Smartphones have done so much for radio listeners. Your local station is often available wherever a wi-fi signal can be accessed, for one thing. Add in a lot of the perks that are becoming standard on radio apps such as tagging and time shifting, and there is no doubt that these mobile devices are a boon to us.
Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio app is a great example, and one that has recently gotten a facelift. It now sports over 750 channels, on-demand traffic reports and a brand new array of subscription content.
The idea of subscription-based content is not new; in fact, it is the backbone of satellite radio’s approach. Finding a successful way to monetize in that fashion is another matter. Still, their initial effort is in the realm of talk radio — a format whose following is loyal to say the least. I could easily see talk aficionados falling in love with both the accessible archives and the on-demand gratification aspects.
Here is a statement pulled from the press release on BusinessWire:
“We’re always looking for innovative ways to keep our audiences connected to their favorite talent and programming,” said Evan Harrison, EVP Clear Channel Radio and President of the Company’s digital unit. “The addition of commercial-free programs and hundreds of new stations delivers an unprecedented level of choice.”
“Fans have embraced our subscription model for anytime access to our top personalities,” said Brian Lakamp, Premiere Radio’s EVP of Digital Media. “We’re excited to add value by extending anywhere access. Our subscribers can now stay connected on-the-go at no additional charge on iheartradio.”
It looks like they’re off to a running start. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one because I’m curious as to whether we will see continued growth or a slow down and plateauing effect once the app has been out for a while. As always, attempts to find viable ways to monetize without alienating the audience is worth observing. You never know where the next breakthrough will be coming from.