According to a report in Mediaweek, Verizon Wireless has moved to sponsor a branded new music channel on 21 Clear Channel stations that will be offered as an HD2 side channel and streamed online. Curiously, the article positions Verizon New Music as a branded HD channel which will also be streamed, although trends and recent information on listening would certainly indicate that the streamed audience will be greater than the number of people listening to the over the air HD service. The article claims that Verizon Wireless is the first national advertiser to move into HD Radio, so perhaps that’s the reason for the emphasis.
Verizon Wireless will receive 2 20 second spots per hour on the branded station, as well as sponsorship promotion mention on the associated stations which include some of Clear Channels biggest stations like WHTZ-FM in New York, KIIS-FM in Los Angeles, WKSC-FM in Chicago, and WIHT-FM in Washington, D.C, and weekly listenership over 30 million.
Last month the Wall Street Journal published an article that questioned the future of HD Radio and pointed out that Internet radio may well be the bright spot for all the broadcasters who are developing additional channels of programming for HD, because they can easily also stream those additional channels and amass streaming audience, which is growing at a much faster rate. See my post about it here.
Regardless of the reason for the HD spin, Verizon Wireless has made a significant move into digital audio with Clear Channel’s New Music channels. This is an excellent example of leveraging cross platform technologies to attract an advertiser like Verizon Wireless. The channel’s 18-34 audience is a perfect match for the advertiser and the exposure across alternative audio platforms creates a new media package that positions Verizon Wireless as a savvy hip brand.