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RAIN 04/29: Researcher advises radio to expand brands via Web, mobile to grow TSL

Posted on: 04/29/2010

BRIDGE RATINGS: ONLINE, MOBILE LISTENING NEEDN’T “CANNIBALIZEMAIN CHANNEL

Bridge Ratings today says successful broadcasters’ plans for growing listening will need to account for categories and devices beyond traditional towers and radios — and that the radio has shown it understands this fact.

Trends from the firm’s recent study on listeners’ device usage shows they’ll spend an increasing amount of time listening to their favorite stations online and via mobile devices while time spent listening via AM and FM will decline. But this trend shouldn’t be distressing, Bridge contends.

“While time devoted to pure-terrestrial radio listening is likely to continue to fall or moderate over the next few years, expansion onto new technology should recapture — and even add to — some of the lost time-spent,” Bridge suggests in a press release.

Earlier this month, Bridge Ratings released its “Device Usage” Study (see RAIN here). Bridge Ratings CEO Dave Van Dyke [pictured] summarized the findings in his presentation at the RAIN Summit West event (video here).

To most effectively generate TSL growth via alternative delivery channels, Bridge recommends both making the primary content (what’s on the AM/FM signal) available, and augmenting that with “alternative brand channels that offer niche, customizable content as extensions of their primary brands.”

Bridge explains, “Research has shown that brand variations or extensions on the streaming side will not cannibalize the main channel, but in fact it will attract additional listening from not only primary brand-centric fans but listeners who may have otherwise listened to the primary brand.” See their press release here.

HP BUYS PALM, LIKELY SAVES PIONEERING MOBILE DEVICE PLATFORM

Hewlett-Packard is now a player in the smartphone space, with its surprise $1.2 billion acquisition of troubled Palm.

Analysts praised mobile pioneer Palm’s touch-screen Pre (Palm’s WebOS runs on Pre and Pixi phones) when it launched last year. That didn’t translate to sales however, and the space continued to be dominated by Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s Blackberry devices.

“Palm’s slick interface has earned kudos for blending personal contacts and such into a single profile, no matter where the information originates (Facebook, Google, etc.),” USA Today writes.

Webcasters like Pandora, Slacker, and AccuRadio (and others) have dedicated apps for WebOS listening. Many felt Palm’s declining fortunes spelled the end for the WebOS platform, but analysts largely see the HP acquisition as a positive. Read more from USA Today here.

CRUTCHFIELD BLOGS ABOUT INTERNET RADIO, INCLUDING REVIEWS OF WEBCASTS

Consumer electronics retailer Crutchfield offers its web site visitors an impressive amount of Internet radio coverage in its blog section.

Crutchfield bloggers have recently reviewed streams from New Orleans community powerhouse WWOZ; instrumental rock, jazz, and funk webcaster Attention Span Radio; classical music university broadcaster KUSC; and French broadcaster Azur FM. There’s also columns on the industry (“Is Internet radio a threat to broadcast radio?”) and product reviews (“Spotlight on the Logitech Squeezebox Radio”).

We’re always encouraged to come across things like this, as we see it as evidence of the mainstream adoption of Internet radio. Certainly, Crutchfield, which stocks an increasing amount of Internet radios and USB-compatible receivers, mobile devices, and home networking equipment, has an interest in promoting this segment. But it’s a positive nonetheless, as without retailers on board (see especially HD Radio’s early days), getting mainstream consumers excited is a bigger job. Read up here.



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