By Mark Ramsey
August 15, 2017
For years now, many in the radio industry have viewed the challenges they face from technology and consumer trends all wrong. They have seen it from the perspective of the radio industry, not the consumer.
The latest example is illustrated in this article, titled: “As TuneIn Continues Subscription Push; Where Does AM/FM Go?”
Setting up the argument:
TuneIn, the one time aggregator that built its brand on the backs off making it easy to find streams for broadcast radio before putting its growth behind premium subscription content, has raised $50 million to continue its investment in building a subscription based competitor to SiriusXM. Bloomberg reports that “TuneIn will use the money to pay for rights to live sporting events and original programming like podcasts and music shows, which will help the company sign up more customers for a two-year-old subscription service.”
The tone is, unambiguously, “how dare TuneIn use the desirability of radio content to create a platform which steals away those listeners for subscription services which benefit TuneIn, not its radio partners!”
Lost on the author is the idea that this is precisely how things should work for TuneIn. It’s the exact same model used by Netflix, which launched with content produced by others and is gradually transforming to a “Netflix Originals” model, most recently illustrated by the announcement that Disney is pulling its content off Netflix just as Netflix signed ABC hitmaker Shonda Rhimes to a long-term deal.
In both cases, TuneIn’s and Netflix’s, these brands are recognizing that garnering a larger share of consumer attention requires unique and compelling original content, not (for example) the same stations or the same songs you can hear anywhere.
From TuneIn’s perspective consumers are not going to pay for the same thing they can get for free in your local market. They are only going to pay for what’s exclusive, special, unique. And while your station is not sufficiently any of those things, neither is access to hundreds or thousands of stations like yours.
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