AOL Revamps Online Radio, Adds CBS Stations
June 10, 2008 at 7:35 AM (PT)
AOL is revamping its online radio service TODAY (6/10), adding streams from all 150 CBS-owned radio stations and upgrading its player to add more functions and expand the service's reach. Much is at stake for AOL, which is looking for new ways to boost revenues from online music streaming a year after a panel of copyright judges sharply increased the royalties that online radio providers pay to record labels and artists.
AOL/Online Radio GM LISA NAMEROW said the company's music streaming business was still unprofitable, even though recent figures from ARBITRON show AOL has the largest average weekly online audience. "We really needed to figure out a new business strategy in order for us to stay in business," she said. "We needed to monetize radio better."
CBS will also use its vast advertising sales force to sell all ads across the AOL radio service, something that NAMEROW is hopeful will bring in more local advertising dollars.
The deal with AOL also jump-starts CBS RADIO's efforts to build up online audiences. DAVID GOODMAN, the head of digital media and integrated marketing at CBS RADIO, said the deal could double the total amount of people listening to streams from CBS stations during peak periods. TODAY, that figure can be as high as 125,000, he said.
For the first time, AOL RADIO users will be able to access an extensive collection of popular CBS RADIO programming, including Sports WFAN-A and News WINS-A in NEW YORK, Talk KLSX and Alternative KROQ in LOS ANGELES, AAA WXRT/CHICAGO and Urban WVEE/ATLANTA. In addition, AOL RADIO’s 200-plus stations span 25 musical genres, including AWESOME 80’S, FRESH 100, and CLASSIC ROCK.
In addition, enhancements to AOL RADIO's online player lets users:
* Skip and pause tracks
* Select an unlimited number of channel pre-sets
* Access a playlist of the previous 30 songs listened to
* Easily share a station with friends via AIM integration within the player
* Listen to AOL Radio through the built-in mini AOL Radio player in the Buddy List for those using AIM versions 6.0 and above.
The new AOL RADIO experience will run on any WINDOWS or MAC based browser that supports ADOBE FLASH V.9.