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Earnings: UBC Invests $3.2 Million In Radio Downloads Service; Pure Partners

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In annual earnings for the year to March 31, UK radio and technology group UBC said it had invested £1.6 ($3.2) million in its forthcoming service that will let DAB digital radio listeners buy as downloads music tracks they hear on air. At first a trial operating for the Heart 106.2 London station, the Cliq service will broadcast track information, along with the tunes, via a data channel to the Lobster digital radio phone handset offered Virgin Mobile. Results showed a widened pre-tax loss of £948,000 ($1.9 million) thanks to the poor radio advertising climate, but the company said prospects are looking up thanks to an expected upturn in that area. Revenue from digital software sales was up 31.5 percent at £1.06 ($2.12) million Earnings release.

— UBC also announced it is partnering with DAB digital radio maker Pure to release new sets that support the Cliq standard, allowing listeners to download purchased tracks to their radio. Terms were not disclosed but the companies will share revenue from downloads. The service was first announced in November; today’s announcement is the initial branding and adds detail. UBC is also developing a Java client for Cliq to gain wider adoption on mobile phones from people who already use their handset’s FM functionality to listen to radio.

UBC said it had “agreements with major record companies and radio groups” to roll out the service in the UK, though a launch date was not given, but it said it saw overseas licensing opportunities and that it would be used by Ireland’s RTE radio stations in a trial later in the year. Pure release; UBC Release.