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Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) on Gerd Leonhard’s Keynote at Radioasia 2006

Link: Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU).

Media futurist: Radio broadcasters must go digital and interactive

Radio broadcasters have been urged to venture into High Definition (HD), digital and Internet radio or face the risk of being “tuned out” by listeners who are no longer just receivers of content, but senders too.

Media futurist Gerd Leonhard, while addressing delegates at the RadioAsia2006 conference in Singapore today, said that audience growth now lies in interactive services and broadcasters had to be quick to capitalise on this phenomenon.

He said technological advancements allowed users to create and even send their own content through the Internet, which has become more of a social medium and a cheap and effective means for them to find new music and content.

Mr Leonhard emphasised this point by saying that in just a few years, podcasting had outgrown the number of radio stations globally, as there were currently only some 30,000 radio stations in the world as compared with about 47,500 radio station podcasts.

“The people formerly known as listeners are getting involved and even co-creating content. They once were just receivers. Now, they are senders. They can now interact with you and make their own contributions,” he said.

Mr Leonhard also warned radio broadcasters if they did not provide on-demand content that can be recorded and stored by users, they risked losing 50 percent of their market share.

“It used to be that radio was the cheapest, easiest and preferred means of finding new music and content. But the Internet has taken over this role. People find new music on the Internet, and they are able to search and record stuff from the Internet,” he added.

Mr Leonhard said this in his keynote address at the second annual RadioAsia conference at the Singapore Expo, which was jointly organised by the ABU, the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) and Singapore Exhibition Services.

Sponsors for the event include Singapore’s Media Development Authority, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, UNESCO, DW-Germany, Nokia, Malaysia’s AMP Radio Networks, CRA-Australia, Nielsen Media Research and The Broadcast Partner.

Mr Leonhard said that traditional radio advertising was shrinking as more and more advertisers looked to the Internet for their promotional needs. He advised radio broadcasters to look to alternative sources of revenue, such as providing ringtones.

“The ringtone business is a US$5 billion industry. Every radio broadcaster should get into this as it helps listeners to personalise their own media experience,” he said.

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