HERE’S TALKING TO YOU
Over at The Street.com, Jonathan Blum goes to NAB to discover “the future of media.” He lists three developments. The first, that Apple with its Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Studio is turning amateur filmmakers into pro-quality producers, is not so new and interesting. The second, that local broadcast television will be feeding itself to your cell phone in about a year’s time, is a little bit more newsworthy. But the third, dealing with HD radio, told me something I didn’t know. He says to forget all the news about XM and Sirius and to concentrate on the untapped potential of HD radio networks.
Why is HD radio so cool? First off, ignore the radio industry’s complete misbranding of the technology. Yes, HD radio can be high definition. It can provide excellent sound quality. But what is far more important is that HD radio is digital radio.
Just like cell-phone networks that made the transition from analog to digital in decades past, new digital broadcast networks will provide a full range of new services. Conditional access will allow for highly targeted radio feeds to groups as little as a few hundred. Forget KROK. You’ll get YourROK.
Your radio will learn what you like to listen to and feed you that content. There will be content tied to positional information such as GPS systems and in-car navigation. There will be graphics, links to Web content and probably most important of all, coupons. Discounts will be fed on the fly to listeners as they approach, say, a McDonalds.
Factor in that radio penetration is 100%. There are easily 1 billion radios in U.S., and billions more worldwide. Everybody has a radio. Imagine what happens when they all go digital — which is only a matter of time — think of the reach of even the most basic discount coupon promotion.
Drive by this McDonalds. Get a $1 off a Big Mac if you are within a 10-block radius. Can anybody say that is not marketing gold?