Tuesday, 7 August 2012

TuneIn. Internet Radio with 22 million in funding, 40 million monthly listeners, growing 267% pa, coming soon. Radio is changing.

TuneIn, the online radio service has just raised 16 million usd from VC's on foot of the 6m it has already raised.

It's using this capital to scale the business worldwide and in other words, bringing their station to local markets - such as Ireland + UK - and promoting it directly to advertisers. In the same way that Irish advertisers and UK ones can advertise in US online paper The Huff Post - media has become cross boundary, quickly.

TuneIn has 40m active users (listeners) a month and growing at a rate of 267% a year, by offering free access to 70,000 stations and unlimited programming. Stunning.

Irish stations 'Today FM', 'RTE', 'Newstalk', '104', 'Q102', 'Clare FM' are all there. And I noted 'play fm dublin', 'dublin coast guard', 'radio kerry', 'radio ri-ra', 'the freak', 'triplag', 'athr', 'beat', 'dublin city fm' and 'dublin physics live' are already there too (!) with some I hadn't heard of (triplag, athr, freak etc so good for them starting their own online radio presumably without the need for a licence or BAI interference. Breakthrough! And I hope existing stations start to demand their BAI money back because they can no longer police this). 

But so is everything you could possibly want to listen to. Global Sports being one clear winner.

It's almost back to the concept of 'portals'. And a recent study reported on the reliable Mashable reported that 42% of US households with internet access, listened to streamed radio. Of course, they also continue to listen to AM/FM but in the younger segments of 18-35's, it's in decline. They prefer to hear their radio online and with the advent of good, wireless streaming audio boxes it makes sense.

Internet streaming devices (as well as tablets and iphones) are replacing standard audio equipment and so, internet listening will increase and eventually, take over. It has to. As indeed TV will go exactly the same way.

I would imagine that a radio 'portal' idea like tunein is going to find some way to distribute its listeners (streams they're called) across various channels and then share that revenue. So you might buy a million streams in Dublin from the tunein sales office who in turn, will get some of these provided by RTE, Today FM, Play and so on because no single station can deliver solely that number of ads.

If that's the case, you now have stations sharing in advertiser revenue sold by tunein, rather than generating their own. RTE (Ireland's state broadcaster) no longer selling its own inventory? Interesting idea.

The development of internet radio is here and now starting to attract good funding. Online listening will grow (it has to) and will overtake AM/FM listenership. That's not even arguable.

So stations now need to promote their online offering (which generally here are so poor it's hard to believe) and encourage online listenership. They also need to forge alliances with large global players such as tunein.

Local radio stations need to get ready and get onboard.
The internet is coming.
Take heed from those who've ignored it in the past.
Have a look http://tunein.com/