Does It Make Sense to Block Listeners Outside the US From Streaming?

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…

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5 responses

  1. […] the United States, United Kingdom and Germany; Pandora charges users that listen over 40 hours; CBS radio block users outside of the U.S. blog comments powered by Disqus var disqus_url = […]

  2. As a Californian who lives part-time out of the country, I depended on CBS Radio stations to keep me informed of my home area (KCBS News Radio from San Francisco). When returning to the US, I would tend to patronize the companies that advertised online, knowing that because of them, I was able to receive KCBS. That is no longer true. While CBS radio may save in royalty fees by not streaming their music stations (though I question that), it seems that at least they should continue streaming their all news stations, for which they are the sole owners of the content.

  3. This is asinine.
    I am a frequent traveler who depended on being able to keep abreast of news and possibly even emergencies ,back in the states. The very fact that I am listening from 8000 miles away proves I am the VERY loyal listener they are trying to target!

  4. Here all this time I thought that I couldn’t get knx because of our stupid pinhead canadian regulators. But to know now that its really from the cbs people, I just can’t believe it!
    Here we are up in canada worrying about the big bad american media contaminating our precious insipid culture and here now is proof that we have nothing to fear from them–they just won’t allow us to access it.

    What a bunch of pinheads running cbs!

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