New Homepage for Streema.com

This is just a short update to let you know we’ve updated our Homepage, you can check it out here.

As we’ve mentioned recently, we’re slowly restyling our entire desktop website, and this was an important milestone – hope you like it. 🙂 Also, the new Radio and TV players are coming soon, so stay tuned!

One more important thing: we would love to feature more images of radio and tv stations, so if you own or work for one, please contact us. Thanks!

The Streema Team

Sneak Peek of what’s coming at Streema

For a while now, we’ve been wanting to restyle Streema’s website for desktop users. And here we wanted to give you a heads up of what’s coming!

First, let’s take a step back – one of our priorities was to change our site without confusing our users. There are many things we needed to improve, so we’ve been working hard on the “facets of the honeycomb” – mostly in the following attributes: useful, usable, findable, accesible, and credible. (thanks Nico!)

To start off, we silently rolled out a new layout for our radio profiles. This is what you’ll find now on our site:

Also, as a sneak peak, here’s a mockup of what we think our homepage could look like:

… and for those site builders and web enthusiasts out there, here are two possible wireframes for our new radio player page:

Bear in mind that this is a work in progress and that we may implement something completely different, but we still wanted to share this with you. 🙂

Hope you like what you’ve seen above and hope you will soon enjoy a new and improved Streema. Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Connecting the World of Television Stations to Streema

It’s no coincidence that the first music video shown on MTV in 1981 was a song called “Video Killed The Radio Star”, that there is a great band called “TV on the Radio”, and that many of the major radio stations also belong to the same media groups that own TV stations. There has always been bonding, comparison, even rivalry between the TV and radio and we cannot deny there is a connection between them. The two main broadcast media for the 20th Century are more related than one might think.

From the technical point of view, it’s true they transmit in different parts of the radio frequency spectrum (USA example), but on the human side, they share actors, producers and directors, and many of the roles played on TV are also played on radio. TV is about entertainment, news, sports, education, politics, culture… it’s not a surprise that radio has those same genres as well. And at the end of the day, TV is about connecting with people and radio is about connecting people. When we look at what we want to do at Streema, it’s connecting people.

We already have radio, so why not bring TV to Streema? Well, we thought it was a great idea and we did it! Starting January 1st, 2013, you’ll be able to watch TV on Streema. We’ll start with a few TV Stations from North America, but over the next few months we’ll be adding more from the rest of the world. Hope you enjoy this end-of-the year announcement! We know we will. 🙂

And given that that 2012 is coming to a close… Happy New Year and see you in 2013!

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

PS: Here one of the songs we like more of TV on the Radio:

Improving Testing Time at Streema

At Streema we like to develop at a fast pace.  One of the things that allows us to do that is to have an automatically tested codebase. We want to always be shipping and having our apps tested gives us some degree of confidence that we won’t break it all each time we commit a change.

But running tests takes time. A few months ago our unit tests were taking over 12 minutes to run. Each time someone wanted to run the tests, the situation was pretty much like this:

As you might recall, we use Python/Django. And our problem was the use of fixtures in our unit/functional tests. As @carljm said on his “Testing and Django” talk for PyCon 2012, they are slow to load, hard to maintain and increase test interdependence. We had huge fixtures, 1mb fixtures, which loaded thousands of models and they were used on dozens of tests!  With a little bit of patience we were able to remove them all and replace them by using factory boy.

The result:  we reduced the test run time from over 12 minutes to under a minute.  Yes, a single minute.  =)

Stay tuned for more news and insight on the technical details of Streema. We might have an interesting thing or two to share!

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Some thoughts on Radio

Sometimes when we explain to people what we do, we hear a reaction such as: “Ahhh, broadcast radio… isn’t that industry going downhill, specially with all those services such as Pandora, Spotify…”. In this blog post we would like to give our point of view.

First, when we think about “radio”, we think about a song, talk, show, or any content that is delivered live to everyone. While some services offer music or content on demand, radio is essentially the same audio content at the same time to everybody.

Right now there is trend called “customization” that technology and the web have spread widely, but we think that even in this context a live stream that anyone can tune in to has very specific value. Actually, it’s a way to “connect” people and makes us feel in community. Think about a song that is released for the first time on a station or when a popular radio DJ ask a tough fun question to a caller on live radio – that is a very unique experience.

Second, as we’ve mentioned before, radio is not only about music, there are also live shows, sport events, and talk shows of every type that you can imagine and even more: anime, astrology, art, children, drama, gaming, language, military, transport… and the list goes on. There are more than 70 non music genres containing radio stations that represent more than 30% of our directory.

Now, let’s get back to music. Everybody would think that most people discover new music through sources such as YouTube, Spotify, or any similar. However, recent studies suggest that people still choose radio as their first source for music discovery.

And now, back to content. It’s true, a big part of the traditional radio industry is still doing the same thing that it was doing decades ago, but there is a lot changing too and there are many people experimenting with new things, like new sources to fund and reach audiences. For example, the case of radio show “99% Invisible“, they aimed to raise $ 42K at Kickstarter (a popular online crowdfunding platform) and this month they raised more than $170K!!! This may or may not be a trend, although it’s certainly not the only one, and while it’s also true that not every show can easily raise the money to make it happen, this is for sure a great success story!

To conclude, without a doubt radio has its threats and its weaknesses, but we believe it also has its strengths and its opportunities. We hope Streema can help with these last two, helping radio to reach places it has never reached before and connect with its listeners in ways it has never done before.

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

If you’re still interested on this topic, check this out: The Big Box Theory, or Why Radio Is and/or Isn’t Dead

The truth about…

Yes, it’s true, we didn’t post any news during the month of July – and that was the first time it happened since we opened this blog back in 2008!

The truth is… we’ve been quite busy here! But we do hate to say that, because busy is not a good explanation nor is the answer we think you should receive – this beautiful article tells why we think that: The ‘Busy’ Trap.

Now, it’s also true that if we don’t want this to happen again, we better start working on our next blog post. 🙂 Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

PS: BTW, Dilbert always explains it better (click on the image to see it in a larger size).

Dilbert.com

Streema Behind the Scenes, or better said, Behind the Streams. :)

A few times people have asked us about Streema with questions such as: are you guys a radio? are you a streaming services provider? We’ll answer these questions and a few more, so fasten your seat belts cause we’re going Behind the Streams. 🙂

To start off, we like to say that Streema is a social networking site for radio listeners – a big part of our service is to connect listeners and radio stations through the Internet. There are many stations that stream online, ranging from the very big stations that are part of a big corporation to the very small ones run by one person as a hobby. In order to make it easier for listeners to find these great stations, we created Streema. So, we are not a radio station, rather we are like your car’s radio tuner, which can tune to all publicly available stations, but we do it for the web and with a social angle to it.

Additionally, radio stations, big and small, stream their content via third party providers that take care of all the technical stuff, offering a publicly available stream, while the stations themselves focus on the content: music, talk and sports mostly. We’re not streaming content providers, but we do allow the listener to tune in to those streams provided by these third party services.

To summarize, Streema is not a radio station nor do we host nor stream content provided by the radio stations. However, we do organize all this information and provide a platform where people can tune in, discover and share their favorite radio stations, and in the future we’d love to build a global platform for radio stations to help them understand, learn from, and grow their own audiences.

We hope we’ve addressed some of these questions and that you continue enjoying a great listening experience on Streema. 🙂

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team