Apple’s iTunes Radio streaming service will launch in September with at least four high-profile brands including McDonald’s and Pepsi, sources claim, and listeners should expect to hear an audio advert every fifteen minutes and a video ad every hour. Announced at WWDC 2013 back in June, iTunes Radio takes on Pandora, Spotify and other streaming music services and will presumably be launched alongside iOS 7; according to Advertising Age, McDonald’s, Nissan, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, and potentially up to two more brands will be first out of the gate with multi-million 12 month advertising deals.
According to the insiders familiar with Apple’s negotiations, there will be three types of advert users of iTunes Radio can expect to see. Most familiar are the audio and video adverts, which will interrupt playback periodically; Apple has supposedly tuned the video advert system so that the promotional content pops up when the user is most likely to be looking at their display, such as just after pressing play or skipping through tracks.
However, the third type of advert may be more controversial. Dubbed “slate” ads, they are apparently a full-screen takeover, bringing up an interactive iAd-style page that completely covers whatever the user was looking at before. These will be supported not only on iPhone and iPad, but on Apple TV, and iTunes on both Macs and Windows PCs.
It’s unclear how frequently the full-screen adverts will be shown, though it may be down to how much each brand is willing to pay. The sources say that Apple has a sliding scale depending on screen size: iPhone advertising will be cheapest, with Apple TV the most expensive.
From 2014, advertisers will be able to choose which devices their promotions show up on. The 4+ initial partners will have exclusivity until the end of the year, but as of next year Apple will be opening up its books, it’s said, with a minimum $1m buy-in tipped.
Those not keen on adverts but still wanting iTunes Radio support will be able to bypass the promos by subscribing to iTunes Match for $24.99 per year. A “buy track” button will also be displayed along with every song playing.