SOURCE: Horizon Media

February 20, 2015 08:06 ET

Horizon Media Develops Mood-Based Planning & Buying Approach for Audio

Research Study Conducted in Partnership With iHeartMedia Finds Audio Investments Should Align With Listeners Based on Emotion and Evolving Consumption Habits

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - February 20, 2015) - Horizon Media, the fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world, announced today it has established a mood-based roadmap for planning audio investments, a process that creates recommendations based on the emotional experience brands want to create or connect with versus the traditional demographic-based planning and buying approach.

Horizon Media partnered with iHeartMedia, one of the leading global media and entertainment platforms spanning radio, digital, outdoor, mobile, live events, and on-demand entertainment and information services, to conduct a study into the future of audio. This research provides a blueprint for a new cross-optimization platform for audio, enabling marketers to more efficiently and effectively link their brands with consumers by engaging at a deeper, enduring level.

The research study, conducted by Sparkler, an award-winning insights and brand strategy consultancy based in London, included exploration with more than 2,000 people, as well as in-depth one on one consumer conversations. Additionally, a number of academic and industry experts were interviewed for input including Professor Simon Frith of University of Edinburgh; Paula Woodley of University of Southern California; Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia; Ryan Seacrest, Producer and TV Host; as well as Kathleen Bohan, Senior Vice President at Univision; and Tim Westergren, Co-Founder of Pandora Radio.

"We've turned the audio planning model on its head," said Sheri Roder, Chief of the WHY Group at Horizon Media. "By identifying and detailing the underlying motivations that compel people to choose different platforms and content, we were able to construct a fresh approach that transcends the existing audio landscape precisely because it is predicated on a person's desired emotional or sensory state. In the future, we will be able to make planning and buying decisions using mood and emotion as the pivot point, regardless of whatever new technologies and behaviors develop."

The agency will marry its consumer emotion and mood insights with its recently expanded proprietary planning and activation tool, Audio BrandRatings, to give the agency viewability into viable alternatives to target based on emotion in the right environments. Audio BrandRatings empowers client brands to identify the most effective, targeted and efficient audio environments. It fuses syndicated and proprietary data along with specific emotional brand attributes to identify more targeted and engaging matches between a brand, its consumers and the artists they follow most passionately.

"Most planning and buying is guided by audience scale and qualitative data," said Lauren Russo, SVP, Managing Director of Audio & Promotions. "There's a missed opportunity for increased engagement when brand planning is primarily focused on day-parts. We've always known that audio provides a direct line to our emotions, moods and memories. Now, we have an actionable way to explore this untapped arena so that we can ensure brands connect with consumers through key 'mood zones' throughout the day."

"The research reinforces the critical role that live radio plays in consumers' lives, even with so many new and emerging audio platforms," said Dr. Radha Subramanyam, President of Insights for iHeartMedia. "Consumers continue to seek out content on the radio with which they have a personal connection and that is suited to their changing moods and needs throughout the day. The audio category, including digital radio, continues to grow and these behavioral targeting planning tools will better leverage the deep emotional connection radio is known to have with consumers."

About Horizon Media
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world's ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry's leading trade association.

The company's mission is "To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere." By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $4.7 billion and over 1000 employees.

The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit horizonmedia.com.

About iHeartMedia
With 245 million monthly listeners in the U.S., 97 million monthly digital uniques and 196 million monthly consumers of its Total Traffic and Weather Network, iHeartMedia has the largest reach of any radio or television outlet in America. It serves over 150 markets through 859 owned radio stations, and the company's radio stations and content can be heard on AM/FM, HD digital radio, satellite radio, on the Internet at iHeartRadio.com and on the company's radio station websites, on the iHeartRadio mobile app, in enhanced auto dashes, on tablets and smartphones, and on gaming consoles. 

iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia's digital radio platform, is the No. 1 all-in-one digital audio service with over 430 million downloads; it reached its first 20 million registered users faster than any digital service in Internet history and reached 50 million users faster than any digital music service and even faster than Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. The company's operations include radio broadcasting, online, mobile, digital and social media, live concerts and events, syndication, music research services and independent media representation.

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