Yesterday I wrote about the threat that the radio industry is facing for continued relevance. I think the radio industry, just like the music industry, needs to look at how their content is consumed and, more importantly, how the audience want's to consume it. Just like Stowe Boyd, I enjoy "Video Snacking." I will go to YouTube to to look at a video and find myself browsing through related content. This is active participation in consuming media. I have written in the past on [On 2.Open.aol.com - I can post here if people ask to see that post] the concept of creating streams that form personalized channels. This can be done for audio or video.
Let's look at what would be required...
The media content creators would need to encode and tag their content. It would need to be time-sliced in to discrete segments by topic. Given that we are already familiar with transcripts and playlists accomplishing this feat does not seem too difficult a problem to overcome.
The tags need to be in an open format that can allow search and filtering to be performed. This would then need to be compiled in to streams. RSS looks like a candidate to handle the publishing. This is already well proven with audio and video podcasting.
Now all we need is for to use a feed reader, like Google Reader, to slice and dice these feeds in to personal channels.
...Then all we need is for Google to integrate the audio feed in to their Android open handset platform and link the handset via bluetooth to in car entertainment systems. [Watch out for the follow -up post. Or go read about flytunes.fm]
If you think about this scenario, the latest hubub about Google Reader's "Share with Friends" feature is interesting. It would be possible to share your audio and/or video streams with friends or keep them private. The fascinating thing is that publishers that embrace this radical concept could find themselves breaking out from the shackles that come from limited radio distribution and allowing consumers to re-mix their feeds in to personal channels could see content being distributed via tens of thousands of channels rather than hundreds of traditional radio stations.
In this radical new world there is opportunity for aggregator services that make the process easy for consumers. It is those aggregators that have the potential to monetize the streams. I bet someone at Google is thinking about that.
What are your thoughts? What are the challenges to moneitzing the audio stream? Share your ideas. Leave a comment below.