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Friday, March 16, 2007

Internet offers alternative to radio's cash-over-content model

In the radio biz, cash has been trumping content for some time now. The internet has levelled the playing field somewhat, but once the heavies enter the game, they tend to take over. This article illustrates how the internet is now helping the rich get richer ...

JP Morgan has released statistics showing that terrestrial broadcasters are doing well when it comes to Internet radio. According to their research, unique visitors to terrestrial radio streams were up 37% in January.

According to Nielsen-NetRatings, ... the Internet radio audience has grown at a 1.6% monthly compounded rate since Jan 2006.

The 22% Y/Y growth in unique visitors was driven by the terrestrial radio operators, whose unique visitors grew about 71% year over year and about 2% sequentially.

Growth is much stronger for the terrestrial operators Y/Y than it is for the pure play Internet players, reflecting the terrestrial operators’ recent investments into their digital/online operations. As a result, terrestrial’s share of total unique visitors hit a new high.

So. If the internet can expand their audience reach to this extent, to the big radio stations the huge hike in royalty fees recently imposed on them is a drop in the bucket. In fact, it actually works to their benefit, keeping the content-rich but cash-strapped indie players out of the game.

That's why Creative Commons makes so much sense for niche broadcasters ... and the artists they feature. It helps keep the internet playing field level for the "little guys" by creating opportunities similar to the early days of radio when content was king.

Let's just hope we can maintain net neutrality so it stays that way.

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