The Radio Advertising Bureau recently released 09 year end and fourth quarter revenue analysis showing that digital platforms were the only revenue category that grew last year. As opposed to Local and National spot, Network and Off-air revenue categories, Digital inventory produced $480 million in 2009, representing a 13% increase in digital revenue.
This is not a strictly streaming number, instead it represents all revenue derived from a station’s website, including activity generated by the websites, internet/web streaming and HD Radio including HD2 and HD3 stations. The report acknowledges that radio’s digital platform continues to provide listeners more choice and deliver additional options for advertisers who, according to the report “increasingly recognize Radio’s loyal audiences who tune in via multiple audio devices such iPods, HD, mobile apps, etc.” Specifically, the analysis points out that Radio’s opt-in communities, ability to drive website traffic, and and branded online opportunities provide additional revenue builders for the industry.
In addition to providing the only growth category for last year, digital revenue is becoming an increasingly significant portion of the revenue solution for broadcasters. In 2009 it represented 6.5% of total revenue (it’s not broken out from all off-air revenue for 2008). Media strategy firm BIA/Kelsey has projected that digital revenues will grow to 30% of radio’s number by 2015 and hit $46.5 billion.
A new study from RTDNA (Radio Television Digital News Association) sheds light on the challenge local stations have maintaining their websites. Only 38 percent of news directors responded that they’re comfortable that their stations are on top of new technology. TV Web sites have increased the number of live newscasts and audio streaming compared to a year ago. Radio stations have increased the use of pictures, audio, streaming, video clips and podcasts.
While the study finds that most local broadcast stations have added staff this year for their online efforts, it also finds the stations lacking in management level expertise for those platforms. “The latest RTNDA/Hofstra University study holds a mirror up for us to see the immediate need for more editorial supervision and management vision when it comes to our news web sites,” said RTNDA Chairman Stacey Woelfel. “These sites have never been as important as they are now and are, of course, a primary path for us to deliver news to our audiences — now and even more so in the future. This research gives every news director in America something to examine in his or her own newsroom.”
Meanwhile, NPR has identified a similar craving for local news online. They recently received $3 million in funding to launch a new journalism project that will focus on providing in-depth, hyper-local coverage on community-specific issues on an online platform. According to a report in Techcrunch, certain stations will pilot projects to provide hyper-local news of interest in their communities, by hiring journalist bloggers to gather news and info on specific topics. In addition, the pilot stations will have access to video from PBS’s The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and other PBS programs, and will be able to share their content as well.
Time Magazine has published a list of 50 Best Websites, which will provide me with several hours of surfing. Without checking out any of the ones I haven’t heard of, I am delighted to see Delicious sitting at #3, although I would have put it at number one. Delicious, a social bookmarking site owned by Yahoo, is the one place on the web I visit everyday and could not live without. I use it to organize things I read, sites I visit, and all information that I find on the web. I frequently bookmark articles there for the Articles I’m Reading section of Audio4cast.
Another site that I use a lot, Flickr, is also on the list. I use this one to get images for my blog, but it’s also a great place to share pics. Twitter, Google, Facebook and Skype, all indispensable to my online self, made the list as well.
Pandora, Spotify, Musicovery and Last.fm represent Internet radio on the list. Pandora and Last.fm are “near twin radio killers” according to Time, while Musicovery is “a music-streaming site with a mood-ring interface that works like a soundboard for adjusting your robot DJ’s musical taste….(with an interface) so radically different from Pandora and Last.fm that it seems like it was beamed from an ultra-sophisticated, über-arty future utopia. ” Spotify, according to Time, is the holy grail, celestial jukebox that will stream any song you want and pay the royalties for you. Given that you can’t listen in the US yet, it might be just a little early for them to appear on this list, but it’s definitely trendy to talk about them.
It’s a great list. Unfortunately, they forgot Audio4cast, but there’s always next year….