Now that Blaupunkt and miRoamer have announced a partnership to develop in-car radios with internet audio access, Jennifer Lane agrees with me that this could hasten the death of satellite radio — or at least the need for Sirius XM to pay for those expensive satellites orbiting the earth and subscribers to pay for those special receivers. Look for the company to announce a move towards becoming an content provider that distributes its product online rather than from space before the end of 2009.
As wimax becomes more available, making it easy for consumers to access online audio will be imperative for terrestrial radio stations, too. That means the end of branded and embedded audio players on station websites or forcing listeners to register to hear the audio stream — and more streams in the accessible-to-everyone mp3 format.
You won’t want to make your listeners click through several screens on the station website, either. Instead, there should be easy-to-announce URLs like audio.kiss109.com or listen.newstalk93.com. The key will be getting to the audio in one click, like a preset on old-school radios, or the bookmarks on your web browser.
We should also quickly see more companies recognizing the success of the radio apps for the iPhone (AOL/CBS Radio, Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio, and Pandora) and begin making deals with designers to make sure that their stations are readily accessible, too. Broadcasters who haven’t grasped the appeal of pushing their product to iPhone users are already falling behind. And now that Apple has teamed with Wal-Mart, there will be even more iPhones in the marketplace, expanding the number of people who can access that audio — if you don’t make them jump through hoops to hear you.
Choices for consumers will only increase, forcing content providers to make ease of use a priority in the distribution of their product. Those who fail to do so will be left behind and unlikely to survive.