. They need some new coolness around Apple which they seem to be losing a little bit. The idea that they have the hardware actually softens the blow of the $3 billion price tag because they have about a billion dollars in revenue. But really they’re looking for that cool factor to bring to iTunes radio to draw listeners to it.

Rob: Yeah, I would speculate that that’s it. You just never know with Apple. They come up with some kind of biometric reading device that goes into the headphones, sucks your brain dry, whatever. Who knows? But they have that capability. Okay, that was a total side-step because I’m interested in this, because as this emerges this is becoming another battleground. And do you think that this industry is a 200 million listener world, is it a billion listeners? How big can this grow?

Pat: I think when you grow it worldwide it’s going to be billions of listeners. There’s no question about it. There are times when radio is the best thing available because we call it when people are ultra mobile, when they’re driving, walking, exercising, working, and they’re doing something with their hands and their eyes, but they can be listening to content. So that’s when radio is great and I think it’s just going to continue to grow and grow worldwide to billions.

Rob: How has it changed? So when we used to think about the traditional days and you look behind me if you’re watching this on video, those are actually CDs, music CDs, right, because I built this bookshelf and I have nothing else that fits in those cabinets. They’re actually CDs full of music. So we’ve got to that traditional and right next to me, over here, are a whole bunch of albums, like real albums. So the evolution of music has happened to the point right now where nobody buys music anymore. We rent it, right, which is this world that we’re living in with the radio stations, these internet radio stations. Is that transcendence from physical goods to digital goods, now happened fully and now it’s just about accelerating the number of users?

Pat: But it’s not just it hasn’t fully happened because you look at competing models for how people are trying, how companies are trying to deliver their content, and if you just look at Pandora versus Spotify. For example, with Pandora what their thing is, is their music genome and you can connect and it sort of figures out what you like. You create a few stations and then based on the songs you like and don’t like, it continually delivers content to you. So that’s one method. The Spotify method is more along the lines of giving you the exact song you want at the time you want to hear it.

Rob: Like [inaudible 00:12:02]. Right?

Pat: Yes, but there’s actually monetization that comes into this that’s very important. Both of them have pretty different business models today where it’s 88% of Pandora listeners are actually listening to ad supported radio. Only 12% are on subscriptions. Whereas if you look at Spotify, 25%
of their 40 million are 10 million people, are actually subscription listeners because they love just getting any song they want any time they want it. I think what is going to happen as we help to monetize the ad supported world better, the economics of ad supported radio will improve dramatically on the internet radio side, and that will allow the Pandoras and anybody who has an ad supported environment to deliver an even better experience than they can deliver today, allow people to get to that song just like you could pick a CD off your shelf there.

Rob: Which I never do.

Pat: Oh, yeah, obviously. So I think it’s going to get better and better, but the economics have to change in order for the profitability to be there to make the user experience better and better.

Rob: Well, it’s funny because when was the last time you paid for radio?
Never, right?

Pat: Right.

Rob: Now, no human has paid for radio. Right? I haven’t been on [inaudible 00:03:36] . . .

Pat: Well, satellite radio.

Rob: But that’s what I’m saying, so like we went through this process where radio was just on. I’d turn it on in my car. The world came with radio, shall we say.

Pat: Right.

Rob: Right? And I remember recording songs from the radio. The radio was just this free stream and then Sirius came along. And that, like whether it worked or not, I think you can debate it, the Howard Stern signing from Sir- . . . I listen to Backstreet Station, Backstreet radio station because it’s on Sirius, but the consolidation that has happened there, and I don’t know many people who have paid for Sirius radio because all of a sudden the internet radio came along. Now, there’s so many people using it that this might sound like a dumb question, but is paying for radio a viable business model?

Pat: It is viable today because that’s the only way an absolutely pick your song and play it exactly when you want to hear it, that’s the only way that can be profitable today, and Spotify is proving that.

Rob: Right.

Pat: So it works today, but as the ad supported model improves with monetization and we think it’s going to improve dramatically, that can change. So if the ad supported model gets as good as we think it will get, then it’ll be less of a business model to have a paid subscription. I think a good example of that is Spotify because they’re doing so well with subscription yet they’ve now moved into the ad supported world because they realize you have to be in both worlds today.

Rob: Well, Apple kind of forces your hand when you’ve got the cloud of Apple offering free service like they do. Right?

Pat: Yes.

Rob: Only in the United States. But it’s a weird thing to consider that the [inaudible 00:00:35] to this industry, right, which is the goal is to get as many listeners as possible is with a pay. I guess they all started with this in this pay world. What does the advertisement have to do in order to be able to eliminate the need for the humans to pay?

Pat: What it has to do is it has to have dramatically higher response rates. That’s really what makes advertising more valuable. And if you think about radio advertising, traditionally the way it works is if you wanted to get somebody to respond to something, you have to repeat it several times. And then you have to hope they remember the name or hope they remember the phone number. And later on they think about it and they act on it. Everything changes with zap ads because in that case now, a listener, if they’re interested in something, all they have to do is listen for a prompt and respond to that. So if it’s call now, you don’t have to remember a phone number, you don’t have to wait until later, you just say “call now”
and you are talking to that advertiser. If it’s a website, you will just say “go to” and it’ll bring you to the page. If it’s about downloading an app, you say “download app” and you do that. So as an example, here is an advertiser who’s one of the biggest of all time, Coca-Cola. And Coca-Cola, they’ve had some challenges with their fountain drink sales. So they’ve created the whole freestyle machine where you can configure just like the internet radio. You can personalize your drink. And they now have a freestyle app that listeners can download and they use this app to configure their drink, then they go up to the machine and get it. Well, you think of Coca-Cola as a branding advertiser, but now they have an opportunity with radio listeners to actually get people to download the app. So they’ll get listeners engaging with their brand, downloading the app, and this is the key strategy that they have to improve their fountain drink sales. So that’s one example because it’s just so easy. They don’t have to say, “Hey, go to Cocacola.com and download the app.” You just say download app and it’s on your phone right then and there.

Rob: It’s so powerful to think that through. We were talking about this on the show and the concept is that when you do two-way radio, it could be just about advertising, but this could also be about engagement for traditional radio stations that are being broadcasted out over the internet to get immediate listener feedback and contests, and those kind of things. So that engagement that has never been there except over the phone, now all of a sudden you have the ability to prompt people, right, to prod them into engaging with the radio station in real-time. That’s pretty cool.

Pat: Absolutely and this can be for polls, it can be for contests as you described, so for lots of things. So it applies to the content as well as the advertising.

Rob: Yeah.

Pat: I think that it’s all about being able, not only get people to respond more frequently and more easily, but being able to measure it as well because it’s the measurability of that that now an advertiser can understand in terms of hard ROI. That’s what they are looking for.

Rob: Well, will they be shocked?

Pat: I think they will be. I think what will really be the most shocking is the fact that with higher response rates the publishers and the advertisers both do better. And there has been such a black magic around radio advertising for so long that just measuring the number of people that hurt it is difficult. Internet radio improves that certainly, but there’s still the skepticism amongst advertisers because they haven’t see dramatic results yet. And why? Because the ads to date, if it’s an audio ad, it’s putting a banner up. That’s the only way you can respond and the phone’s in your pocket or it’s on your dashboard. So you can’t respond to it. But now when you’re able to respond, the ability to respond being simple, spontaneous and convenient changes everything. And those higher response rates, the numbers are significant as how that improves things for the advertiser as well as for the publisher and the listener.

Rob: Yeah, you brought up a bunch of points there because it’s fascinating to see this. Right? So metrics and radio stations, traditional radio stations, Terrestrial and even the big guys like Pandora, you have a user base, but that’s not who your target customer is. Your target customer could be like 500 or 300 of those people. Right? And with the way that the technologies [inaudible 00:21:03], you can now segment and segregate and get to those 300 people at the right time, at the right place. But that’s what I mean by shocking is that at the end, maybe it’s only five people that engage. And do you think that this has a downward pressure on advertising dollars because the adjustment is now you’ve always sold audience and now you’re probably going to only sell engagement, right, or interactions. And you go from say, 100,000 target audience to 90 engagements and then that’s what they’re really buying at some certain point. Do you think that there’s some kind of downward pressure on advertising costs?

Pat: Well, downward pressure on costs, I think the budgets don’t move a lot. What I think will happen is they’ll get more value for the budget that they have.

Rob: Got you.

Pat: And companies are looking to grow. If you find a vehicle that’ll allow them to grow, they’re not going to reduce their budgets. They’re going to put more money toward it and they’re going to get more out of that budget. So I see more efficacy, I see higher return on investment, but I really think it will attract dollars to the internet radio medium.

Rob: Yeah, and do you think it takes it away from Terrestrial or other media like newspapers and television?

Pat: Well, no question and in fact, actually it’ll take some away from search because you think about what’s happened to media over the last 15 years. All other forms of media are subsidizing search because what they do is they promote their URL, their domain name. And then people say, “I don’t know what that was. I’ll Google it.”

Rob: Right.

Pat: Well, if you can act instantly without having to later go and Google it, it really now makes it that much more doubly effective for an advertiser who’s not paying twice to get the same listener.

Rob: No kidding. It’s interesting because a lot of technologies that have come out in the last year, obvious gate search. Right? So Siri and all of the voice commands and the prompts, and Google Play is the same thing. And now you’re spot on. Right? Is that now all of a sudden if you can target much more appropriately than it’s active targeting as opposed to waiting for somebody to type in your name into a search bar, why hasn’t Google, the king of search moved into this space? Do you think that they move into this space?

Pat: Well, I think it’s a natural. Google is . . .

Rob: Advertising.

Pat: . . . the kind of all advertising.

Rob: Yeah.

Pat: So I think this will attract their attention. There’s no doubt about it. And we actually work with Double-Click for publishers because a lot of the big internet radio companies are using Double-Click for publishers, so we integrate directly with it. So they’re in and around everything that we’re doing and I think as the numbers prove out, it’s a natural space for them to look.

Rob: Yeah, they’re also creating like a driverless car. So they’re going to have to integrate the radio at some point into this.

Pat: Yeah, absolutely.

Rob: Yeah, it only makes sense. They get everybody driving driverless cars and then they put the radio in. But it brings up a great question, but a little bit about future thinking around this because you start to think about companies like . . . These are land locked companies like Sonos. Right? So they create a great sound system and then you start to think about the mobile devices, the iOS devices, or Android devices, or Blackberry devices, or Windows devices. And then you start to think about the combination of those kind of things walking into a car. Right? And then you’ve got things like iPlay and then whatever Apple’s going to announce around their connected home operating system and all of these things that start to play into your world which is taking the music from your car, into your house, into your bedroom, into your office, where ever you maybe, into the gym; what are you most excited about when you look a little bit in the future aside from what you’re doing with Zap, but related to it. What technology do you see out there that is just going to be the catalyst to that billion person world that we’re going to see in this space?

Pat: Well, I really think it’s the number of platforms that are connected to the internet. And there’s just a lot of innovation around how do we really make the living room work better than it ever has. A lot of people are trying, Apple’s trying, Google’s trying.

Rob: Microsoft is trying.

Pat: And Microsoft’s been trying for a long time. So they’re a combination of things and the connected home, the connected car, all of it are going to benefit from what’s going on in internet radio now. Things that we’re bringing to internet radio can easily be brought to those platforms as well. And voice interaction is one part of it, a listening experience is a part of it, and we think that where ever people that have an audio stream that they’re listening to, it only makes sense to give them an option to interact with it. What we think is important to make it scale is to keep things simple, super, super simple. As an example, Siri, it’s pretty amazing technology, but it’s trying to do some very, very difficult things. No matter what the user says, they’re trying to figure out what that is and in a broad domain that’s near impossible. What we’ve done is made it super, super simple. A simple message, we prompt the user for exactly what that advertiser or what that D.J. wants to hear and all they have to do is say that, that’s all we have to recognize. So keeping it simple like that will make this available to the masses, make it feel comfortable and an easy thing to do. There is plenty of time in the future to get more sophisticated with it with natural language, but right now people just need to become comfortable that they can actually use their voice to get what they want.

Rob: Now, are you seeing results, great results obviously with what you guys are doing?

Pat: Yes, so our first publisher is NPR, a national public radio. And they’ve got six different advertisers now in their NPR news app. They call them sponsors and their sponsorships are doing extremely well. [inaudible 00:27:55] companies like Smart Car and T. Rowe Price, and Fox Search Light, and Carbonite is another example. They’re doing extremely well with United Healthcare, is another, so the response rates they’re seeing are excellent and they’re completely measurable. And there’s another thing that we’re seeing that’s really fantastic. Everybody’s always known that ads have a lifetime to them. That’s why you constantly see new creative. Well, in the case with Zap ads, because they’re so measurable you can see how well they do over their lifespan. And over a period of time eventually ads will lose their efficacy and then you need a new ad for the same product to interest people again. So there’s a couple of parts that make it work. One’s the motivation side. You were talking about the targeting. The motivation comes from targeting the right people, at the right time, with the right message. We’re about the method. Once you’ve created that motivation, how you remove the friction so that it’s just simple for people to act, that’s our role in this.

Rob: The way you describe it though, it is so different from the way that radio has worked since the days that radio was invented, right, when advertising came on there because now what you’re talking about is a requirement. Well, let me ask the question. Do people have to rethink the way that they’re doing advertising in this means to be able to accommodate this? They can’t just take their existing stuff and create ads out of this. Does it take a rethink?

Pat: Well, it takes a little bit of creativity to figure out what will be the most effective. We can’t actually take existing creative audio and append stuff to it, but the way to make it work best is if you create new audio with this call to action in it. So thinking about the call to action and then rather than having to spend a lot of time saying your domain name or saying your phone number and whatnot, you just give them a simple thing to say, “call now”, and it initiates the call right then and there. So it’s not a big lift, but we’ve put enough features into zap ads to give the creative people a whole new palette to work from that’s simple to use, simple to create ads from, but gives them room to do things they’ve never been able to do before in terms of driving direct response.

Rob: It’s true for the very first time. The Tune In radio app that I do use, I ridicule it because it’s a very great resource for me, but to your point is that they use banner ads. Right? So the banner ads are at the bottom of the page. And what do I do? I launch, turn it off, put my headphones on, and go. Those banner ads are great, right, but not for radio. But that brings a whole bunch of things is that because they’re using banner ads, right, which is not what you should be doing on a radio app, but they’re able to get data from these ad networks that in theory, I think, if I looked at the banner ads, they would be much more relevant to my space, the time of day, to my browsing history, to my app history, and also to the radio station history. Right? So they’ll know that I’m listening to a radio station in Ottawa or in Montreal, or Toronto, or Holland, and they’ll be able to customize that banner ad a little bit better based on my location and all those kind of things. The thing about radio and the thing about the internet radio is that it should be able to do that as well, but beyond that if you’re locked into one system, say Apple, I should be also able to bring in my purchasing history from iTunes, right, the apps maybe that I’ve downloaded, the travel apps that I’ve downloaded as well as maybe the iBeacon, the knowledge from iBeacon and the places that I’ve been in the visit to be able to tie that to an absolute offer that I cannot refuse provided to me in audio. Do you see that kind of great day for you and the advertiser what all that information is deposited and the right message? Beyond a shadow of a doubt, that message hits the right person and you’re only displaying it to the three people that are interested. Do you see a day like that?

Pat: Well, it’s going to get closer and closer to that, but it’s a lot more basic than that today. The main things that are being used for targeting today are age, location, and gender.

Rob: Right.

Pat: And all of the thoughts that you have about their listening history and things like this, certainly that’s going to get better and better over time, but we’re not really there today. But even where we are today, if you just create the right motivation for even 1% of the listeners and make it frictionless for them to interact, the numbers are phenomenal.

Rob: Right.

Pat: So it will get better and better as far as targeting. One thing though that there is some push back on from consumers is what’s called retargeting. So a lot of the internet radio players are careful about that. They know that keeping their users in their fold is super important. So retargeting not necessarily the better targeting, absolutely, it will get better and better over time, and big data is all part of that.

Rob: Yeah, you don’t want to look like . . . The web is full of retargeting and it drives you crazy because I might be on a Pokemon website for my kids, it doesn’t mean that I need to see Pokemon banner ads everywhere I go. Right?

Pat: Right.

Rob: I know a bunch of companies that do that especially because I do a lot of research and they keep popping up which is a completely different conversation. What about direct links to commerce? I’ve always thought that say, newspapers, newspapers have this great thing which are ads. So printed ads, I know their viewership is in decline or their readership is in decline, but they still have these printed ads that are basically for me a waste of effort. It’s the same thing as radio station ads that don’t do any interactivity or where I open up a newspaper and I look at an ad, there’s a call to action like “phone us”, right, or “go to our website”, but what if I just want to buy those moccasins. Right? I want to buy them. There is no active way for me to buy from the newspaper and I just say, “Why not let me buy?” So the same thing with the radio stations. I’m driving down the freeway or I’m parked, or whatever it is I was doing. I’m driving down and I get this notification that says, “Hey listen. There is a sale on Bruce Springsteen paraphernalia. Buy now! Have it delivered by the time you get home.” You need milk because you’re on the way home from the airport. Buy now! Have it delivered. Do you see a moment where this stuff is just beyond downloading apps? This becomes just the greatest conduit to commerce because we’re captive.

Pat: Without a question. And in fact, for radio listeners concert tickets are a perfect example. And we have a by-now action that people can actually take. There are some things to make it the authentication of an actual purchase. Actually, you know, we’ll take a little time to do that well if you’re going to authenticate through their voice or some other means. Today you could do with touch I.D. on an IPhone. But take the authentication out of it because that’s going to get better and better. We’re really there today. We can say by now and the purchase can be made for instance by essentially putting it in your shopping cart.

Rob: Mm-hmm.

Pat: And you actually check out, not at that moment, but you check out sometime later. But we can put things in a shopping cart and the purchase is essentially made.

Rob: I mean, I think that that analogy right there is the greatest thing. You know, a lot of people focus on the actual payment process and what you just said there that is so important is that the payments and the authentication will work itself out. That’s not in our purview, we can’t solve that problem. The problem you solve is, what everybody wants is, get the product in the shopping cart, right? Don’t miss that opportunity. If you’re selling tickets to a concert, get the product in a shopping cart.

Pat: Exactly.

Rob: Then, because, you know, that’s the focus. And I love that you guys are doing that. I think that that’s one of the big things that people omit. They always go to the payment. Oh, it’s too complicated. I’m like, forget it. Just get it in the shopping cart.

Pat: Exactly. So, you know, we’re really there today and looking forward to making it better and better.

Rob: All right. Where do we send people to get more information about what you guys are doing? Either that’s advertisers or, you know, independent radio stations? Where do we send people?

Pat: So, our website is XappMedia.com, that’s spelled with an X-A-P-P, Media.com, and our phone number is 855-XAPPADS.

Rob: 855-XAPPADS. No, this has been a great dialect. What I hope to do is, as this economy merges, you know, internet radio economy which is great, and it starts to actually add G.D.P. right? It’s going to add some serious numbers to this. And that transition from the paid world to the, you know, moderately balanced advertising to paid world happens, I’d love to keep this conversation going, if you don’t mind. Would you be up for that, Pat?

Pat: I’d love to.

Rob: Yeah.

Pat: Yeah it’s been enthralling and I look forward to continuing it in the future.

Rob: Thank you, Pat. All right, we have been speaking with Pat Higbie who is the C.E.O. and co-founder of a company called Xapp Media that’s X-A-P-P Media.com. Go and visit, go and find some more information. We’ll have Pat back on here as this world emerges and they start to see some great results. So if there’s case studies that are really, that showcase the power of this, we’ll definitely get Pat back on. Pat, thank you so much for being part of UNTETHER.TV.

Pat: Rob, thank you for having me.

Rob: Those of you who are out there listening, maybe you’re in your car. This I consider at UNTETHER.TV is an independent radio station. Maybe I should put some monetization, maybe a couple of ads on here. But wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I really appreciate the fact that you are actually tuned into UNTETHER.TV. Please, keep coming back. We’ll see you next time on UNTETHER.tv. Thanks, Pat.

Pat: Thanks, Rob.


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About Pat HigbiePat Higbie XAPPmediaPat is an entrepreneur with a career of building technology firms from the ground up. He is building a culture at XAPP that fosters ownership, commitment and innovation from every team member and partner. Prior to XAPP, he was EVP at Xtone; and before that was Founder and CEO of DataFocus. DataFocus was a pioneer in data modeling and relational data base design and later developed NuTCRACKER. He sold the services business to CIBER, and the NuTCRACKER business to MKS (now PTC).

Pat received a BS in Civil Engineering with High Honors from the U. S. Coast Guard Academy and an MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois where he was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I’m Rob, the founder of UNTETHER.tv and I’ve spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I’ve helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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