Home The Year in Internet Radio: CBS The Big Mover

The Year in Internet Radio: CBS The Big Mover

A report on Reuters claims that 2008 was a breakthrough year for radio on the Web, with a proliferation of new web and mobile apps for radio. The report states that Clear Channel has “long led the way” with innovative Web programing such as its “Stripped” concert series and “New” artist spotlight program, but also big companies such as CBS and AOL have contributed to the growth in online radio.

We think it’s CBS Radio and not Clear Channel which has made the biggest strides. CBS’ partnerships with AOL and Yahoo!, along with its ownership of trendy online radio app last.fm, have effectively made CBS Radio the most powerful force in Internet radio in 2008.

CBS Radio announced a content and advertising partnership with AOL Music in March and since then 150 CBS Radio stations and 200 AOL Music Internet stations have become powered by a CBS Radio player. CBS also launched Play.it, which enables listeners to create their own stations. Earlier this month CBS Radio announced an agreement to power Yahoo Music’s Launchcast Radio, which will add a further 150 stations to CBS’ growing online radio portfolio. Also, a CBS Radio player will be integrated into the Yahoo Music site. CBS claimed that this made them the No.1 internet radio company in the world, which Internet radio expert Jennifer Lane agreed with.

Kevin Conroy, executive vice president of AOL, recently wrote in a guest blog post at Radio Business Report about the evolution of AOL Radio. Conroy wrote that the partnership with CBS Radio allowed AOL to tap into the “core competency in traditional radio” that CBS had. At the same time CBS got access to “AOL’s substantial online listener base, and allowed it to connect with the AOL Network, which reaches more than 110 million unique visitors a month”, wrote Conroy. He also noted that AOL got “an improved player, built by CBS Radio” that works on both PCs and Macs.

At the end of August we published data from comScore about the Internet Radio industry. It showed that the big Internet companies still dominate, specifically AOL Radio and Yahoo Music. At that point AOL Radio had been showing excellent annual growth, with a 56% increase over the past year. However Yahoo Music had decreased 19% annually since July 07. According to Reuters, in October comScore data had AOL at 3.99 million unique visitors, while CBS Web properties had 3.95 million unique visitors and Yahoo! Launchcast had 2.87 million. When you look at who powers both AOL and Yahoo now, it’s clear that CBS has significantly increased its market presence since mid-08.

At ReadWriteWeb we’ve tended to focus on the innovative Web native apps that have risen independently of the big radio stations. According to comScore Pandora rose 89% from July 07 – July 08, while last.fm had 62% annual growth. But both the traditional radio broadcasting and Internet bigcos have been steadily increasing their influence – none moreso than CBS, which in addition to the AOL/Yahoo! partnerships this year also acquired last.fm in May 2007.

And then there’s mobile. As Reuters pointed out, the iPhone has had a big influence on radio for mobile devices this year (see our post Top 5 Streaming Music Apps for the iPhone for examples). Other mobile devices, such as Blackberry and the Internet phones from Nokia, are also ramping up.

What other trends have you noticed in 2008 from Internet radio? What do you expect to see happen in 2009?

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