According to the BITKOM Confederation for information management, telecommunications and new media in Europe there are 20.4 million people listening to the radio over the internet (15.1 million last year). Thus, this market will grow by more than one third in the current year alone. These figures are based on the findings of a recent study by Goldmedia, a consulting firm to media businesses. The European audience of internet radio is forecast to grow to 31.9 million people by 2010 thereby providing new opportunities also to SMEs.
“The market is driven by two main developments”, explained Mr. Florian Koch, division manager for digital media and e-services with BITKOM in an interview with the pressetext news agency. On the one hand the number of online radio programmes has markedly increased. There is an ever increasing number of channels broadcasting only online, wheras on the other hand well-established radio stations extend their online activities too. “Another important factor is an improved infrastructure: the number of broadband internet connections is constantly growing and costs are falling”, says Mr. Koch. Last year the number of European broadband connections amounted to 58.4 million with 10.6 million of them in Germany, and BITKOM expect this number to rise to almost 14 million by the end of 2006 which would represent an increase by 32 percent as compared to 2005.
The second major development which leads to internet radio conquering the mass market is the fact that the consumer electronics market keeps pace with the increasing success of internet radio. “More and more products launched onto the market can play internet radio without computers being necessary for that.”, said Mr. Koch to pressetext. But he also warns that the planned introduction of PC broadcasting fees could choke off the current positive development (we already reported on that: “Umfrageergebnisse zu GEZ-Gebühren für Firmen-PCs“, “GEZ besteht auf Rundfunkgebühren für Firmen-PCs“).
MittelstandsBlog think: Another aspect not explicitely mentioned in the interview are market entry costs which are very low for internet radio providers as compared with operating costs incurred by conventional radio stations. The US market with its numerous small and very small pure internet radio stations clearly demonstrates the opportunities provided by this market to SMEs. Furthermore, there a many complementary services which can be offered in addition to internet radio broadcasting and further such innovative services may be possible in the future as is shown by the example of Pandora.