Turn on the Stream Once More

The dust has finally settled, and many stations have resumed streaming. Here are six reasons why you should consider streaming now
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The COO of Live365 Lists Six Reasons to Consider Streaming Now

The online streaming world has gone through much turmoil in the past few years. From CARP rates to AFTRA to streaming vendors with questionable business models, there was much confusion.

Well, the dust has finally settled, and many stations have resumed streaming. Here are six reasons why you should consider streaming now:

It's easy. All you need is a PC or Mac and an Internet connection. The computer will have software sitting on it to encode the live audio feed coming from your sound board and then send it out to a server. We're generally able to get our clients up and running within 24 hours.

It doesn't cost as much as you think. RIAA royalty rates amount to less than $0.01 per hour streamed. If you show just one banner ad at a $2 CPM and play one local spot at an $8 CPM during the hour, you break even.
What About Talent?Fees for off-camera performers on the AFTRA interactive agreement. More detail is at www.aftra.com

Off-Camera Performers

Day Performer (Up to 3 voices/4-hour day): $556.20

Day Performer (1 voice/1 hour): $278.10

Additional Voices (each): $185.40
Also, bandwidth prices and acceptable bitrates have come way down. A 32 kbps Windows Media or MP3PRO signal will sound like a 64 kbps MP3 signal.

Streaming prices also have dropped in the past few years, due to the telecom shakeout. Also, unlike the dot-com days, the vendors that are still around have built stable business models that should ensure they'll stay in business.

We diversified our revenue model away from being 100-percent advertising-supported to subscriptions, so that we could weather the ad recession. As we grew bigger, we were also able to negotiate aggressive prices from our vendors and pass along the cost savings to customers.

Beware the vendor promising free bandwidth in exchange for your inventory.

Your listeners expect it. More and more listeners are heading online at work to listen to radio. For those in urban areas, reception in office buildings can be spotty.

Revenue considerations aside, streaming should be considered a necessary part of your marketing budget to keep your P1s happy and loyal.

It increases your Web site traffic, leading to more NTR opportunities. The online ad market has surpassed 2000 levels and continues to grow. Site inventory is becoming scarce and prices have firmed up; our online ad revenues have more than doubled since last year. Enabling listeners to stream means more Web site traffic, more page views and more revenue.

AFTRA issues are not a big deal. There was a lot of brouhaha from the AFTRA issue a while back. Most ads created in the last year have taken into account the need to make them "legal" for use on the Internet, and talent agents and creative departments have made this process relatively seamless, as it is for all traditional forms of advertising.

In the event that it has not been negotiated for a specific client, the actual cost is such that it should not be considered a barrier to running online radio ads. The sidebar box below is an example of fees for off-camera performers on the AFTRA interactive agreement. Regardless, software exists to interface with your automation system and strip out your over-the-air spots and insert online spots.

Makes for a great test bed. Experiment with new formats or tracks you're thinking of adding by creating side channels for your site. Then get your listeners to listen and rate the ones they like.

Better yet, have a local business sponsor a contest to have your listeners program their own side channels for your site, with the winner getting to be a guest DJ for the flagship broadcast.

Live365 is a broadcasting network of thousands of radio stations reaching approximately 3 millions of listeners monthly. Raghav Gupta joined the company in 1999.

RW welcomes other points of view.

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