We have a bevy of leaks from Apple's iTunes Radio service this Tuesday, all stemming from an AdAge article. The least surprising is that Apple will launch iTunes Radio in September, but the company will do it with at least four large brands paying big bucks to advertise on the network through iAd, and the ads will be a combination of audio ads and interactive ads that include full-screen interstitials.
iTunes Radio Screenshots
What's surprising about the middle point is that Apple's in-app iAd services has met with limited success, despite Apple lowering the minimum ad-buy substantially in the years since it was introduced.
Nonetheless, AdAge reported that McDonald's, Nissan, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble have signed on to be launch partners for iTunes Radio, forking from the low-single millions of dollars (US) to tens of millions of dollars for the privilege. There could be "one or two" additional brands, as well.
The report also said that Apple will be running three forms of ads: audio, video and slate ads, and full-screen interstitials. According to AdAge's sources, users will get an audio ad every 15 minutes and then a video ad once an hour.
The video ads will cleverly be served when the user is likely to be looking at the screen, for instance, right after they have hit an onscreen control for playing or skipping a song.
Note that iTunes Radio customers can listen to the service ad-free by buying the $24.99 per year iTunes Match, a service that was originally launched to provide in-the-cloud matching of your iTunes library across your devices.
Apple has reportedly offered these big-name launch advertisers exclusive representation in their respective industries through 2013. One or more of the four launch companies has signed on for a full year, but otherwise exclusivity ends at the beginning of 2014. At that point, if you can pay the minimum $1 million entry fee, you, too, can advertise on iTunes Radio.
Apple announced iTunes Radio at June's World Wide Developer Service. The service allows users to set up their own stations based around a song, band, genre, or several pre-configured stations put together by Apple to stream music.
Apple is also building in ties to iTunes Music Store that will allow users to easily buy music that they hear on iTunes Radio.
The company has not announced a launch date, but is expected to hold a media event on September 10th for introducing new iPhone models. That would be a logical date for Apple to launch iTunes Radio, as well.
iTunes Radio is currently in beta in iOS 7 developer seeds and a developer seed for iTunes on OS X.