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Stitcher ad-supported streaming-audio app expands smartphone availability

Stitcher, a provider of news and talk radio for smartphone users, is hosting ad campaigns by Audible.com and Nutrition 53 featuring both audio and banner ads.

There are versions of the Stitcher ad-supported streaming-audio application for Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry Storm and Bold 9000, and it is now available for all models of the BlackBerry Curve, including the 8800 and 8820. Stitcher can be downloaded in the iTunes App Store and in BlackBerry App World.

"Stitcher was really created because listening to digital audio content on the go is difficult -- you have to sync an iPod every day, and for news and talk radio you have to have the latest updated version to be able to extract the value from it," said Colin Billings, director of user experience at Stitcher, San Francisco.

"Using Stitcher, consumers can listen to news and talk content wherever they are while they're on the go, and we've removed problems hindering the adoption of podcasting," he said. "By doing that, we're going to revolutionize the radio model and revitalize the broadcast medium."

With Stitcher's free mobile phone application, iPhone and Blackberry listeners can stream online news, sports, talk and entertainment to their handset.

Stitcher was introduced into BlackBerry's App World in May 2009 a year after its launch as an iPhone application.

The Stitcher application for iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones provides consumers with digital content in an audio format on the go, which Sticher refers to as "Smart Radio."

According to Stitcher, Smart Radio is a rapidly emerging media category that combines the mobility of radio with the content availability and choice of Internet technology.

With Smart Radio, anyone with an Internet connection can stream on-demand audio to their mobile devices, customizing their programming to fit their individual preferences and interests, from music to talk to information.

Stitcher's goal is to make free Smart Radio available to all smartphone users.

Stitcher will continue to roll out for additional BlackBerry models, as well as new mobile platforms.

The company provides advertisers with unique targeting options.

"Traditionally stations have put out content over the airwaves and have no idea who's listening to it, but by knowing what you're listening to on Stitcher, we improve the user experience and can sell higher-value ads to our advertisers," Mr. Billings said. "Users actually hear fewer ads as a percentage of their listening experience, because they're more targeted to each user's interests.

"That also makes it more valuable to advertisers," he said. "We can sustain our business model with fewer ads than traditional radio."

Stitcher's target demographic is active professionals who are tech-savvy early adopters of smartphones,

According to Stitcher, 80 percent of its audience is between the ages of 25 and 55, with the sweet spot between 35 and 55. In addition, 88 percent of its listeners have a college degree and/or an advanced degree.

Stitcher ties into third-party mobile ad networks, including AdMob and Quattro Wireless, for display, branding and CPM advertising.

"We sell audio ads directly, although we primarily sell postroll ads, and we will be able to do preroll in the near future," Mr. Billings said. "We can also do banners with audio sponsored by a brand."

Digital audiobooks vendor Audible.com has bought ad inventory within Sticher to help drive its free trails and subscription services.

Supplements company Nutrition 53 also advertises on Stitcher.

To promote itself, Stitcher runs radio ads on talk-radio stations and runs on-deck mobile advertising.

"The next big step for us is to move onto Verizon handsets, coming towards the end of the month," Mr. Billings said. "We're excited about the Smart Radio segment.

"The idea is that anyone with an Internet connection on their phone can benefit from individualized content, and advertisers benefit from our targeting capabilities," he said.