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RAIN 6/16: CBS Interactive Group's rapid online growth spearheaded by radio division

Posted on: 06/16/2009

NIELSEN: CBS RADIO SEES VISITOR GROWTH OF 63%, TIME SPENT ON SITES INCREASES 206%

Nielsen found in its May report that CBS Radio leads the CBS Interactive Music Group in growth, increasing unique visitorship by 63% year-over-year. The amount of time visitors spent on CBS Radio’s sites increased a whopping 206%.

Also part of the recently-formed Interactive group is Last.fm, which saw its unique visitor count and minutes spent on the site increase by 29%. CBSSports.com saw a 35% increase in unique visitors, while high school sports site MaxPreps.com posted the highest unique visitor growth with a 86% increase. For more on Nielsen’s findings, check out Radio Online’s coverage here.

DIESEL’S WEBCAST A GOOD FIT FOR UNIQUE PROGRAMMING, SUBTLE ADVERTISING, SAYS TELEGRAPH

“It’s easy to forget that it is essentially a clever scheme to sell jeans,” the UK’s Telegraph says of Italian fashion brand Diesel’s Internet radio station, Diesel U Music. The webcast features “one-off shows” from artists, labels or otherwise interesting people in the realm of underground and independent music.

Guest programmers — which have included Franz Ferdinand’s drummer Paul Thompson and Big Apple indie act MGMT — produce their content for free and have few constraints thanks to the wide-open medium that is Internet radio. The result is an “amateurish” but passionate feel, which helps distract from the fact that the station is owned by a clothing company. Exactly what Diesel wants.

“Putting out a radio station allows the company to engage with younger consumers in a deeper way than TV adverts,” said Emma Sutton, Diesel U Music’s program director. “What they don’t want is bland corporate content. Great ideas sometimes scrabble around for years to find funding, but brands have the money to make such projects happen – and that can be very positive.” She said that with projects like Diesel’s webcast, Internet radio is almost certainly the future of radio. Read Telegraph’s full article here or tune in to Diesel U Music here.

SEC CHARGES WEBIO OWNER WITH FRAUD

David J. Hernandez, the head of NextStep Financial and Spectrum Entertainment — the parent company of Chicago sports webcast Webio — has been charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC alleges that Hernandez conducted “a Ponzi scheme which raised more than $11 million from investors in at least 12 states with false promises.” Hernandez diverted the money to his other businesses, like Spectrum, and used some for “his and his wife’s personal benefit,” the SEC states (here).

Hernandez is also “alleged to have lied about his educational background and concealed his criminal background,” according to All Access. The FBI investigated NextStep on Friday, the same day Hernadez fired former CBS Radio on-air personality Mike North from his SVP post at Webio (RAIN coverage here).



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