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article imageInternet car radio: World first, and a possible revenue cash cow

By Paul Wallis     Jan 7, 2009 in Technology
You can now get 30,000 internet radio stations in your car. This is a real threat to traditional broadcast sources, but might also be the saving force for an industry. Internet radio has been a quiet achiever, but a very positive survival mode for radio.
As The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
The technology was developed by Melbourne-based online radio aggregator miRoamer, which has inked a deal with one of the largest producers of car radios in the world, German-based Blaupunkt.
Today, it is difficult to access live internet radio broadcasts without sitting in front of a computer. Blaupunkt will produce the radios, which should soon be integrated into the latest models by car manufacturers such as Ford, Holden, Mercedes, BMW and Audi. The product will also be sold separately for those who want to install it in their cars.
This is a potentially huge revenue market. Radio might be the grandfather of modern media, but it’s becoming a respectable media citizen again. Radio is fully compatible with the norms of iPod culture and lifestyle. Music and media are very much part of the multi-everything world.
People are carrying around the soundtracks of their lives, their information sources, and their personal head trips for their daily lives. The car radio is one of the general anesthetics of commuting and driver stress.
If that turns fully digital, with internet type access, expect the revenue from radio to go back up in a hurry. This is an extremely salable product.
For the media market, the follow on from the extra revenue is that the very soggy porridge portfolios of some broadcasters are going to be worth something again. There’s a huge irony in that.
Like digital TV, a lot of radio bandwidth was on sale in past years. It was cautiously gobbled up, but the industry was pretty static. As an asset, radio was the last thing on anyone’s mind for years.
Now, it’s looking like flavor of the month for the markets. Don’t be surprised to see “revelations” about new entrepreneurial activities in the radio networks. I'd say wait to see how the assets are valued.
More about Internet car radio, Blaupunkt, Media asset sales
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