Radio Survives Competition from New Media

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By Vittorio Hernandez | June 20, 2014 4:02 PM EST

It has been said that print media's survival is at risk because of new media. More people have stopped buying the traditional newspaper and instead shifted to the Internet or television and radio for news.

Reuters

Even traditional free TV also lost advertising revenues to cable as viewers prefer the clear broadcast offered via subscription or the latest movies and TV shows as well as special programmes through pay-per-view offers.

But it is quite a different case for the radio, which also got competition from new media.

According to former Austereo Network CEO and current Marchmedia Managing Director Brad March in an article in Radio Today, while radio will continue to have competition from other delivery platforms and innovations such as Apple's dashboard CarPlay, the deciding factor for the radio listener would still be the content behind the apps.

March said that radio programming would remain a mixture of art and science, combining creativity, research, strategy and entertainment. The country's radio industry, though, is marked by a battle of business models, specifically advertising versus subscription.

Pandora has reached one million users in Australia, which is about the same size of listeners of the leading FM radio stations in Sydney and Melbourne.

To entice college students to subscribe, Spotify offer discounts. Spotify's rival appears to be a soon-to-be-launched on-demand subscription service by Apple's iTunes, a giant in the music industry with sales of 25 billion songs and accounts now for 30 per cent of global music sales.

But despite these new technologies, the good old reliable radio remains the main source of listeners to keep up to date with music, according to a recently published study in the US conducted by Triton Digital's Edison Research.

The study said that 35 per cent of the survey respondents aged 12 and above pointed to the radio as their main source of being updated with music, while 3 per cent relied on iTunes, 4 per cent on Music TV, 9 per cent on Pandora, 10 per cent on YouTube and 21 per cent from word of mouth of friends and family.

March forecasts that new delivery platforms, such as that offered by Audioboom Group PLC (LSE: BOOM.L), will continue to grow and compete with about 70 million FM radios in Australia and 20 million mobile phone devices.

Audioboom is rapidly expanding its clients in Australia, which include Southern Cross Austereo - Australia's largest broadcaster - ABC, AFL and other big Australian sporting organisations and bodies.

The London-based publicly listed company is the provider of social media platform for audio producers to record either live or from the studio, upload and share audio by syndication and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Audioboom now has about 2,000 content channels from the initial 19 channels during the platform's launch in March 2013, said Rob Proctor, CEO of Audioboom, which currently has 2.5 million registered users and 12 to13 million monthly active users across platforms.

Audioboom's global major partners, which uses its apps, embeds and custom publisher solutions, include BBC, Sky Sports, Bauer, Absolute Radio, The Guardian, Universal, Aljazeera, Polydor, The Telegraph and Oxfam.

March concluded that "The bottom line is radio will not die, but will continue to evolve and take its place next to 'new' media and audio choices. 'Local' will become an even greater differentiator for radio brands. Radio's ease of use and its ability to deliver customized local info like gossip, news, traffic, and weather will ensure it remains relevant (and very profitable) well into the future."

YouTube/Steven Cravis

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