CBSRadio moved last week to block international streaming access to its radio streams, including AOL Radio and Yahoo Radio streams, but not including Last.fm. According to Inside Radio, “CBS Radio VP of communications Karen Mateo says its streams ‘are designed for and promoted to the U.S. market which is where the majority of our audience comes from. These changes will allow us to focus on and grow our audiences in the U.S.”
Apparently, this news was met with protest, which first appeared on discussion boards at Radio-Info, by listeners in other countries who enjoy access to CBSRadio streams. However, the decision makes some fiscal sense – streaming costs as well as streaming royalties are expensive, and CBS sales efforts are concentrated exclusively on US advertisers, who aren’t interested in paying for impressions delivered to listeners outside the US.
Other groups have made similar decisions – Clear Channel currently blocks access outside the US for its streams, and Pandora also limits access. But Cox’s VP of Digital Gregg Lindahl told Inside Radio that they consider their overseas streams to be a service to soldiers whom their stations hear from all the time.
Geo IP targeting capabilities have made it possible for buyers to understand what percentage of a station’s audience is non-domestic, and to elect not to purchase those impressions. Without a way to monetize the audience, it’s tough to justify delivering the content. AndoMedia recently began releasing streaming audience data in both domestic and total audience rankers, showing what percentage of a station’s audience is domestic versus international.
There’s an alternative for stations that want to continue to provide streaming access to listeners outside the US. Adswizz, a Belgium based company that provides a platform for display, video and audio ad-serving and ad management to radio stations, also has an ad exchange network that enables stations to sell those impressions. “Adswizz is indeed an alternative and we would certainly like to sell their international inventory in Europe using our exchange network”, says Patrick Roger, VP Global Sales and Marketing, Adswizz.
In fact, they’re already selling campaigns for some US based web-only properties that have such impressions. This solution, or one that finds advertisers who are specifically interested in sponsoring access to listeners outside the US, are two alternatives that would make more friends than enemies, extend a company’s platform, brand and audience, and provide some extra revenue as well…