The Newest Revenue Growth Area for Radio

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Written by Kerry Brewer of Securenet Systems, featured on RadioInk.

If you haven’t been living in a cave or under a rock, then you are probably aware of the latest buzz about online music, radio streaming, listener sites, etc. Sites like Pandora, Spotify and Rhapsody have become popular names for the pure-play subscription model. Terrestrial stations and internet stations have taken to the internet airwaves and continue to expand the listener market. I talked about ‘choice’ last week; well, there are so many choices today, with desktops, mobile devices, internet-TV and internet radio devices taking center stage when it comes to online streaming of music, talk radio, TV and other rich content.

Let’s look at just some of the advertising developments that are impacting the online streaming market - a market that is slated to triple by the year 2020. More and more businesses and entrepreneurs are expanding their mobile advertising by creating custom apps for their products or services. With mobile advertising expected to outpace desktop advertising in the next 5 years, one of the best ways to take advantage of the boom is to have your own smartphone app. If you have the budget to develop an engaging, user-interactive app, and place it online, then you can automatically deliver ads to your app users. An engaging, appealing, competitive app can be anywhere from $5,000 - $20,000 and up, depending on how crazy you want to get.

We are still seeing a lot of radio stations that are not streaming with full-features, cheating themselves of the ability to monetize listener traffic and generate revenue. Many stations are still streaming straight up in whatever default desktop player your desktop happens to be running. This allows listeners to hear the broadcast, but carries none of the essential features for monetizing listener traffic, calculating royalties or displaying metadata like song and artist info, album art, playlists . . . and a whole host of other rich features that their competitors are using to pass them by, gain listener loyalty and make more money.

One of the more common features of the online growth that many found annoying at first, is the integration of advertising, particularly in the video pre-roll sector. If you have looked at any news site videos, or sites like Hulu TV, then you will be forced to watch (generally :15 second spots) a video commercial before the actual news or media stream starts. This is the new world of pre-roll advertising and it is becoming a standard feature of the streamscape. That’s right; standard, as in accepted by the masses. This is one great way to monetize and stream; video, radio, news . . .you name it, you are seeing pre-rolls popping up everywhere. And it’s no wonder too. Pre-rolls command higher CPMs because the visitor is a captive audience for that :15 to :30 seconds.

And lastly, the market is becoming flooded now with internet radios that look and resemble old-school radios like we had back in the day, except they WiFi into your home network and deliver high-quality streaming music and talk radio in MP3 or AAC+ format. Names like Sony, Logitech, Asus and Grace come with up to 100,000 radio stations from around the world that you can pull in, create favorites, playlists, and just plain overkill yourself with choice of music. One of the underlying foundations of some of these new internet devices is the service RadioTime, out of Texas. RadioTime provides an aggregate portal of worldwide stations, and also allows listeners to build playlists and create custom pages. You can even punch in your zip code from your hometown and be listening to your favorite station . . .from anywhere in the world!

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