Things aren’t looking good for the radio business, at least according to Arbitron. Although 90 percent of Americans still listen to terrestrial radio, listenership is down 14 percent over the past decade, revenue is flat, and radio stocks as a group are down 40 percent over the past three years. What to do? In recent years, many hopes have been pinned on satellite radio, but that’s still far from mainstream. Now, according to the New York Times, radio is pinning its hopes for the future on … video.
In a piece that finds room for not one but two references to the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star,” the NYT‘s Richard Siklos sees plenty happening with radio stations trying to extend their brand to video, in particular web video. Joel Hollander, CEO of CBS Radio, tells Siklos, “A lot of our stations are starting to embrace video and generate new revenue streams.” Some stations are bringing popular skits to the web, others are filming in-studio concerts, still others are handing out video cameras to their listeners so they can post their own amateur clips.
Although video is still a small part of the $20 billion radio-ad business, Siklos notes, “it could represent a much-needed new source of growth in a rapidly expanding online video market that everyone from Google to newspapers to broadcast television wants to be in.” Even satellite radio is adding video to the mix, with children’s videos about to be pushed to car-radio transceivers.
Many seem to recognize the urgency.