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RAIN 05/05: Healthy growth for Internet radio revenues, Kagan report shows

Posted on: 05/05/2010


A new report from SNL Kagan ranks Internet radio’s top-revenue generating groups, and it shows both broadcasters and pureplay Internet radio are making some money.

SNL put CBS Interactive as the top of its revenue list, with total 2009 revenues of $550 million. News Corp./MySpace Music ranked next, with an estimated $490 million in 2009 revenues, followed by Clear Channel digital properties which earned $175 million. Internet-only service Pandora took in about $50 million last year.

Many Internet radio observers (including Jennifer Lane, in today’s Audio4Cast, here) point out an important caveat when assessing this report: There’s lots here that isn’t “Internet radio” — both in terms of revenue and traffic (see next paragraph). News Corp.‘s MySpace Music, iMeem and iLike.com aren’t “webcasters” in the commonly-accepted definition of the term, and CBS Interactive generates significant digital revenue from non-Internet radio sources (CBS.com and CNet, for instance), which is included in the ranking. And so on.

Kagan’ report also ranked the properties by average unique monthly visitors, and again CBS Interactive (including AOL Radio, Yahoo! Radio, and Last.fm in addition to CBS Radio’s simulcast streams) came out on top, with an average 226 million monthly uniques last year. Clear Channel followed with 100 million, and News Corp. with 75 million. Pandora reportedly had 50 million registered users in 2009, about half of whom were considered “active.”

Kagan based their rankings on the recent Edison/Arbitron Infinite Dial study (RAIN coverage here) and 2009 RAB revenue reports. Edison/Arbitron reported online listening to Internet-only services outpaced AM/FM stations simulcast listening (55% to 40%) in 2009. The RAB reported digital revenues were up 13% to $480 million at broadcast outlets in 2009 (as total revenues fell 18%). And while Pandora says it doubled its revenues and became profitable for the first time last year, pureplay Internet radio revenues overall are still estimated to total less than half broadcasters’ online take.

There’s more on the SNL Kagan report online from Mediapost here and Radio Mag Online here.

SNL Kagan will hold the 27th Annual SNL Kagan TV and Radio Finance Summit in June. Details here.

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