Internet music service Custom Channels is helping retail businesses like Whole Foods Markets transform in-store environments with broadcast-quality audio programs, mixing music and dynamic advertising that deliver a branded, radio-like experience. The company is relying cloud-based streaming services from StreamGuys to support its customers. StreamGuys is a comprehensive provider of audio and video streaming toolsets and services.
Custom Channels President/Co-Founder Dave Rahn launched the service following years of experience working at and consulting for radio stations. Rahn and his team leverage production skills and broadcast programming knowledge to build custom in-store programs for retailers like Whole Foods, for which they support two-thirds of their stores. They can produce a true “retail radio” station with full-blown professional production, deejays and live requests.
The company recently switched to StreamGuys for content delivery support: “We have always used an outside CDN because the specialized technical knowledge required to maintain servers, bandwidth and overall infrastructure is frankly beyond our area of expertise,” said Rahn. “The difference with StreamGuys is that they are not forcing us into one business model for streaming services. They instead provide us with the streaming services that are right for our model, and deliver the ongoing recommendations, support and troubleshooting we need.”
StreamGuys incorporates third-party ad insertion software into its streaming, targeting broadcasters and IP-based music services that want to incorporate promotional content in the form of pre-rolls, mid-rolls and post-rolls — and potentially generate new revenue streams.
Custom Channels also incorporates dynamic ad insertions in the mid-rolls, which Rahn says is a strong tool to trigger ads and promos for in-store streaming: “The ad insertion software in the StreamGuys architecture allows us to manage content at the server side as opposed to just pushing messages to individual players and boxes. For example, we work with a large chain of dental offices, Comfort Dental, with offices all over the country. The mid-roll insertions allow us to take a single Comfort Dental radio channel and insert specialized ads for each region, or even down to the local office level. The messages don’t have to live in the origin stream; instead, we create a place in the stream and insert them on a very targeted basis.”
Rahn also points to several restaurant clients, including the 200-plus Which Wich sandwich shop chain; and the fast casual Mod Pizza chain based in the Seattle region. Another client is Floyd’s Barbershop, which operates more than 70 outlets.